Wildlife Center Admits Chick From Richmond Falcon Cam

On May 24, the Wildlife Center admitted a rather well-known patient: one of the chicks from the Richmond Falcon Cam. While monitoring the camera earlier in the week, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources biologists noticed that the chick had developed a mass on its lower left eyelid. Center veterinarians consulted with the biologists while the bird was being banded and could see that the mass was touching the chick's eye, raising concerns for corneal ulceration if left untreated. The decision was made to transport the bird to the Center for an additional exam and removal of the mass. 

On admission, the chick weighed 596 grams and was mildly dehydrated but otherwise in good condition. After a closer examination of the mass, which was approximately 3mm, Senior Veterinary Intern Dr. Olivia and Licensed Veterinary Technician Rachel anesthetized the chick and quickly got to work removing the mass from the bird's eyelid. The procedure was successful, and afterward, Dr. Olivia used small, delicate sutures to close the incision and prevent further irritation to the cornea. The chick was placed inside the hospital's holding area to recover, and its mass will be sent out for a histopathology study to determine the cause. 

Dr. Olivia performing surgery on a Peregrine Falcon nestlingAfter the procedure, the veterinary team ran bloodwork and also learned that the falcon had a very low level of lead in its system, a common occurrence for raptors, and something that could cause health problems if not treated. The exact source of the lead is unknown, but the vet team has started chelation therapy to remove it from the bird's system. 

The veterinary team is hopeful that the chick will make a quick recovery and will monitor the bird in the coming days to ensure that the incision is healing well so that it can be returned to its nest as soon as possible.

For more information about this bird and the nest that it came from, visit DWR's Richmond Falcon Cam, and be sure to check back on this page for updates!

Update 5/29

The chick has healed well post-surgery! On May 29, he was returned to his nest box and reunited with his siblings. The chick still has a small suture on his eyelid, but it will dissolve on its own over time. 

DWR biologists will continue to monitor the chick as he ages. For future updates, visit the Richmond Falcon Cam.