Recently a young Australian Hobby came into care for fitness training after a period of some months with a very caring and experienced raptor carer, recovering from a broken wing and other traumas.
I received a bird that to all intents and purposes looked well, and was in beautiful feather and body condition.
Sadly within a short time in the flight aviary she was dead, after trying to fly a very short distance.
A PM revealed that her abdominal air sacs were completely overloaded with live air sac worms, most of which were at least 20 cms long. Most likely Serratospiculum worms, they would have severely inhibited her ability to breathe to the point of causing her death. They are being sent away for clinical diagnosis.
This sad story does reiterate that all is not always as it seems, and had her original carer not gone to the trouble to bring her here to ensure that her post release survival ability was maximised to the best of our combined ability, she would have died on release and we would all have been none the wiser.
Endoscopic examination, as is performed routinely prior to wild bird release at establishments such as the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, would have detected and potentially resolved this problem.
ARCC Inc. is now working towards fundraising to purchase an endoscope, a vital piece of equipment that will enable our vets to then be trained in, and carry out, this important medical procedure as required.