Jonathan M. Cracknell, Alistair M. Lawrie, Lisa Yon, Jane S. Hopper, Yolanda Martinez Pereira, Eve Smaller, Romain Pizzi
Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 32 (1), 19-24, (1 March 2018) https://doi.org/10.1647/2016-195
Coracoid fractures are a frequent presentation in wild birds, commonly caused by collisions with motor vehicles, windows, or other obstacles such as pylons. Despite this, there are few reports of outcomes, and those published consist of small numbers of birds with conflicting results when comparing conservative management with surgical intervention. To determine outcome success of conservative management in a larger population of wild birds, records of 232 adult wild birds in the United Kingdom (UK) with closed unilateral coracoid fractures confirmed on radiography and surviving more than 48 hours after admission were retrospectively analyzed. Conservative management had a high success rate, with 75% (n = 174/232; 95% confidence limits [CL]: 69%, 80%) of all birds successfully released back to the wild. The proportion of raptors successfully returned to the wild was even higher at 97% (n = 34/35; 95% CL: 85%, 99%). A significant difference of 26% (95% CL: 18%, 34%, Fisher exact test, P < .001) was demonstrated when comparing the outcome success of raptors (97%, n = 34/35) to nonraptors (71%, n = 140/198). The median time in captive care until released back to the wild was 30 days (95% CL: 27, 33). Conservative management of coracoid fractures in wild birds in the UK, and in particular in raptors, appears to result in good outcomes. The approach is low cost and noninvasive, in contrast to surgery, and is recommended as the first-line approach of choice in these cases.