Acorn the Angry

Article from “The Mickaboo Bird Rescue Companion”
Published September, 2023

By Dara Torgerson, Mickaboo volunteerAcorn in his hospital tank

[Editor's note: the following is one of many rescue missions our volunteers have undertaken recently to assist birds needing our help.]

It was a Tuesday, the day I go into the office and trade my feathered office mates for that of the human kind. Glancing nervously at my watch, I thought about traffic on the bridge and if I’d make it back in time to pick up the kids from school. Traffic is looking good!

Before heading out I have time to check my messages – all is clear at work, but there’s several messages on the Mickaboo channel. The Telegraph Hill Conure Team is being alerted to an injured bird at San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) needing immediate medical treatment. The channel continues to light up as new messages fly back and forth among volunteers. Which vet is available? How close are they? Who can transport? Will it be too late?

My office is 5 minutes away from SFACC so I knew I could get there quickly. What about the kids? I text my spouse - he pushes his meeting back to pick up the kids from school. A flurry of coordinating messages between Mickaboo volunteers solidifies an option for emergency medical treatment, 30 minutes away.Acorn on the floor

This is the second wild conure this month…. the last one didn’t make it. A photo comes in and it looks bad. A pronounced head tilt and open wound on the back – no active bleeding but something definitely attacked the bird. They’re missing tail feathers, maybe a cat attack. I get to SFACC. A staff member hands me a box with the words “Angry Conure” written in black marker on top; I have immediate feelings of relief. An angry bird is a good sign. I attempt to peer through the carrier’s air holes but all is quiet in the dark. Another message comes in. Let’s go with the name “Acorn” (after Acorn Alley - it’s a San Francisco street). Acorn is entered into the Mickaboo system to complete their official intake. Acorn the Angry. Without further ado I hop into the car, turn on the heat, text the vet with my expected arrival time and merge into rush hour. At least there isn’t a Giants game.

We arrive at the vet; she's calm and ready. We pass knowing looks – is Bromethalin poisoning a factor? The vet assesses the open wound carefully and identifies signs of a head injury. See the slight bruising on the beak? Pain medication, subcutaneous fluids, and antibiotics are administered. Acorn is stable and placed into a warm incubator with numerous towels for support. The pain meds make them drowsy and they slip into a well-needed rest. Get well soon Acorn, you’re in good hands.

I arrive home and things are busy with school bags tossed in the corner and my conures excited to come out of their cages to stretch their wings, forage for walnuts, and join in the chatter. I watch my Telegraph Hill conures, Mooshi and Julian, happily toss a toy around and wonder if they had known Acorn.

[Editor's concluding note: Sadly, though Acorn seemed to rally after his initial treatment, Acorn's wounds, in addition to probable Bromethalin poisoning, were ultimately too much. Acorn passed over the Rainbow Bridge in July 2023.]

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