Monday, November 30, 2009

Lead Poisoned Bald Eagle Update, Peregrine has Surgery

( Photo: Three year old Bald Eagle admitted last night can now stand, but holding her head up is hard. She is still in very critical condition.)

I have a few quick notes tonight to update our blog followers on the condition of the Bald Eagle admitted yesterday with lead poisoning.

The eagle has improved. She is no longer convulsing. That is a huge relief. Her blood lead level is still off the chart. It is nearly midnight as I write this. I left her a few minutes ago. I did a final tube feeding, gave her medications and tucked her in for the night. One concern I have is she is so weak and remains disoriented. She does not seem to have the strong "will" I am used to seeing in Bald Eagle patients. I hope she is just tired and aspergillosis has not already taken a toll on her body. Time will tell if that is the case. She weighs only 6 lbs 1 oz. A female Bald Eagle should weight between 11 and 14 lbs in our region. Starvation is part of lead poisoning. The birds are unable to eat as their digestive system shuts down.

( Photo: The Bald Eagle is still very weak. She sleeps most of the time and chooses to sleep on over a heating pad. The heat supports her natural body temperature which is compromised in such a critically ill bird. )

( Photo: This photo was taken about 10 minutes ago. She is resting for the night. The convulsions ceased as of early this morning. Now we just hope all goes well thought the night.)

( Photo:Katie holds the Peregrine Falcon as he wakes from anesthesia. Dr Powani did a great job as always.

A young Peregrine Falcon had surgery today on his eyelid. He came out of anesthesia well and is happily eating a gopher tonight. More on him tomorrow.

Off to bed now. Keep our beautiful eagle in your thoughts tonight.

Marge Gibson ©2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lead Poisoned Bald Eagle Admitted from Bancroft, WI

( Photo: This three year old female Bald Eagle was admitted late this afternoon from the Bancroft, WI. area. Sadly, she has an "off the charts" high blood lead level. She continues to suffer convulsions from the neurological affects of the lead on her brain.)

A group of deer hunters went from hunting deer to saving a Bald Eagle in a matter of a few short hours. They are our first REGI heroes of the day.

It was mid-morning when a call came in from Kendra Sawyer. Kendra was a REGI Intern in the summer of 2008. She was home recovering from a bout of the flu when her boyfriend called for help. He was deer hunting and came across an immature Bald Eagle lying in the woods. He knew the bird was alive only when she lifted her head slightly. We have transporters, but no volunteers in the Bancroft area capable of catching up even a very sick eagle. Additionally, walking the woods during deer hunting season is not safe unless dressed in regulation orange clothing.
I gave Kendra the bad news. We could help the bird, but were unable to make the 2.5 hour drive each way to search for it and get it out of the woods.

( Photo: The Bald Eagle is give oral fluids and nutrition through a tube to the crop. Weekend staffer, Aprill Jaeger holds the bird as I feed her. )

I knew the only chance this very sick bird had would be if Kendra's boyfriend Jake, captured it and brought it out of the woods. I hesitated to suggest the possibility particularly since the deer hunt has not been good this year. I knew this last day would be important to the hunting party. Jake rose to the occasion. Using only his sleeping bag to restrain the eagle, he carried her to flu hobbled Kendra's waiting car. ( Kendra is our second Hero of the day.)

It is amazing to me how things come together in these cases. Kendra was not feeling well enough to be out of bed let alone drive the eagle to Antigo. We enlisted longtime REGI volunteer transporters, David and Judy Marshall, of nearby Wisconsin Rapids, WI to transport the eagle to REGI in Antigo. ( Dave and Judy are the third and fourth Heroes of the day.)

( Photo: The young Bald Eagle is given a shot of Calcium Versenate to begin the process of chelating the lead from her blood. In the photo she is beginning to curl inward as a seizure overtakes her. A long road is ahead of the bird and the REGI team as we fight for her life.)

It will be a long night tonight. I will be with her most of the night. We quite literally have to hold large birds such as Bald Eagles so they do not break their wings during the convulsions. The beautiful bird has many strikes against her. As I write this she has had two injections of CA EDTA. I hope the chelation therapy begins to work soon to ease her suffering.

I have included several links below for your interest in how wildlife and people are exposed to lead during and after hunting season. Lead is a toxin. We as a species are well aware of that. Lead has been removed from all other aspects of our life. Last year there was a huge outcry when a bit of lead showed up in the certain colors of paint used in childrens toys that come from China. For some reason however, lead ammunition is still used in most states in the U.S. for hunting, and lead sinkers and jigs for fishing. We and our children eat the meat and wildlife is put at great risk as well. Thanks to Scott Diehl, for providing the sites.

Tis the season as they say. For us and for wildlife in the country it is "Lead poisoning season". This is the first of the lead poisonings this fall but it will not be the last. Keep us in your thoughts tonight.

Lead in game shot with lead ammo
Lead and the Environment
Lead fragments in venison

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Visitors Travel to REGI from the U.S. and Abroad for Training

( Photo: Chong Leong Puan, a PhD Student from Malaysia recieves instruction on handling a Bald Eagle.)

Wildlife professionals such as biologists and zoologists often do research on birds in the wild habitat. Field research gives the world a better understanding of every aspect of the natural history of wild animals. Those things include food habits, migration, breeding behavior just to name a few. Without this kind of research we would know little about the natural world.

During the course of the study of various species, handling is required. Getting training for handling large birds is difficult to come by. That is why many students and wildlife professionals from undergraduates to those that already have their PhD and veterinarians turn to REGI for training.

REGI is honored to have provided training for hundreds of wildife professionals in the past few years. It is just one way in which we help the future of wildlife.

( Photo: Karla Kinstler, Director/Naturalist of the Houston Nature Center, Houston, MN uses REGI handling and training methods with our Snowy Owl.)

Karla Kinstler, Houston MN. and Director/Naturalist of the Houston Nature Center, has been a year Bush Fellowship this past year. She has traveled all over the U.S. and Europe viewing and participating in various programs specific to owls. Those facilities includes wildlife centers, owl research programs and environmental education programs. Karla's fellowship allowed her to gather information on all aspects of husbandry for wildlife in captivity. We were honored that she chose to spend a few days with us at REGI this week.

( Photo: Karla with a Short-eared Owl just beginning her handling training. The owl is on her way to becoming a member of the REGI education team. Short-eared Owls are high strung birds and considered difficult to train. )

Karla is no newcomer to wildlife education. It was under her guidance the International Festival of Owls was born and has grown to a wonderful celebration of owls and nature in early March in Houston, MN.

Karla's education bird a Great-horned Owl, named Alice. Alice is a remarkable bird that has helped her species in so many ways I cannot list them all, but they include being instrumental in assuring Great-horned Owls have protected status in the State of Minnesota. Not bad for a few pounds of owl and a lot of feathers! ( and a whole lot of Karla)

( Photo: A tiny owlet, that would become known as ALICE, moments after her rescue. She is resting in the hands of my late mother, Rosie Cahak.)

Amazingly, Alice the Owl began life in Antigo on Hogan Street. She fell from the nest early in her life. My late mother and I rescued the tiny owlet that would become the huge Great-horned Owl named Alice. That incident occurred over twelve years ago. The young owlet had serious damage to one wing and we knew early on that she would never be able to fly well enough to be released to the wild. We opted to raise the owlet as an education bird. When she was grown we looked for a very special placement. Karla fit the bill for the wonderful placement we were looking for. The rest, as they say, is history.

Karla and I mused this week about how much good can be accomplished through a single encounter with a special education bird like Alice. The truth is we never know when a person in the audience changes their course in life because of this chance encounter.

( Photo: © Tri-County Record
Karla and Alice at work.)

It was great to spend time with both Karla and Alice during their trip to REGI. We will be seeing them again in March during the International Festival of Owls in Houston, MN.

Marge Gibson © 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chequamegon Bird Club Trip to REGI, Downy Woodpecker Admitted

( Photo: Education Coordinator Steve Fisher, describes the special adaptations of a Barred Owl to the group. That is Malcolm, our ancient Barred Owl on Steve's glove. )

It seems like the REGI name should be changed to "Education R Us" these days. In "normal" years,we are unable to do programs on site in November due to the winter weather. Last year at this time we were looking at below zero F. temperatures. This year we had snow in October, but November has been downright balmy. ( We think anything above 32 degrees F. is balmy in Northern WI. ) Recently we were able to do an on site program for a favorite group, the Chequamegon Bird Club. The bird club members made the long drive from Medford, WI to REGI see the program. Afterwards, they continued on their way to the famous Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and the Birds In Art Show in Wausau. They also took time to do some birding on the way. It was an all bird kind of day for them.

It is a bit like "preaching to the choir" when we do programs for bird clubs. There is nothing quite so bonding as a shared passion. The members get to see many species up close and personal that they sometimes only "hear", or catch as a fleeting glance in the wild.

Below I will share some of the photos of the day with the Chequamegon Bird Club visit.

( Photos: Education Coordinator Steve Fisher, leads the tour as Wildlife Rehabilitator, Katie Farvour handles our education birds including a Great-horned Owl and Saw-whet Owl for folks to see and photograph.)

( Photo: Steve explains why the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal is the world to the group.)

( Photo: Steve describes the Golden Eagle to the bird club members as Avian Technician, Lance Holm, holds our education Golden Eagle for an up close and personal view.)

A beautiful Downy Woodpecker was admitted last night. He has a broken wing, but is otherwise in good body weight. He should do well in care. We hope for a full recovery. With a little luck, he will be released either this winter or in early spring. Many thanks to the Bennett family of Wausau not only for rescuing the little guy, but transporting him to REGI in the evening.

The Downy Woodpecker is a tiny woodpecker, but has personality plus. Nothing much phases these little ones. This new patient was in care for all of two minutes when he ate a wax worm from my fingers. Many thanks to Jada Baits of Antigo for supplying us with a constant source of wax worms for our patients. Live worms are so expensive to buy. Jada Baits generosity has allowed us to continue our work with passerines and other insect eating birds.

( Photo: A male Downy Woodpecker was admitted last night. He has a wing fracture but is otherwise in good condition. Note the yummy wax worms in the bottom of the box.)

We wish safe travels to those that are on the road or traveling in some way on this day before Thanksgiving.

Best to all,
Marge Gibson ©2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leg Hold Trapped Eagle Update, New Leg Hold Trapped Great-horned Owl Admitted

( Photo: Don holds the Bald Eagle caught in a leg hold trap in late October.)

Our patient, the Bald Eagle caught in a leg hold trap in late October has become an emotional favorite not only with REGI staff but with our facebook and blog public too. Our weather has been unseasonably warm this week so yesterday he was transferred to an outdoor flight. This is in anticipation of his eventual release. He has come a long way since he was admitted.

Honestly, I never thought I would see the day when he was flying again as he is today. You might recall his wings were badly battered as he struggled to stay afloat during the three days he spend in the Wisconsin River. He is still not "out of the woods" and will come back indoors when the weather turns frigid later this week. For now however he is outdoors for the first time since he was admitted.

While all of our patients are special, this Bald Eagle is even more so than most. His is incredibly patient with us and his predicament. I wish I could share with everyone just how amazing he is. For the few folks that have seen this eagle in person, you know exactly what I mean.

( Photo: The Bald Eagle is finally outdoors after his harrowing ordeal. Notice he is looking at his feet. I cannot help but wonder what he is thinking.)

Physically, "Trapper" has not gained the weight I hoped he would. He weighs 7lbs. 11ozs.and is significantly underweight for a male northern Bald Eagle . The good news is that is still 2 lbs more than he weighed when admitted. His foot is still swollen and tender. He still suffers from physiologic stress, but is making progress. I will continue to update you on his progress.

If he makes it through the many hurdles left before he regains full health, we will have to have a huge celebration. We keep our fingers crossed for the day his release to the wild becomes reality.

( Photo: This Great-horned Owl that was caught in a leg hold trap that was apparently set for squirrels in Grand Rapids, WI late last week.)

The theme of leg hold trapped birds continued this week as a Great-horned Owl was admitted from the Grand Rapids area. The trapping injuries are usually accidental with the birds being a "non-target species" when it is trapped. Sadly, even with an accidental trapping, the result is still devastating for the birds and REGI's budget.

Our thanks to friend and fellow wildlife rehabilitator Nicki Christianson and Officer Roe of the Grand Rapids, WI Police Department for rescuing this owl and to Nicki for doing emergency care before the owl was transferred to REGI. The owl suffered substantial blood loss. He is beginning to eat his own however and we hope he will regain his strength soon. His foot has serious injuries, including a fractured toe and foot. We hope for a quick rehab on this bird as it is an adult male.

Winter is am important time in the life of a Great-horned Owl. It is now that they begin to cement their "pair bonding" in anticipation of nesting which occurs in January of February even in our region. We will update you on his progress. We will know better in a few days how quickly the foot will recover. Not only will the bones have to heal but he will need to regain full movement of the toes as well to be a successful hunter.

Raptors hunt and live by their powerful talons. Releasing a bird without his full griping power compromises their hunting ability. Often raptors with injures such as these, die of starvation in the wild. They are not able to hunt and therefore unable to feed themselves or their family if they are injured during nesting season.

( Photo: Great-horned Owl suffered a injury to his leg and talons when caught in a leg hold trap.)

Many thanks to my staff and volunteers that took charge at REGI last week while I enjoyed family time in the form of an early Thanksgiving with our family in the southern part of the U.S. Our great staff allows us to truly relax and enjoy the time away while knowing the patients and resident birds at home are getting the best of care.

Have a great day everyone.
Marge Gibson © 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Fun Filled Week of Education!

This week has been full of fun education! Earlier this week I made a run down to Baraboo for the state quarterly meeting for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative's education committee. The meeting was held at the beautiful Aldo Leopold Legacy Center. It was a great time to discuss progress made and set new goals for bird conservation education on a state level. I also had the opportunity after the meeting to take a quick stop at the famous Aldo Leopold Shack (pictured to the left) where he was inspired to write, what many people call the Bible of conservation, "A Sand County Almanac."

Yesterday morning Trees For Tomorrow stopped by with their interns to take a tour of REGI. Every year Trees For Tomorrow takes their interns to different educational facilities around the state for tours to show off the many different types of environmental education facilities that excises. It was great to have them stop by again this year full of questions and energy.

After the morning tour I had to get ready to head down to the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. I was asked by one of my old proffers Dr. Lackey to come and be the guest lecturer in her environmental education and interpretation class. Many of these wonderful future naturalist may end up working in a nature center or organization where they will be asked to present programs with live animals. I gave a lecture on "Animals as Partners in Education." As many of you reading this know our bird are truly our partners in education at REGI. I really believe it is important to remember this and pass this message along to others that animals used for educational purposes deserve a lot of respect and their comfort level should always be considered first. An educational animal is NOT a prop, they are your partner in education.

The lecture went very well and of course I had to bring one of my favorite partners in education our oldest Red-Tailed Hawk. She lit up the room with her charismatic character and powerful beauty.

It was a funny and exciting feeling being up in front on my old lecture room, actually giving the lecture to a new group of students in Dr. Lackey's class. After all it was only a few years ago that I had been sitting in that class myself.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey Vulture Update!

We thought you all might enjoy watching a news clip of the Turkey Vultures in their new homes at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. (Left: CJ and a Turkey Vulture at REGI before flying out to Oregon.)
(Below: The Turkey Vulture is ready for travel!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Winter Approaches Are We Prepared? Updates on Coot, Owl and Cardinal.

( Photo: Yes, that is me the Executive Director rolling paint over exposed areas of our new building project to protect the wood from the woes of winter.)

It is true that I am involved in every part of REGI. Today I got out the paint and while it was not a perfect job it will serve to cover the exposed boards from winter. Not my best photo to be sure, but around here we do what needs to be done especially when we are rushing to beat the snow and winters wrath. The construction will go on as long as the volunteers can continue.

We are prepared for the most part. All of the mews ( raptor enclosures are called mews) are covered with a thick layer of plastic to protect the birds from the vicious north wind. Last year we had a documented low of 71 degrees F BELOW ZERO wind chill factor. We are hoping for a warmer winter this year. ::)) We are PRAYING for a warmer winter this year. That might be a more accurate statement.

(Photos: Six mm. plastic covers the most open areas of the mews to protect the birds from the brutal Northern WI windchill factor.)

I realize as I look at the photos that they look a bit dark. They were taken about 4 p.m. and there is a light on in the clinic. It sure gets dark here early these days.

(Photo: The American Coot in a photo taken today.)

The American Coot that was rescued on a road in Medford is doing really well. It swims daily and has a great appetite. Those are both good things. We will make a decision within the next few weeks if we will get him a ride to a southern climate along with a few other birds that need to be in warmer climates by this time. The only other option is to winter him over and release him in the spring.

( Photo: The Great-horned Owl that came in a few weeks ago starving is making great progress.)

This Great-horned Owl in the photo above is a great story. She was admitted after she was shot. She was not found for several days or more after the incident. By the time she arrived she was suffering from starvation. The starvation was so advanced we were fairly certain she would not be able to survive. The young owl surprised us with her pluck and determination. She is now eating on her own and beginning to fly. She has months of rehabilitation ahead of her before release. She will likely be with us through the winter season. When a bird is starved, the flight muscles are atrophied. They are unable to fly. That is why our exercise flights are so important as they need to build their muscles up to a normal state.

Boy am I blushing! I made an error a week or so back. In the blog I identified a young Northern Cardinal as a female and in reality HE is a male. A sharp blog reader caught my mistake. I have no excuse except I often play with the color on photos when they are taken under florescent lights as that one was. Other than that I was just wrong. I am happy to report the both of our cardinals are doing well. The most recent bird from the Merrill area may well be released soon as he has recovered more rapidly than I thought he would.

Have a good tomorrow everyone,

Marge Gibson 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Patient UPDATES! Our Bald Eagle Cage Underway!

( Photo: Guess WHO? It is "Trapper John" the Bald Eagle admitted having been caught in a muskrat trap twelve days ago near Tomahawk.)

My goodness time has flown and gotten away on me. I have so many cases to update and things to tell. Let me get right to it!

So many people have written about "Trapper John". ( thanks Gracellyn for his "name".)
I am delighted to say that he is still with us. He continues to make slow progress. The key word here is progress.

He has been a stellar patient and has the hearts of so many. Today for the first time, he was dismayed with me and showed it when I caught him up to bring him inside. He spend most of the day out in a flight with another Bald Eagle in recovery. It was too cold tonight to leave him out.

He is still in fragile condition, but he is less convinced of that that I am. His appetite is not been great. That is an additional concern. He has some heart problems, I think from the exhaustion of the three day trip down the Wisconsin River while wearing a muskrat trap on his foot. We will see if that resolves when he is completely recovered from his other medical problems. I am soaking his affected foot in hot water in the evening to quell the inflammation of the soft tissue. Soaking the foot of a Bald Eagle in a hot water bath is not an easy task. I am thrilled his condition is improving each day.

I hate to get too optimistic, but so far so good. The best part is he seems at peace with his situation and is taking this captivity thing in stride. He is fascinated with us and what we are doing. He is an exceptional eagle, that seems to be keeping a mental log on humans. Some members of the Medford Bird Club were able to observe his enormous sense of self and calm during their tour on Saturday. It seems a contradiction at times that we are not able to share some of these cases in person with the public. Our federal permits do not allow the general public to come into contact with the birds that will be released, unless it is incidental to care. The birds themself teach so much better than any human ever could.

( Photo: Hanging out in the clinic.)

( Photo: Immature Bald Eagle from the Gilman, WI area)

We have sad news about the immature Bald Eagle that was at first thought to be suffering from electrical shock injury. It turns out she was shot. Not only once for twice. Sadly despite our best efforts she died of her injuries. Not only did she have the broken bones from being shot, but her body was riddled with lead fragments from the bullets. She was a heart tugging case. Cases that involve purposeful acts of aggression against innocent and protedcted wild birds are the hardest for staff to deal with. It is illegal of course. I always wonder what goes on in the mind of people that are cruel to animals. It is a question I am quite certain I will not answer to in this lifetime.

( Photo: Great-horned Owl from Stevens Point area suffered from rodent poisoning.)

We also lost the Great-horned Owl that came in from Portage County. A young owl, he was accidentally poisoning while eating rats and mice at a waste treatment plant.

I am always shocked by how many people actually believe the labels on some of these rodent poisons that proclaim not to harm other animals. Anytime you see the suffix "cide" after a word it means to kill. If another animal eats one that was poisoned they too will be poisoned in a sad cycle. Raptors are certainly not the "target species" in these cases. It is not done on purpose, but the result is the same.

Amid the sadness of lost patients, we have some good news.

( Photo: Our newest EAGLE Habitat is underway thanks to some terrific volunteers.)

We are beyond anxious to get our newest building project finished before the snow prevents construction. When Gary Witmann arrived a few weeks ago and volunteered to help with the project it was like a dream. I was pretty convinced I must have imagined the whole thing, when on Tuesday Gary along with two friends, Marvin Schmeiser and Steve Wagner arrived and set to work.

It is true to say if you want something done ask a busy person. This group of friends actually just completed volunteering their time to build a Habit for Humanity home in Antigo. We are so very grateful.

More soon.

Marge Gibson ©2009

Have A Heart for REGI - A Deer Heart that is!

Deer hunters save your deer hearts this hunting season and donate them to REGI! Deer heart is a wonderful source of low-fat protein for our birds. Don't let your deer heart go to waste out in the woods, when it can be a tasty and nutritional meal for an Eagle, Hawk, Owl, or Falcon.

We have set up local collection sites at meat markets to make it convenient for you to donate. Please just bring your heart in a plastic bag. The meat markets will only be collecting hearts during the gun season from November 21-29th.

Watch Channel 7's news clip!

Picture is of REGI's Golden Eagle. Taken by Lynn Block.

Donation Sites

Wausau Area:
Zillman's Meat Market
1910 6th St.
Wausau, WI

Wildbirds Unlimited Store
4121 Rib Mountain Dr.
Wausau, WI

Weston Area:
Country Fresh Meats
9902 Weston Avenue
Weston, WI

Antigo Area:
Ken's Hwy 45 Meat Market

Stevens Point Area:
People's Meat Market
Located near the intersection of Hwy 10 and County Rd. J

Rusty's Backwater Saloon
1715 River Dr.
Stevens Point, WI

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Bald Eagle Admitted Today, Young Turkey Vulture and Great-horned Owl Plus Life

( Photo: Another 3-4 year old Bald Eagle was found near Gillman today by some very kind people. They raced her to REGI for care. )

Our run on Bald Eagle admissions continues. Today we admitted a 3-4 yr old female Bald Eagle with a serious wing injury. She has an odd injury. It is possible she was nearly electrocuted but was not found near any electrical wires or connections. We are evaluating her wings She still has some significant bleeding going on at this time. She did eat when she arrived. We were pleased that she felt enough energy to do that. She is a beautiful bird. There are not really many UN BEAUTIFUL birds in my eyes.::))

( Photo: Immature Turkey Vulture seems to wonder what is going on and where all the other vultures have gone.)

We admitted another immature Turkey Vulture from the Ladysmith area. Turkey Vultures are not frequent breeding birds that far north. I am beginning to wonder if the youngster admitted last week and the one admitted yesterday might be siblings. They were found not too far from each other and both are very young birds.

You have to admit there is something very fetching about the sweet face of a Turkey Vulture baby.:) He was so thin when he came in I was worried he might not survive, but 24 hours later he seems to be doing quite well. He was pretty happy to see other young vultures here when he arrived. I am sure he felt like he was totally abandoned when the adults migrated a few weeks ago without him.

( Photo: This young Great-horned Owl was seen hunting in the Portage County Waste Disposal area. Unfortunately rodent poisonings were used and may have poisoned the owl when he ate some mice that has first eaten the poison.)

Tis the season also for young Great-horned Owls to get into trouble and find their way to REGIs doors. This youngster was found where rodent poisonings had been used. People often do not realize that when a raptor eats a rat or mouse that has ingested rat poison, the raptor becomes poisoned as well. We treated this owl with vitamin K in hopes to stop internal bleeding which often occurs with some varieties of rat poison. At this point is hard to know what kind was used.

He sure isn't feeling well tonight. many thanks to Wildlife Rehabilitator Laura Kildow from Stevens Point for catching this guy up and driving him to a pick up point so we could care for him quickly.

The Great-horned Owl admitted a week ago is doing splendidly. She went into a small enclosure today "out" of critical care. I will try for a photo of her tomorrow. She has the tallest ear tufts around!

We will have our last tour of the year on Saturday. Since we had snow the last two mornings in a row I think it is not a moment too soon.

More tomorrow.Good night for now.
Marge Gibson © 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adult Bald Eagle Rescued from Leg Hold Trap, Great... Bald Eagle Leg Hold Trap Injury, Bald Eagle Rescue, Great-horned Owl

First posted October 26, 2006 ( We had a glitch with our program sorry.)

( Photo: Wet and nearly lifeless this adult male Bald Eagle was rescued by some caring individuals from a leg hold trap in the Wisconsin River. He hardly resembles the proud symbol of America in this condition.)

Our day started out fairly uneventful that is until this evening. We received a call from Andy Goretski saying he and a friend found an adult Bald Eagle in a leg hold trap on the Wisconsin River. They were able to get the trap off the eagles leg. The eagle was past the point of fighting for his life. They laid him on the shore and called REGI.

Don and I jumped in the truck and headed towards a half way point where we met up with the heroes of this story, the people that rescued the eagle from the Wisconsin River.

( Photo: The Bald Eagle was in very critical condition. He was so hypothermic I wrapped him in heated blankets and put warmed pads under his wings and chest for the remained of the trip to Antigo and REGI.)

Once back at REGI we used a blow dryer to dry the eagles feathers. We tube fed him warmed emaciation diet to begin warming him from the inside. He stood briefly when we put him into the critical care box, but sadly the foot that was in the trap remained balled up and is discolored. We are hoping the circulation returns to the foot and leg soon, but it is a very serious situation. We have no idea how long the poor eagle was trapped at the site. Trappers are suppose to check their traps every 24 hours, but the trap involved in this incident was an illegal trap and therefore may not have been checked for days or longer.

( Photo: Warming pads and warmed blankets started the process of returning the body temperature of the Bald Eagle while we were still in transit to REGI.)

( Photo: The Bald Eagle struggled so long and hard to break free from the leg hold trap that he injured both wings in the process. We will not know how seriously until we can examine him when he is in more stable condition.)

( Photo: The left foot of the Bald Eagle suffered lack of circulation from the leg hold trap. )

( Photo: Safe at last but this handsome Bald Eagle has a long way to go to recovery. )

We do have a bit of good news today. The Great-horned Owl that came in last night shot in the right wing is improving. She is still being tube fed and will be for at least another week, but her spirit is returning and her eyes are open. That is a good thing.

( Photo: The Great-horned Owl that came in last night has her eyes open and is aware of her surroundings.)

It will be a long night so I will sign off and hope for good news in the morning. We are so grateful to the wonderful folks that rescued the Bald Eagle tonight and the Great-horned Owl last night. I always say that we can help injured wildlife but it is often the public that find them and rescue them. You are our heroes. Thank you so much.

( Update 6:00 A.M. Monday 10-26-09 The eagle made it through the night. Tubed him 50ccs of ematiation diet at 5:30 AM which he kept down. Of concern the left wing was "under" him as he lay when I checked on him. Not using the left foot at all yet. Starvation is also an issue. He was so wet last night we were not able to weigh him. He is more comfortable and resting. I am off to bed.)

Marge Gibson © 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Flying Wild at Conferences!

In the education field October is the month for state conferences! In mid-October I traveled up to Ashland, WI to attend the Upper Midwest Green Schools Conference at Northland College and a week later I traveled over to Eau Claire for the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education (WAEE) Conference. These conferences provide a wonderful opportunity to network and promote REGI's educational programs to new schools. After a conference I always feel so re-energized! My head is spinning with great new ideas of how to improve REGI's education department and how to strengthen REGI as an organization.

It also allows REGI the opportunity to be part of bird education on a state wide level. At WAEE I presented with Susan Schuller from Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. We gave a fun hands-on workshop on Flying Wild An Educator's Guide to Celebrating Birds. Flying Wild is new national activity guide for teachers to introduce middle school students to bird conservation through classroom activities. It supports educators by providing interdisciplinary, standards based curriculum to get kids excited about the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Our session filled up with 12 people in attendance to be trained on Flying Wild activities!

Flying Wild is sponsored in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) Education Committee. Susan and I are both members of WBCI's Education Committee and are excited to get these wonderful activity guides into hands of teachers and educators across the state. As you can see these educators were having a lot of fun trying out some of Flying Wild's activities!

(To the left Alvin is acting out a bird mating dance. With those lovely orange air sacks on his neck do you know what bird he is? A Prairie Chicken of course!)

Part of REGI's mission is to educate the public on bird issues. I wish REGI could visit every classroom in the state! Since that isn't really possible it is important for us to partner with other bird organizations to help promote bird education state wide. Partnerships truly make REGI stronger and help us achieve our broader educational goals.

I met so many wonderful teachers and environmental educators at both conferences this month! It it nice to know that their is an entire network of teachers and educators out there to help you out with a new idea or problem. And a special thanks to Susan Schuller for letting me be her co-presenter for Flying Wild.

Nicole Swanson
Director of Education

Left: Four more educators are trying their hand at drumming like a grouse!