Why Veterinary Medicine Keeps Me Engaged

By Dr. Lynn McEwan

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Why Veterinary Medicine Keeps Me Engaged

Hawk w DrDr. Lynn McEwan

My next door neighbor, Carol, called me on my cell last Sunday afternoon about an injured hawk they found in the pool shed. When I got back from church, it was in their bathroom, and I wondered how they got it there. I couldn’t believe the video of this Coopers Hawk showing no fear of humans or dogs, but looking desperately for something to eat – even Carol’s blue painted toes.

This hawk had not been kept in captivity prior because it had no clue what to do with pieces of meat, that literally I had to teach to eat by forcing it’s mouth open and stuffing down pieces of chicken. Within 10 minutes the bird had figured out this was a good deal and was readily grabbing for pieces to eat as she was very thin.

I noticed an injury over the left wing and figured she’d had a fracture but it felt stable to me. On Monday I brought her to work and radiographed her, and discovered a comminuted, compound fracture of the left ulna and an air pellet lodged inside the left distal thigh, which I removed under a local anesthetic.

I set up a cage for her and got her coming to my glove for meat scraps. Without any jesses (leather legging put on captive birds of prey) she would fly to my glove and remain on it while eating. NO FEAR! She is getting stronger but is still really food motivated and I’ve got videos of her flying 15 feet to get her meat reward. I figure the fracture was an old one, despite the still open wound on the outside of her wing. I’m grateful that despite a still healing fracture, she is able to fly.

Yesterday afternoon having contacted the local press, a photographer and reporter came over and took tons of photos of the bird, including a comical one of the bird flying and landing on my head instead of the glove.

After many years of practicing veterinary medicine, the field still finds ways to be exciting!

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