Red-shoulder Hawk Keepers – Question

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    Anna Morris

    Hi all!

    I work with a RSHA who is suspected to have had WNV as a nestling (she was captive bred, her father was found to be positive). She obviously survived and is 6 years old today, but has always had extremely poor feather condition. Every summer she molts and grows in a new set of feathers that weaken and crumble to pieces from the center of the shaft outward. This is only seen on her flight feathers, though: all primaries, secondaries and rectrices. We suspect this is the result of an early WNV infection, but she was negative when tested at age 2. She is weight managed now, but her feathers were still poor when she was fed ad libitum to try to correct the issue. She is not housed or fed any differently than any of our other ambassadors, none of whom have a feather condition like hers.

    Question is: has anyone else with a RSHA out there experienced this? Or another small buteo? Any thoughts on what we could be missing to help her with this, or is she destined to have terrible feathers?


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