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Patient of the Week/Release Radar: 05/10/24

Patient of the Week/Release Radar Pied-billed Grebe

This video shows one excited pied-billed grebe happily swimming away after successfully being released back into the wild. Found trapped in a swimming pool, this small diving bird was brought to Tucson Wildlife Center for evaluation. A radiograph showed a metallic foreign body, consistent with a pellet from a pellet gun, lodged in her pelvic area. (The grebe had most likely landed in the pool after being shot and searching for the safety of the first body of water she saw.) TWC’s staff veterinarian was able to safely remove the pellet and this lucky bird was recently released in a resource-rich area where other grebes had been spotted.

Pied-billed Grebes are not ducks, but a small, diving waterbird with lobed toes used to propel themselves through and under the water. The name pied-billed comes from the bird’s bicolored bill. Grebe is Latin for “feet at the buttocks.” Fitting since their legs are placed far back on their bodies. This adaptation helps this compact bird swim underwater but makes it awkward to walk well on land.

Sadly, TWC has seen an increase in the number of birds admitted with gunshots, usually resulting in significant harm or death. Bullets can penetrate deep into the bird’s body, causing damage to internal organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Bullets lodged in muscles or joints can restrict the bird’s movement, making it difficult or impossible to fly, swim, or forage for food. Our little pied-billed grebe was very fortunate that none of her pelvic bones had been severed upon impact, which would have greatly limited her chances for a full recovery … compromising her ability to hunt for food, evade predators, and navigate her environment.

If you would like to help patients like this pied-billed grebe, click the button below.

Another way you can contribute is to visit our “wish list” on Amazon by clicking on the Amazon Wish List button below. We appreciate it, as will all the wild animals in our care!

Click on the picture below to watch a video.

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