Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Many thanks to Dan McKinney, WJFW Channel 12 Rhinelander, WI Reporter for the excellent video work on this piece on the eagle physical day and the recent releases. So great to see them free...and take their rightful place in the world. Enjoy a view into our world at REGI.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Veterans Day

Yesterday was Veterans Day in the U.S.  REGI is known for our work with Bald Eagles and native birds; however less known is our informal work with veterans, and the Wounded Warriors project. Veterans, those from our own family as well as those we will never meet, are near and dear to our heart here at Raptor Education Group Inc.
A request is usual as simple as allowing a veteran, nearing the end of his life, or trying to regain stability following active duty, to spend some time watching the birds. The birds appear to have a healing quality to veterans. The memory of the late, Bob Mingus, a special Vietnam vet that served in the 101st Airborne Division, "Screaming Eagles”, always comes to mind when I think of the great spirit that embodies veterans we see. The 101st pin he gifted me with means so much!
The photo here is from an ad in our local paper. Yesterday was the day designated to remember veterans. We want to thank those that have given their service in the past, those that are currently serving and their families on this day and every day.

As well as our amazing human soldiers, past and present, who have served this country, there have been several animal soldiers as well that deserve recognition. Few people know that homing pigeons were used in wars and saved many. The next time you see a pigeon and find it annoying...it could well have a relative that was a veteran! They are miracle in feathers... with a gentle coo!:)

Homing Pigeons were especially important before the advent of radio, they were entrusted with important notes that had to be delivered regardless of the battles that waged below it.  These pigeons often had to dodge enemy fire, as troops realized that the release of a pigeon meant that a message was being sent, possibly carrying beneficial secrets.  In fact, during the 19th-century Franco-Prussian War, German troops trained hawks to hunt the message carrying pigeons.  

Some well-known pigeons include "The Mocker", who flew 52 missions before he was wounded and "Cher Ami", who was shot and wounded in the last week of World War I.  She lost a foot and an eye, but she managed to deliver the message and save a group of surrounded American soldiers.

To learn more, visit this link:

Happy Veterans Day!

Friday, November 1, 2013

We just wanted to leave all of you with three of our most popular videos from the last few months! Enjoy!
(Please click the descriptions for the videos)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

National Eagle Center Program

Hey friends!

Just a reminder that Marge and the REGI education team (both humans and birds) will be presenting a program and a "walk and talk" this Saturday, September 28, 2013, at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN for their SeptOberfest event.  Our times are 11 AM - 2 PM with the main presentation at 12 PM.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Video of Hummingbird Babies Being Fed/Intense Summer Season Following Extended Winter Season

Dear Friends,

It has been a while since I updated "Taking Flight".  I apologize to our readers. The past months have been extremely busy, in large part due to wildlife problems created by our odd weather pattern.   I defaulted posting patients news and updates to the Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) Facebook page.   The Facebook page can be updated quickly, whereas the blog format is in constant flux. 

I have received many note and emails urging me to begin the blog again and now that I can catch my breath a little, I will just that. 

We have had more patients this year than ever in our history.  Our patients are always fascinating and incredible and this year is no exception...there are just more of them.   Some of the patients we have some great video on.  I will begin the renewed effort on the blog with one of the more requested video. It is of a nest of tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that were rescued after a storm brought down a tree limb that held their nest. The chicks have been reared and the oldest was released on 8-22-13.   She is doing well and has integrated successfully into the wild group of hummingbirds as they prepare to migrate south.  We have released 2 other hummingbirds this summer as well.

Enjoy and I will be update again soon.

Have a great day everyone,
Marge Gibson

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Migration Has Begun! Common Nighthawk One of the Earliest Migrants!

Common Nighthawk shows how wide her mouth opens to catch insects 

The nighthawk migration has begun! Common Nighthawks are a very personal species for me. I cared for my first nighthawk patient some 48 yrs. ago. That single bird did much to shape me professionally. People that say one bird doesn’t matter but I beg to differ. Individual birds and their interaction with people have changed opinions, career choices and lifestyles. I have seen attitudes evolve when a person rescues a bird. It doesn’t have to be a rare or endangered species that creates change, the personal connection with a robin or sparrow can do it.

 My dad, Clarence Cahak, was an amazing naturalist. He loved all nature, but birds and nighthawks were special. He called them goatsuckers, the name itself made the bird fascinating to the mind of a child. The name will be a story for another column. Nighthawks eat hundreds of flying insects each night. In the stomach of one unfortunate nighthawk we found 300 freshly caught mosquitos and that was in an hour’s time. That fact alone should make the nighthawk a candidate for most popular bird species ever!

 The thing about nighthawks that amazed me most however, is their migration.  The migration is so reliable you can use it as a calendar.  When I was a kid, dad would haul out lawn chairs on August 22. About 5 p.m. we would pile into the car, drive to the agriculture fields at the edge of town, pull out the chairs and settle in as one would at a kid’s soccer game. Soon the air was filled with nighthawks flitting back and forth, mouth open as they scooped up insects. It was amazing!

Time and even days at the REGI clinic quite literally merge in these busy times.    Last night I glanced skyward on my way to the house.  And there…flitting back and forth were nighthawks, migrating in a southward direction, doing what they have done for as long as I can remember.  The date I knew had to be August 22, 2013 and…it was!   The next stop for this spectacular bird is South America!  There they will spend the winter and see us again in May when our insect population is strong enough to support them and their families.

We recently released a rehabilitated nighthawk.   The patient was admitted starving, unable to feed herself after being injured by a car.   This patient had a difficult course.  While releasing all patients is a great joy...those that have complicated stories are all the more sweet.    The photo is of the REGI team including summer interns moments before the nighthawk was released to the wild.

 Please enjoy the video of a recent nighthawk release.  After watching, go outdoors at dusk and enjoy the show as nighthawks migrate through. You can bet I will be doing the same, thinking of my dad and remembering all those great nights. In our region, migration begins about August 22 and continues through August 28. Look for an active narrow winged bird with a white blaze on each wing, gobbling insects as they travel.

Wishing you all a wonderful day,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Things are getting busy at REGI...

Things are picking up here at REGI. We have received our first baby bird of the year, a three week old Great Horned Owl baby! This owl may be our first baby, but he definitely will not be our last. As the weather gets nicer, more people will be outside finding not only baby birds, but injured birds as well. Our clinic is full of new patients that have arrived in the last couple of weeks.

There are many ways you can help REGI during this busy time. One way is to check out our Amazon.com wishlists. We have a baby shower wish list, a patient wish list, and most recently an education wish list to help supply our future classroom (more details coming soon!).

Another way to help is to sign up to be a volunteer transporter or just come on down and volunteer at REGI. We are always in need of landscapers and gardeners to help get our facility ready for summer and tours.

Below you will find a video of our little owl eating a mouse. The video is dark because we keep a sheet covering the enclosure so the owlet does not see people. Our foster dad is sitting above him on a perch keeping watch.