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Angry red-winged blackbird heals at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society

PROWLS: Rescue of the week

BEAUTIFUL BULLY: Hit by a car near Cranberry Lake, this red-winged blackbird was a difficult patient. Resisting with beak and claw the efforts of Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior to wrap its injured wing, the bird was also having trouble breathing.

The wing wrap stayed on for seven to 10 days. Once on anti-inflammatory pain medication, its breathing difficulty, possibly caused by blood in the airway, cleared up on its own. The tincture of time prescribed by Dr. Barnes at Westview Veterinary Hospital proved itself effective again.

Blackbirds really are foul-tempered beasts. Even through healing by being provided seeds and mealworms, it remained one angry blackbird, trying to take the kennel apart and upsetting the other seven recovering birds in the ICU.

The red-winged blackbird was moved into a larger cage downstairs where it could not hurt itself, nor disturb other birds. Once the wing wrap was removed, it waited five days to go into an outside cage to start flight conditioning.

With its glossy black feathers, brilliant red shoulder patches with orange-yellow edging and easily identifiable sharp and trilling spring-summer song, this particular blackbird remains welcome at PROWLS. In the wild, it will even bully starlings who themselves are champion bullies.

Cranberry Lake is a favourite nesting place. Females build their nests close to the ground, while the male red-winged blackbirds spend much of the breeding season sitting on a high perch over their territories, singing whole-heartedly and chasing other males away, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people.

Lindsay Park is the place to find them around sunset.