PAWS recently received a Steller’s Jay who sadly had his head caught in a rat trap.
Steller’s Jays are native birds, with a big attitude. Their feathers are a variety of beautiful vibrant blues. Unfortunately, when first caught in the rat trap, the bird tried to get away by flapping his wings to escape, and then if being in a trap was not painful enough, he fell six feet off the deck that he and the trap were on. After watching this horrifying event, the compassionate homeowner quickly ran out and caught up the jay, removed him from the trap, and brought the jay to the PAWS Wildlife Center.
Wildlife Rehabilitator Carey Fegel was unsure of what to expect when opening the box in our examination room. She thought the jay might be too badly injured to rehabilitate, but was surprised that he flew up from the box he had been resting in when she tried to take him out for a physical examination. Carey quickly caught the bird and noticed immediately that the bird’s neck was bent in an “upside down U” position. Although the bird was looking at the world with a slightly abnormal view, he was not deterred from trying to behave normally. That was a good sign.
The healing process
This Steller’s Jay underwent a full examination, including radiographs by our wildlife veterinary team. He did have a minor skeletal defect between the skull and the spine. He was placed on pain medication to make him comfortable and later started a daily routine of physical and massage therapy to help straighten his neck region. After making minor improvements initially, this Jay’s healing has progressed quickly. In the final stages of rehabilitation at PAWS this Jay is now spending time in our outdoor enclosures to buildup his strength and energy, practice foraging for food and exercise his flight muscles.
Although this Steller’s Jay was lucky enough to completely recover from his injuries, many innocent animals, both domestic and wild, are caught in snap traps each year as people try to remove rodents from their residences and businesses. The PAWS Wildlife Center offers many humane solutions to wildlife conflicts which can save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the long run. With the spring season upon us now it is a perfect time to contact us for help with a wildlife problem.