Recently, a western meadowlark was brought into the hospital. An Antioch resident noticed a hawk attacking a small bird, which fell into the backyard swimming pool, and the man was able to scoop out the injured bird and bring it into the hospital.
The initial exam revealed lacerations and puncture wounds caused by the attacking bird’s talons. The meadowlark’s right side, including the wing and leg, had multiple open wounds. There were three deep punctures in the bird’s upper chest. The hospital staff were able to clean the wounds with saline, flushing out debris and broken feathers. Then the vet carefully stitched the wounds closed.
Over the next three weeks, the meadowlark underwent surgery over six times. In some places, the vet had to use tiny sutures to stitch together torn muscle before stitching the skin itself shut. The bird was very active and alert throughout the healing process to the point where the staff was concerned that the bird might re-injure itself, so they wrapped one of its wings to give the wounds time to heal. Still, it is always a good sign when an animal is active, because it means the patient has a strong desire to live.
Finally, nearly two months after the hawk attack that brought the meadowlark to us, the care and attention that hospital staff had given the bird paid off when the patient was able to fly again. Thanks to the innumerable tiny sutures the vet had placed, the meadowlark’s injuries not only healed, but the bird regained full motion of its wings and legs. Nursed back to health, the meadowlark was ready to return to the wild, the suburbs of Contra Costa County.