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Aid, Rescue and Preservation of Birds

 multiple irreparable fracture of a sparrowhawk's wing
-First of all the most important information.-
First of all we have to offer to kestrels and different birds of prey some pieces of flesh from the heart or the liver of a cow bought from a butcher's shop if the birds would like and would be able to eat independently.
The offered pieces of flesh should have the volume of a finger nail and should brought to a hand warm temperature before by use of warm water or a microwave. The small pieces of flesh has to be offered with a blunt pinzette or a blunt toothpick.

Since about 25 years works the rescue service for helpless and injured birds – mainly birds of prey –. Birds which we receive either will be carried to a specialist veterinary for treatment as soon as possible or put direct into the care and frighten station in Düsseldorf. The local police department and the fire brigade pass on questions to our crew; our phone numbers are well known there.

About 25 years ago I started the very first getting in the rescue service and just I suffered a terrible and never forgotten defeat and disaster. Especially the dove specialist hospital in Essen-Kupferdreh has been not able to save a poor sparrowhawk. A multiple irreparable fracture of a wing has not been solved as some bone splinters had to be removed what would have caused a shortening of the wing; regarding this fact the aerodynamics would have been lost and the poor bird never would be able to hunt in the wild. Following the doctor’s advice I had put to sleep the poor sparrowhawk. People may realize the numerous bone fractures of the wing by the shown roentgenogram.
Since that time the game-tenant shows the bird as stuffed specimen on the sideboard in his living room. A bitter experience for the rescue service!

However shortly we managed to save 3 kestrel chicks from starvation:

Saturday June 10th, 2000: Since about 4 weeks as every year the kestrels bred in our case. The male brought quietly calling for the female the mice several times of this day. Than the female left the case, took the mouse and consumed her calmly on a roof somewhere. In the meantime the male flew into the case and warmed the eggs until the female returned. Than male real trusting spent some minutes on our television aerial on the roof about 20 m far of the case. After this he started again his hunt for mice. At the end of one week later 3 young kestrels seemed to hatched out of the eggs. But since Monday June 5th, 2000 the male has been seen never close to the case.

On Wednesday June 7th, 2000 I watched a major sparrowhawk who circled being not bothered from anybody before he moved away. I was very surprised of the kestrel’s male as – especially when chicks are in the case! – he never will tolerates a disturbance of the airspace about 500 m around the case and the male will attack impetuous and fearlessly every intruder even crows and buzzards.

Bergung Merscheider Straße

On Thursday June 8th, 2000 the female appeared at the case again and feed the chicks with a very big mouse.

During the whole day I have not seen the female once more again. In the night from Thursday June 8th, 2000 to Friday 9th, 2000 the chicks constantly and terribly begged for feed from two o’clock to five o’clock. This has been absolutely unusual as the kestrel’s “mama” has been extremely considerate to her chicks despite of her own’s wild life. The female would warm absolute sure her very little “children” during the whole night. Thicks completely would keep slight in the night. This facts gave us cause for alarm.

When the female did not appear once more again on Friday morning until 11.00 hours we decided to immediately rescue the chicks after talking with the chief of the care and frighten station in Düsseldorf before as the chicks surely would die of starvation. Having a lot of good luck and with a lot of persuasion’s art I managed the mission of a lift truck within only one hour (note: that has been a Friday afternoon where usually nobody works yet!). Then the 3 about only one week old chicks we took out of the case and immediately went by car to the care and frighten station in Düsseldorf where mister Söhnigen feed them with fresh chick’s flesh without any delay. Although the baby birds of prey had to be warmed below a thermal lamp during the night mister Söhnigen has been sure to bring up the baby birds and to set them free later. We are absolutely sure that the small birds would habe been miserable died in their case on the house wall.

Dunenküken im Nest
Foto: Christa Kastner

Neither the kestrel’s female nor the male has been seen ever again despite of an uninterrupted observation of the case. Since Thursday June 8th, 2000 the case has been abandoned when the female has been seen at the last time. It would have been absolutely unusual if both of the kestrels would have died in a traffic accident during the breeding season.

Perhaps both of the adult birds fell victim to an especially strong sparrowhawk or a hawk which were specialists for catching the kestrels. Or should hunt a peregrine falcon in this area? Although fact is that several times I watched a hunting sparrowhawk close to our house at the Merscheider Straße during the last months. In all probability a traffic accident happened at the Viehbachtal-Autobahn as a crash against the windshield of a car. On the other hand it will be absolutely improbable that both of the adult birds will die by accident within one week only.

Unfortunately the tragic disappearance of both of the adult birds will be an unsolved mystery. Therefore we are not able to realize and to solve dangerous circumstances for the birds. This is a sad situation really.

Regarding these incidents once more again I point out our rescue service for helpless birds under our phone numbers 0049/212/334409 (Rolf Hölterhoff) and 0049/212/80371 (Rolf Hoppe).

However leave in peace the young songbirds as blackbirds and so on! Rather there will blow up a volcano as adult birds will abandon their young chicks!

August 17th, 2000: in the meantime the 3 young kestrels has been grown up, completely feathered and able to wing off. Just now they has been trained for catching mice by 2 invalid kestrels in an aviary. Within the next 3 weeks they will set free.

On Wednesday August 30th, 2000 the 3 young kestrels together with 2 adult ones has been set free on a very sunny day. Here the detailed and dramatic report about the kestrel’s release.

Further lines are under translation.

Two of the three full-grown kestrels are watching longingly into the wild. Here they are sitting in the raising and care station in Düsseldorf. · Pictures: Ulli Preuss

On Wednesday, 2000/08/30 we set free the three young kestrels together with two old ones at a bright sunny day. Here the detailed and dramatic report about the release.

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