|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
Sharp-shinned hawks and kestrels have very high metabolism. They may eat about a quarter of their own weight in food per day. A sharp-shinned hawk or kestrel that has been injured such that it cannot feed itself will not last long.
Once, Diane and I were called to a county road maintenance facility, where they had found a juvenile kestrel in a pit, with a generous helping of tar and ants on it. They had already had it in their keeping a couple of days, and apparently it was given the occasional bit of meat from someone's sandwich. We thanked them for calling, picked up the bird, and left. We drove directly to a grocery store, and got the only packet of meat they had that could be given immediately in small pieces, as it turned out about a pound of ground veal. Now, you don't want to feed raptors processed meat as a steady diet, but our assessment of the kestrel was that it was likely already starved beyond recovery, and any delay on getting some nutrition in would make it that much more likely it would die. We fed it as much as it would take at a sitting right there in the car in the grocery store parking lot. Fortunately, it did live through that epsiode. Unfortunately, it seemed to have made some developmental problem, as it never grew a completely normal set of feathers thereafter.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker