The Buzzard's Story

We have lots of owls and small birds of prey brought into our raptor hospital on a weekly basis but rarely do we receive larger birds like the magnificent Common Buzzard that was brought into us recently.

However, the circumstances were not at all pleasing or pleasant, for the bird was in a shocking condition. The creature was lucky enough to be found by two concerned workmen who realised something was very wrong with the Buzzard and brought it in - it was quickly obvious to us that it was starving and had a very severe case of “frounce”. This is disease carried by pigeons - the Buzzard had almost certainly devoured an infected carcass in order to contract it.

Compression in the throat caused by the frounce causes the
throat to swell and the eyes to close

Frounce is a slow and painful killer: starting as a buildup of soft puss in the throat, it solidifies over a short period of time and blocks the passage of food. In addition the poor thing brought into us had maggots all over its eyes and beak, and down its throat. Luckily, although the frounce had been there for some time it had not gone completely hard and there was some chance of saving the Buzzard. Our amazing vet Paul quickly tackled the situation by performing a somewhat disgusting and smelly operation to clear the frounce plus the damaged tissue and maggots from the throat of the bird.

Eyedrops relieve some of the congestion

Though by no means out of the woods, we're pleased to say the Buzzard is now back in our the hospital benefitting from prescribed medication and "crop tubing" (feeding the bird though a pipe through to his crop) little & often with small morsels as he begins the slow road to recovery and is well enough to start eating solids.

The Buzzard receives food by 'cop tubing - tiny morsels
fed through a pipe to the bird's crop

If you have a look at the pictures, you will see that in the condition he arrived in, his eyes are virtually closed as his throat had swelled to such an extent it was putting too much pressure in and around its facial area - very nasty and uncomfortable and not at all a pretty sight. But we are confident things will improve and we plan to post regular pictures and updates over the coming weeks so that you can see how he's getting on.

One eye is already on the mend