( Photos: A series of Intern Natasha, feeding the days old Belted Kingfisher chick. What a stitch this little one is!)
Our days run together this time of the year. It seems we are stuffing little mouths all of the time. The only thing that changes is the type of bird we are stuffing and the food we are using. Each species is so specialized and therefore the diet that it is fed. The Belted Kingfisher chick that Natasha is holding and feeding in the photos to the right is just days old now but it already eating minnows and other meats. What a stitch he is! When he is hungry he yells so loud it is impossible to miss his intent. I took the first photo just to show the baby eating. You can see a minnow going into the crop and then he unexpectantly grabbed Natasha finger and would not let go. They are suprisingly strong with their sucking reflex. The adult Belted Kingfisher would eat minnows and other small fish and then partially digest it in their own crop before coming back to the nest. The babes then take the food from the adults crop. It is a bit like crop milk but pretty fishy! Our hands smell pretty wonderful this time of year!:((
( Photo: Aprill braves the cold water and mucky lake bottom to harvest some duckweed to keep our ducklings healthy. YEA APRILL!)
Speaking of interns Aprill is a bit of a ham and volunteered to get us duckweed from Moose Lake for our baby ducklings. Duckweed is so important to the growth and development of baby ducks, but it does not begin to grow until the water temperature warms some. With the cold springtime we were getting nervous about finding enough duckweed to keep our ducklings healthy. Aprill pretty much just jumped on in and braved the mucky bottom to get to the duckweed and gather some. Yea Aprill!
She is great...all of interns are!! We have been really blessed this year with some fine young people.
( Photo: Merganser and Wood Duck ducklings eat live insects and minnows from the time they hatch through the first month of life!)
The photos shows two Merganser ducklings and a Wood Duck duckling. They are housed together at this point only because of their common age and size. Other ducklings patients of their species are older and larger and would not accept the smaller, younger babies. The merganser and wood ducks eat the same food so they are fine together at this point. When they get older they will be introduced to their own species before they are all released to the wild.
(Photo: Check out our youngest Sandhill Crane colt grazing in the field of wildflowers.)
The Sandhill Crane colts are growing and changing daily. The oldest is very tall these days and while he is not flying yet he is flapping his wings in anticipation. The youngster in the photo in the flowers is FINALLY getting growing. She had some serious health issues and had retarded growth for the first few weeks. She will catch up, but so far remains behind.
The oldest chick came in May 17th so is just about a month old now and the youngest is came in on May 26th. You can see their "baby pictures" on those dates in the blog.
( Photo: This Sandhill Crane colt was about six inches tall when he came in on May 17th. He is only a month old and stands nearly 3 feet tall now and is growing his wing feathers fast. They grow so fast you can almost watch them.)
Two of our interns had birthday early this week. Lance and Natasha both turned 21!
We had a great party with all of the REGI team and a beautiful cake to celebrate their milestone birthday! We are all having a great summer together. The students are terrific and work hard to make sure the birds have the best possible care. I am so grateful to them for their dedication.
( Photo: Natasha and Lance both turned twenty-one! We celebrated with a party with sloppy joes and a yummy chocolate cake with raspberry filling.)
Until tomorrow, have a great weekend!
Marge Gibson 2009