Last Thursday morning, the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine released an American woodcock at Ijams Nature Center.
The native bird, an upland member of the shorebird family, had been dropped off at the school Monday by a local resident who found it in his garage.
“We didn’t want to release it when it was really cold,” said Dr. Michael Jones, associate professor of Avian, Exotic Pet, and Zoological Medicine explaining why they held it for a few days.
“We wanted it to have as much daylight as possible to adjust to its new surroundings.” He also explained they would prefer to release it as close as possible to its original site, but the person who dropped it off did not leave that information. Since the bird’s home site was unknown, “What better place to release it than Ijams?”
The team opened the box they transported the bird in on site where the South and North Cove trails converge. After a couple of minutes it hopped and flew about 20 yards until it was out of sight. The woodcock was not banded and will not be tracked.
Members of the public are reminded not to release animals they have found on their property or elsewhere at the nature center. Ijams does not accept wild or domestic animals, but can answer questions and make some referrals to rehabilitators.