Friday, July 3, 2009
Riding the Roller Coaster of Life at REGI- The Good
(Photos: Stevens Point Bald Eagle eaglet is weighed when admitted. We use a baby scale and they are usually very cooperative laying still. No sedation is used in case you are wondering. Katie, Natasha, Lance and Steve look on.
Photo below: Head shot of the young Bald Eagle.
This has been one of those few days where you feel like you are on a roller coaster. One minute you have GREAT even TERRIFIC news and the next something horrible comes through the door and within a minute there is a call about an animal abuse situation that is intolerable and very literally within minutes after that you are putting food into the mouth of a precious little barn swallow so filled with innocence and enthusiasm of just being alive. Then the whole cycle starts all over again.
On the Terrific end of things, the young Bald Eagle was put with the foster dad and other eaglet that is already in the rearing chamber. Things went perfectly for the newly formed little family. While the photo I could get isn't perfect you can see the dad on the left and the two youngsters in the nest on the right. You may have to look some to see both brown youngsters in the nest. We are still not sure what happened to the eaglet, but continue to work to find out. She will have xrays Monday or Tuesday.
( Photo: Bald Eagle foster dad with the two eaglets. We don't get close to do photos so the quality is always grainy. The male was right in the nest with the kids once it got nigh time. I wish with everything in me that I could share this kind of behavior with the world! It is beautiful.)
More good news in a HUGE way from friend Barry Wallace. Barry is a consummate Trumpeter Swan watcher/protector/helper/health observer. I cannot say enough good about the many years that Barry has spent with the huge Trumpeter Swans near Hudson, Wi where many winter, nor the valuable work he does with this endangered species.
Last winter we were swimming in cases of lead poisoning in Trumpeter Swans. It was a miserable winter with long days and nights spent caring for these magnificent creatures. Lead poisoning is a horrible problem and with the high blood levels we were seeing in the winter swans nearly always fatal.
( Photo: Barry Wallace with Trumpeter Swan #87Y just prior to his March, 2009 release back into the wild after having been treated for and recovered from lead poisoning.)
( Photo: Pat Manthey DNR/BER Avian Ecologist Adjusting the neck collar on 87Y prior to his release in March while Barry holds him one last time.)
Making a very long and agonizing story short...One of the swans that came in to us was a 14 yr old male Trumpeter Swan that Barry has known from a neck collar since he was a youngster. If you can imagine for 14 years this man watched this elegant swan and his family as they wintered on the St Croix River. Last winter the male became very ill with lead poisoning. Barry caught him up and the bird came here for help. His neck collar number is 87Y. That number becomes a "name" for us while there are with us. 87Y had a rough time in rehab. He nearly died several times and finally recovered after months of treatment. There was a celebration when he was released back on the St Croix where he was found. His mate had just left back for her home territory
( Photo: I hold 87Y while Don says his goodbyes just minutes before his release. and a photo taken just after his release with the other wintering swans on the St Croix River which was still frozen in March.)
We heard little from the bird. Barry had an occasional update, but it was on a no-news-is-good-news status.
Yesterday I got an email from Barry. He found 87Y with a new uncollared adult female and they were looking pretty happy. That is GREAT news. We are not sure what happened to his former mate. She may no longer be alive. Swans mate for life or until some situation separates them. We are not sure what happened in this case.
We hope 87Y is deliriously happy with his new mate and has an uneventful fall and winter this year.
This swan episode and the other swan lead poisonings are documented in the blog in March and April if you would like to read them.
More good news is our Red-breasted Nuthatches are ready for release. They will be released tomorrow if the weather holds. The Black-capped Chickadees are also nearing release ready as is the Chipping Sparrow.
Many of the American Robins are also ready for release. We were waiting for warmer weather before opening the doors on the aviary and will do that next week after the Fourth of July celebration. Fourth of July and all the firecrackers and fireworks is not as exciting if you are a bird in a tree and terrified of the sound, the reverberation and the light show.
The good news continues as "Slick" the Amercian Robin chick that spent some time in a pail of oil or oil fluid of some kind is doing really well. When he came in he looked like well... SLICK, but these days he is looking pretty much like a normal baby robin. He eats more than most and that may be a reflection of his desire to get on with life.:)
(Photo: "SLICK" the baby American Robin that took a dip in a pail of oil is looking good these days. Many thanks to Lynn Ott who quickly washed him off when he arrived at her house for transport.)
( (Photo: Aprill trying to feed the Northern Flicker chick that was hit by a car but is recovering very well.)
The little Northern Flicker that was hit by a car is doing very well also. Flickers are such interesting youngsters. They are some of the "coolest" of the woodpecker babies and chat all of the time. They insist on hanging from you while you are feeding even when you wish they would not. Most years we have several nests of Northern Flickers by this time of the year. That occurs when trees are cut without people knowing tree contains a nest of the active woodpecker.
( Photo: The Barred Owl that was hit by a car several days ago is in an outdoor flight and doing well. The second photo was taken of the same owl on June 24, 2009. She has done well and come a long way. )
The Barred Owl that came in June 23rd having been hit by a car and looked like she was about to give up on this world is in an outdoor flight and looks great. She still has a bit of a headache and will need to exercise to regain her muscle strength, but she looks great and her vision and hearing are perfect. So many times when owls are hit by cars they lose vision or hearing and are then not releasable to the wild.
I will finish up the Bad and the Ugly portions of the blog in a few days. Then a warning, don't read it if you feeling delicate. ::((
Remember wildife when you use fireworks and loud poppers. Have a great and safe holiday everyone.
Marge Gibson 2009