week old or so cockatiel chicks.left to right: gray male, opaline female, gray female

week old or so cockatiel chicks.
left to right: gray male, opaline female, gray female

This Ain’t No Spring Chicken!

It’s a spring Silvery-cheeked Hornbill chick! Although this large featherless baby looks a lot like Daffy Duck after some comic accident, it is in fact a healthy baby hornbill born May 29th at the Central Florida Zoo. 

Silvery-cheeked hornbills are native to East Africa but threatened by habitat destruction. This chick is being raised by keepers as its older sibling was picking on it.

Red-legged Seriema

Ducks riding Piggy Back by Chaber2


Ducks riding Piggy Back by Chaber2

Four baby Cooper’s hawks successfully re-nested



83 animals admitted

Four Cooper’s hawk nestlings and a royal tern were among the 83 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a wood stork, a bald eagle, a white-tailed deer, and two Florida softshell turtles.

Hawk nestlings successfully re-nested

The Cooper’s hawk nestlings were found by a family walking through their neighborhood. The four nestlings were all found on the ground under their nest tree. Even as the babies lay among the tree roots, one of the parent hawks was seen tending to the 


Please help us continue this amazing work

The lot adjacent to the hawks’ nest tree was under construction and large construction equipment was being used to clear the lot. Luckily, the hawk babies weren’t injured in the fall or hurt by the construction equipment.

Two hospital staff members went out to the site to re-nest the babies the following day. The scene was disheartening. The construction equipment was extremely loud next to the tree and there was a continuous stream of dump trucks traversing the road directly in front of the tree. When re-nesting birds, we use a recording to call the birds in so they will see their babies and resume caring for them. There was no point in playing a recording because the noise level from all the tractors and dump trucks drowned out all other sounds.

We decided the nest tree wasn’t safe due to the close proximity of the construction equipment. Instead we picked a large tree across the street. It is always difficult to move any baby bird from the original nest site to a new location but we had no choice. We worried because we hadn’t seen or heard the parent hawks but the noise level was making the likelihood of hearing them impossible.

The babies were placed in the new nest and we planned to return to monitor the nest once the area cleared of the day’s construction work after 3pm.

As we placed the baby hawks in the basket the noise died down for a few minutes and we briefly thought we heard an adult Cooper’s hawk. We quickly took one baby out of the transport box and stood in the road so the hawk would see its baby as it flew overhead. We couldn’t tell if the hawk saw the baby because it flew away.

We placed all four babies in the basket and headed back to the hospital. Eager to see if anything was happening, a staff member drove to the nest tree on her lunch break. It was an amazingly happy sight to see an adult hawk sitting on the edge of the basket keeping guard of her brood. That those birds didn’t abandon their nest with all that nearby disturbance is astonishing and a testament to their parental instinct.

Royal tern injured by fishing hook

The royal tern was admitted by a beach patrol specialist who rescued it at the Naples Pier after it had been injured by a fishing hook. The tern had a large gash in the skin on the back of its neck along the shoulder blades which required immediate surgery. It was noted that not only was the neck torn, the esophagus (area connecting the throat to the stomach) was also torn - a fish tail was protruding from the wound in the bird’s neck.

A damaged esophagus is difficult to repair but once the fish was removed from the bird the vet skillfully sutured the esophagus and the torn layer of skin along the bird’s shoulders and neck.

Currently, the tern is recovering well.

Please use caution when fishing. Avoid casting your line if wildlife is nearby. If you do hook a bird, don’t rip out the hook. Secure the bird in a towel by covering its head and body. Gently push the hook through the skin to expose the barb. Cut the barb and back the hook out. If the hook is deeply embedded, bring the bird to the wildlife hospital so it can receive professional medical assistance.

Recent releases - 23 go home

•    1 raccoon
•    1 northern cardinal
•    2 gopher tortoises
•    3 mourning doves
•    3 royal terns
•    4 blue jays
•    3 downy woodpeckers
•    1 red-shouldered hawk
•    1 northern mockingbird
•    1 Cooper’s hawk

Get involved

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital is part of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center - 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, FL 34102, just south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Rd. To make a donation, become a volunteer, join as a member or learn more about all of the work the Conservancy of Southwest Florida does to protect our water, and, wildlife and future visit www.conservancy.org.

Check the previous wildlife blogs at: www.conservancy.org/wildlife-blog

Eurasian Stone-curlew chick (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Photo of Bush Stone-Curlew (Thick-knee) with one day old young.
Hooded Crow

(via 500px / Pileated Woodpeckers Chicks by Scott Flaherty)