VIDEO: Diagnosing Birds of Prey with Dr. Major
On rare occasions, worlds collide for Dr. James C. Major, Jr., MD, PhD at Retina Consultants of Houston when he is able to combine his love of retina with his love of birding and falconry.
Dr. Major is an avid falconer and sometimes assists the Friends of Texas Wildlife, a nonprofit organization that provides care for injured, displaced and orphaned wildlife in Montgomery and surrounding counties. The organization has looked to Dr. Major on several occasions to determine if any of their birds have sight issues that may prevent them from being released back into the wild or to determine long term care issues.
In the video below, Dr. Major and his team at Retina Consultants of Houston examine the eyes of an Eastern Screech Owl on our Heidelberg Spectral Domain OCT and determine that the bird has a retinal detachment and a hole in its retina. The bird can live a nice healthy life in captivity, Dr. Major says.
The people in the clinic, the technicians, love it as well. They get very excited. The photographers, who actually take the shots of the birds love, love, love to do it because it's challenging and they get to see things that have never been seen before. It's like traveling in space." Dr. Major says. "The eye of a bird is far superior to ours in terms of what they see and how they see it.
In addition to training at the highest rated ophthalmology program in the nation, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Major also earned his masters and doctorate in population genetics and spent years studying and researching birds at the University of Texas at Austin.
I was the first to image via OCT a live raptor's retina," Dr. Major says. "We imaged a Broad-winged Hawk (with a normal eye and one detached retina eye!) and a Great Horned Owl. These results were presented first at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida and then subsequently published in a prestigious peer reviewed journal IOVS.
As an avid, licensed Texas falconer, Dr. Major has also been published in HawkChalks, the official journal of the North American Falconers Association. Major JC Jr. Supreme Sight: Visual Adaptations in Raptors. HawkChalk: The Journal of the North American Falconers Association [NAFA] April 2017. See attached pgs. 30-32.
In his personal life, Dr. Major has had the privilege of hunting with four birds of prey: one Red-Tailed Hawk, two Harris's Hawks, and a Merlin named Ginger. A merlin is the second smallest falcon in North America after the Kestrel.
Dr. Major is known in the ophthalmology field as a bird expert and was even asked at a Houston optometry meeting last year to make a bird call for the group of doctors. You can watch the video here.
We invite you to watch the video below of Dr. Major diagnosing birds of prey.