On the mend
Old town teen treats injured raven

by Janet Smellie
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 24/97) - Thirteen-year-old Amy Maud is getting a head start on achieving her dream of becoming a biologist.

The Old Town teen, who already has her hands full with her three turtles, a hedgehog, two dogs, a cat and a hermit crab, just couldn't say no when a injured raven arrived on her doorstep.

"He was just on my steps about three weeks ago. He had a broken wing ... right at the joint," Maund said.

After calling wildlife authorities, and checking with her dad, Gary, whose own childhood was filled with nursing injured animals back to health, Maund was given permission to try to help the raven out.

Territorial biologist Bret Elkin and his wife, Kim Elkin, a veterinarian, visited and helped prepare her for what she was up against.

"We've been giving him antibiotics so he won't become infected. But he's losing his chest muscles quick from not flying," Maund said.

"We're going to try using jessies -- they're two straps we attach around him so he can flap his wings and build his muscles."

Gumby, as Maund now calls the bird, is just over a year old, and while he "loves to nip at you, he won't go for your eyes," or really hurt you."

"His mouth is pink, so that means he's between one and two years old. When they're born their mouths are white, then they turn pink and then black. They can live as long as 25 years," Mand said.

Gumby now lives comfortably inside an oblong cage that the family built last year when they were looking after an injured seagull.

Elkin, who examined the bird, says it's too soon to really know.

"It's hard to say. There was an open fracture. In most cases for a bird with a fracture like this the prognosis is guarded. They've got it on antibiotics, which is good," Elkin said.

"People should know there can be human health risks because it's known that these raptors can transmit bacteria and other bugs and parasites," Elkin said.

If people do find these birds, it's important for their own safety to contact a veteran or someone from the Department of Resources and Wildlife before taking healing matters into their own hands.