Valor – The Fire Breather

Valor, nicknamed “Valorie” since we have come to know that she is actually a female, came to us on August 30, 2015 after flying through a methane gas plume. These plumes are extremely dangerous to raptors and other birds since they cannot see or smell them. As soon as a bird flies over one of these plumes their feathers instantly singe off and they fall to the ground like a rock. Our previous two cases of methane burns have been success stories but Valor is by far the worst case we have seen.

valoriebeakValorie continues to improve as she has shed off the burned and damaged sheaths to her talons, as well as the the dead keratin on her beak.  Her talons have been growing quickly, with the normal black returning to her talons, telling us that the tissue was not permanently damaged by the heat.  The picture to the left shows the new, pink beak that she has.  Because of this, she has graduated from having her food chopped up for her to actually being given whole food so that she may tear at it.  Valorie seems to prefer the whole food as it most likely gives her necessary enrichment while she continues to heal.

valorie1stfeatherEven happier than her beak and talons growing in normal, we noticed the first week of March 2016 that she has a brand new feather!  As you can see to the right, it is one of her primary feathers that is coming in, and it so far appears to be a healthy feather.  When feathers grow in, they have a supply of blood in the shaft, and we can easily see that blood is being supplied to the feather.  This is very important to see as it means that the damage may not be to the follicle.


She remains extremely feisty and is making more progress than we had anticipated her total recovery and rehabilitation will probably require 2 or 3 years. During this time she will need several trips to the vet,  specialized treatment  and lots of food. We are anticipating her recuperation will cost upwards of $3000. Please help us help this incredible bird by contributing to our Go Funding Account to ensure he will survive and thrive once again.

Read more of Valor’s story