Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) students Austin Ebbott and Joey Buzzell gained valuable experience caring for a protected species when they helped care for barn swallow chicks at the AVC Wildlife Service this month
Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) students Austin Ebbott and Joey Buzzell gained valuable experience caring for a protected species when they helped care for barn swallow chicks at the AVC Wildlife Service this month.
When surveying for barn swallows in PEI fishing harbours earlier this month, staff from the Island Nature Trust (INT) discovered that a pair of barn swallows had nested on a lobster boat moored in Tignish Harbour. The pair hatched four chicks, but it was determined that the chicks would not be fledged by the time the boat set sail for the fall lobster season. Concerned about their survival, INT built a temporary structure with an artificial clay nest in a safe location near the boat.
The original nest and the chicks were moved into the artificial nest. But after observing the nest most of the day, INT staff did not see the parent birds feeding their chicks. They also saw that the adults were leaving the nestlings for longer and longer periods of time. INT decided that the best way to ensure the survival of the chicks was to bring them to the AVC Wildlife Service.
The nestlings arrived at the AVC Wildlife Service on August 8th, where they were given fluids and then were fed every 20–30 minutes. Under the guidance of wildlife technician Fiep de Bie, Buzzell and Ebbott worked in shifts to manage the chicks’ care, especially the frequent feedings. At first, the chicks were fed a specially formulated liquid diet, and then they were given mostly insects, their natural food. A week later, they had all their feathers and were beginning to perch. They were moved into a larger enclosure where they could spread their wings. They continued to receive feedings—about 20 meal worms every hour for each chick.
Find all the positive news of today on our website. You may also be interested in reading Environmental News Network – In Times Of Ecological Uncertainty, Brood Parasites Hedge Their Bets.
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Image via Austin Ebbott.