After losing its ability to return to the wild, one bird unable to fly has developed a new skill: art.
Ferrisburgh is a male American kestrel named for the Vermont town where he was found. Currently, he resides 90 miles south in Quechee. Here, he lives at a sanctuary designed to house raptors no longer able to return to the wild. Other enrichment is necessary to help Ferrisburgh live a healthy life without the ability to fly. And, as it turns out, he just so happens to excel in art!
As an ambassador bird at the Vermont Institute for Natural Science, Ferrisburgh helps educate people on raptors. He recently led a painting class for humans. During this class, he chased after offered mealworms across canvases, and his talons dipped into paint. The results are several tiny canvases dotted with artwork created by Ferrisburgh.
A bird unable to fly, Ferrisburgh thinks he is a human. This is because he was captured and brought into captivity as a baby. Thus, he never learned exactly what it means to be a bird. Without his parents or the wild to teach him, he never learned to hunt. His inability to fly comes from a broken bone suspected to have occurred because of a lack of a high-quality diet like he would have hunted in the wild.
Because of such situations, it is important never to bother a young bird you find in the wild. If you believe they are injured or are young and have been abandoned by their parents, you should instead reach out to your local wildlife resources. They can properly assess the situation and decide if the bird needs help.
Species Profile: American Kestrel
The American kestrel (Falco sparverius) is also known as the sparrow hawk. Like many other birds of prey, males of this species are smaller than females, and they are the smallest falcons in North America. However, they can also be found in South America, where other species of raptors are smaller. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats across the Western Hemisphere, ranging from suburban areas to rural grasslands. They are a year-round species in much of the regions where they live. However, those individuals living in the northernmost extent of their range may prefer to winter further south.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Albert Beukhof/Shutterstock.com
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