Free at last: conjoined robins separated, one in critical condition

Published: Friday, July 8 2011 8:04 p.m. MDT

Priscilla Todd of Centerville found two immature robins that are joined at the wing. Thursday, July 7, 2011.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

CENTERVILLE — A pair of conjoined robins that were discovered in Centerville are now separated. But it turns out that the fledgling birds were not born that way — instead, they "grew" together.

When Priscilla Todd's son spotted the hapless pair Wednesday evening, she took them in, hoping a veterinarian would step in and help them.

The bird-siblings had been flapping around helplessly on the ground. When the stronger, bigger bird tried to fly, it would drag the other along with it, risking injury to both.

Dr. Douglas Folland of Clearfield did step in. He surgically separated the birds Friday, free of charge.

But he told Todd it was a small plastic thread, not a birth defect that was the culprit.

The robins originated in separate eggs. Somehow, the thread got lodged between them after they had hatched, and their skin and feathers grew over it, attaching them permanently.

Todd, who is an experienced bird rescuer, says the prognosis for the stronger bird is excellent.

It will be released to the wild after a little rest and recovery time at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden.

However, the smaller bird had to undergo a partial wing amputation and is in critical condition, Todd said. If it survives, the rehabilitation center has offered to keep it as a mascot.

Todd had said that she had never seen conjoined birds before. Now she knows why.

— Kelly Just,

Ladd Brubaker

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