Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sandhill Crane Colt Improving, American Kestrel Chicks, Hairy Woodpecker and Rose-breasted Grosbeak Admitted

The Sandhill Crane colt admitted two day ago is doing great. It turns out its right leg was fractured. We put a very lightweight cast on the leg. In this way the young crane can heal and continue to exercise which is vital for crane colts.

( Photo: The Sandhill Crane colt adjusted better than we anticipated. The youngster seems not to even notice the odd thing on his leg. That is great news for everyone. )

( Photo: Sandhill Crane colt has a cast put on for a leg fracture. The unflappable colt was calm and relaxed throughout the procedure, much to our delight.)

( Photo: Lance Holm tube feeds the crane colt after the procedure while Intern Karrisa M. looks on. )

( Photo: Intern Jen R. exercises the Sandhill Crane colt in the 110' flight building hall. Crane colts grow very rapidly. If the youngster were not exercised often, its leg muscles would not grow properly. Within a very short time the young bird would not be able to stand or walk...ever. The colt is hard to see but it is on Jen's left.)

The prognosis for the Sandhill Crane colt is excellent. We hope to reunite it with its parents if that options seems the best in a few weeks. Meanwhile, he will be walked even with the cast about 2 miles per day at a minimum. Crane chicks make us a very fit crew! :)

( Photo: Intern Robert P. and I drove to Merrill to rescue four tiny American Kestrels . Their home was destroyed when a tree was cut down. )

Late yesterday we took a call from a landowner. She found four tiny American Kestrels on the ground after a dead tree was chopped down. Spring is not a great time to trim trees or limbs, since many animals rely on them for their homes.

American Kestrels are the smallest member of the falcon family. The little ones have internal injures now so are fed a pre-digested diet, but soon will be downing several mice each daily. The landowners will notice many more mice on their property this summer without the family of falcons, that is for sure.

( Photo: American Kestrel chicks are beautiful, covered with soft white down.)

( Photo: This young Hairy Woodpecker was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a dog found him. He sustained some serious injuries but gratefully was found and is recovering.)

( Photo: A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was admitted this afternoon. He was likely hit by a car. Intern Jen R. looks on. His prognosis is good.)

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We will be releasing a rehabilitated adult Bald Eagle in celebration of our troops and with the LeRoyer Hospice Program. The eagle release will be at the REGI compound after the memorial celebration at the LeRoyer Memory Walkway behind Antigo Memorial Hospital. We hope many of you can come and see our magnificent Bald Eagle go back to the wild and help us honor our loved ones and those that have given their lives for our country. We expect the release will be @2:30 p.m.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Interns are HERE!, Two Sandhill Cranes, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed hawk and Hairy Woodpecker Admitted

Our interns are here! What a terrific group we have. This year we have four students. All happen to be from University of WI Stevens Point. You will meet them often in photos during the summer.

( Photo: Intern Katie R. holds a three-week-old Sandhill Crane colt after he was admitted this evening with an injury to his right leg. Tomorrow we will have a better idea of the extent of his injury. He certainly is a little charmer. We hope he has a full recovery.)

It has been quite a busy night with two admissions about 9 p.m.. A Red-shouldered Hawk, a threatened species in the State of WI was transported by Menominee Tribal Warden. The male one-year-old Red-shouldered Hawk was likely hit by a car and has an injury to the spine. A stronghold of this rare species exists on the Menominee Indian Reservation. The habitat is perfect for Red-shouldered Hawks due to the tribe's excellent forest conservation methods. We are proud to work closely with Menominee Tribal Conservation Department supporting their efforts with this threatened species and many others.

( Photo: Orphaned Barred Owl chicks are introduced to their foster parent, Malcolm, our stellar education bird/foster parent today. One chick remains in the "basket" while the other moves about the enclosure checking it out under the watchful eye of Malcolm. From this point on they will be with Malcolm and not associate with humans. In that way they will grow up to be normal, well-adjusted owls, not imprinted to humans.)

( Photo: This young Barred Owl has big expectations for itself as it stands on a gopher hoping to eat the "whole thing". Foster parent, Malcolm, will be very helpful in showing him how to do just that.)

You just never know how your day is going to turn out when you are at REGI. Super volunteer Dave Koch is living proof of that. Dave was helping repair the many woes of our aging buildings the other day when we got a call about a Red-tailed hawk on the ground. Dave jumped in the van with me and we were off to rescue a beautiful adult male. Thanks Dave!

( Photo: Dave Koch holds a Red-tailed Hawk he helped rescue.)

The Red tailed Hawk had been hit by a car a week earlier but was able to avoid capture. He is suffering internal injuries and starvation.

Our passerine babies have grown and many are out in the aviaries learning how to be normal wild birds. It is amazing to us how fast the process goes. Some passerines ( songbirds) can go from egg to fledgling in 8-10 days!) About 10 days ago I posted photos of some very tiny American Robins. See their progress below.

( Photos: Remember the photo above just ten days ago? This is the little American Robin now. He is growing well as are all of our American Robin patients. Now they finally look like robins rather than an embryo. )

Our Savior Lutheran School came by for a field trip today to the REGI compound. They were a terrific group of youngsters and teachers.

( Photo: Children from Our Savior Lutheran School see how they measure up to the wingspan of and Bald Eagle and other raptors on our wingspan wall. )

( Photo: Intern Jen R. demonstrates the foot of a hawk for students during a field trip to REGI by the Our Savior Lutheran School of Wausau.)

We celebrated Intern Karissa's birthday today. Happy Birthday Karissa! It is going to be a great summer!

( Photo: REGI crew is always happy around pizza and birthday cake! )

Our days begin at daybreak now. Feeding the baby birds goes from daylight through about mid-night and then starts all over again.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone. Please remember and honor those that have served in Military Service past, present and future.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where Do I BEGIN? Lots of New Patients, Pileated Woodpecker, 15 More Wood Ducklings, Barred Owl Babes, Red-tailed Hawks, Pine Siskin Update

( Photo: Barred Owl Owlets lost their home when a tree was felled. The landowner was not aware the tree was a home for the owl family.)

It has been a very busy time at REGI. It didn't help that I was called away to two funerals, one out of state during the past five days. This time of the year, if you take the luxury of sleeping an extra hour one day, you find yourself still behind in August. Let me try to catch you up.

( Photo: This male Pileated Woodpecker was hit by a car near Wisconsin Rapids. He has a broken left leg, internal injuries and a bad headache.)

Nicki Christianson is a wildlife rehabilitator from Wisconsin Rapids, WI. I have talked about Nicki before in this blog. You can bet you will see her name many more times. Nicki works with mammals however, has been gracious to help us with our avian patients more times over the years than I can recall. The Pileated Woodpecker in the photo above was rescued by Nicki.

( Photo: The male Pileated Woodpecker is resting comfortably but is still in critical condition. he is eating well and that is a terrific improvement.Sadly this Pileated Woodpecker has young in the nest. We hope his mate can manage to care for them on her own. )

Last night a gentleman from Mosinee called. It was nearly 10 P.M.when the call came in. He found a nestling baby American Robin on the sidewalk. One of a downed nest was still alive. He took it home not knowing what to do, but knowing that he could not leave it on that sidewalk without any help. After talking with me, he drove the little one to me at REGI arriving a little after 11 P.M.
It is thriving and joined a nest of four other American Robin nestlings just his age. Some people are just nice.

( Photo: American Robin nestling was found on a sidewalk by a caring individual and brought to REGI late at night. This is the only photo I have but it is the important part of him, his wide open mouth.)

( Photo: Nestling American Robins are eager eaters. They open their mouth so wide you there is no mistaking what their intent is. )

Our baby nursery is brimming with mouths gaping open to be fed constantly. It is comic relief to see the many different species and how varied the behavior is. American Robins open their mouths so wide you can almost do a class on their anatomy. Check out the photo above.

( Photo: Nestling Eastern Bluebirds tend to be quiet and shy, but are showing their soon to be gorgeous blue feathers even at this age.)

( Photo: Remember the Pine Siskin nestling that arrived in late March? He will be released soon. In this photo he is in an outdoor aviary set up as a woodland complete with a variety of insects. Here he has a fat worm in his mouth.

( Photo: Our American Woodcock chicks are grown. They are preparing for release to the wild in the woodland aviary as well. This is a close up photo of the oldest chick and one of the younger ones probing the earth for worms.)

( Photo: Fifteen more Wood Duck ducklings were added to our group. The ducklings are divided into a few different brooders to keep them safe and healthy.)

( Photo: Two very tiny House Finches were admitted today. They are doing well and will eat every twenty minutes for the nest several days.)

Speaking of those little ones I must sign off and get back to them. More catching up tomorrow! Interns arrive! YEA!!!!
Have a great tomorrow.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wood Duck Ducklings Join Our Growing Group of Babies

( Photo: These day-old baby Wood Ducks thrive on Duck Weed collected from a nearby lake. They make a real mess but are happy and healthy. )

Wildlife rehabilitators cringe when a call regarding orphaned ducklings ends up being Wood Duck or Merganser ducklings. Both of these species are really tough to raise. They are high strung to begin with and have special needs. They eat only insects their first month of life. No duck food for these tykes. Duck weed, which is a natural food for ducklings, is collected from nearby lakes and is key to raising youngWood Duck and Mergansers. Tiny invertebrates hide in the weed and make an excellent first food for the little ones.

( Photo: It is hard to believe the tiny duckling in my hand will be a handsome Wood Duck someday.)

Lots of new admits keep coming in. We are a bit overwhelmed at the moment but will keep updating as we can.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

American Kestrel with a Wing Fracture Admitted, Lots of Patient Updates, UWSP Continuing Education LIFE Tour,

It has been another busy day. I have a feeling that will be our daily mantra until fall.

( Photo: This adult male American Kestrel was admitted from Mead Wildlife Area with a wing fracture.)

We admitted a beautiful American Kestrel with a wing fracture. He was also very low in weight. That usually means he broke his wing at least a few days before he was rescued. He'd been without food for that period of time. Wildlife lives on a narrow margin. Everything has to be perfect for them to survive. The good news is that since he was admitted, he has gained 20 grams. We expect he will make a full recovery and be able to get back home and back to the business of having a family.

( Photo: Our passerine ( songbird) incubators now contain 22 babies. Gratefully, all continue to thrive and grow including the tiny robins from a few days ago.)

( Photo: Some of our newest patients sharing a common nursery bowl in the incubator. they are House Finches and American Robins.)

Passerine nestlings continue to come in. I wish they had all been discovered in an accident or storm which took their nest down. I say I wish, because sadly this week we have had many come into rehab by landowners or renters who found the nest annoying and just HAD to take it down. It was only later they found themselves with nests of needy baby birds. All of these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is against federal law to tamper with or destroy a nest, eggs or young of native wild birds. Many people seem unaware all indigenous birds, with the exception of House Sparrows and European Starlings (both are from Europe), are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This might be a good topic for a blog someday when I have time.

( Photo: Alberta examines the Broad-winged Hawk admitted two weeks ago with a wing fracture.)

The Broad-winged Hawk admitted two weeks ago has healed beautifully. Birds' bones are hollow and therefore heal more quickly than those of mammals. Today his wrap came off, and he was put into a small flight to begin his physical therapy looking toward release. Patients are first put in small flights and then in a few days he will go to a larger flight where he will be able to fully regain his muscle strength. Broad-winged Hawks are all business and have zero sense of humor. You can see from his expression he wishes he was anywhere but in rehab.

( Photo: The Broad-winged Hawk as Alberta released him to the recovery flight.)

( Photo: The UWSP LIFE Group ( Learning is Forever) toured REGI with plenty of umbrellas and enthusiasm during a heavy rainstorm. Notice our smiling albeit wet staff and birds (rt.) were excited with this terrific group as well. )

We had a wonderful tour the other day with the LIFE group from Stevens Point. The group is a UWSP Continuing Education Program, UWSP LIFE (Learning Is ForEver).
The day was less than perfect for a tour, but the hardy souls decided to brave the rain to see the birds and REGI. What troupers! The weather was nothing a bevy of bumbershoots couldn't fix. Thanks, everyone, for your patience and enthusiasm even on a wet day.

( Photo: Education Director Steve Fisher, with our Golden Eagle, braves the rain. )

Off to feed nestling passerine babies again. It is a full-time-job-plus. We are in serious need of volunteers to help with repairs on the facility and SO many other things. Please call if you have some time to offer. 715-623-4015 (clinic)

Have a wonderful tomorrow everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Passerines Pour In, House Finches, American Robins, Ducklings and Gosling, Sandhill Crane With Leg Injury and Lead Poisoning.

( Photo: This is the first sight I see in the morning and the last thing at night, and a few times in the middle of the night! These mouths belong to the nestling House Finches pictured below. Nestling passerines have to be fed every 20 minutes their first week of life.)

Whew! We have been BUSY at REGI. We admitted 18 baby birds of various species and varieties including Eastern Phoebes, American Robins and House Finches, Mallard ducklings and Canada Gosling, and a Bluebird just in the past few days. We also admitted an adult Sandhill Crane ,American Kestrel,and a Red-tailed Hawk.

The phone is ringing often these days with calls about injured birds, baby birds in trouble and sometimes just bird related questions. We like the questions especially if it means we can keep baby birds with their parents to be raised naturally and without human intervention.

( Photo: House Finch nestlings are adorable with bright red mouths and soft melodic voices even when they are tiny. The little ones can easily be mistaken for the House Sparrow which is an invasive species and not well liked in most birding circles.)

(Photo: Four hatchling American Robins snuggle in this tissue. )

( Photo: An American Robin nestling just hatched. You can see the tendency to curl into the shape of the egg is still natural for this tiny one. It is hard to believe this tiny mite will be turn into the State Bird of Wisconsin in a few months. )

( Photo: These four little Mallard Ducks became orphans when their mom was hit by a car near Wausau.)

( Photo: The frightened ducklings ( above) were soon asleep under the heat lamp after their stressful morning.)

Most of the birds we care for come from members the of the public that either see an accident or other injury occur and call REGI for help. A young woman was on her way to work when she saw a female Mallard Duck hit by a car. She was horrified to see several tiny ducklings scatter into the underbrush. The ducklings had been following their mother across the busy road. This stellar young woman did what any daughter would, she called her dad for help! Her parents soon arrived on the scene, scooped up the ducklings and brought them to REGI.

( Photo: Alberta holds a Canada Goose gosling. It was found wandering alone near a lake in Shawano County. )

( Photo: More House Finch babies arrived today from Lincoln County. These are younger than the group admitted this weekend. )

Friday night we responded to a call near Hatley, WI. A Sandhill Crane, unable to walk well was caught up by a landowner and needed help transporting her. We found Kathy and Jay Drobnik waiting with the crane as we arrived. Not only did the crane have a leg/hip injury but was thin and exhibited other neurological signs. We tested her and found she had lead poisoning. We don't find lead poisoning in Sandhill Cranes often. When we asked, the Drobniks mentioned the lake was very low. I will explain why that is a problem and why it can lead to lead poisoning in a future blog.

( Photo: This adult female Sandhill Crane was likely hit by a car and sustained a hip injury. We were surprised to find she also has lead poisoning.)

Forgive the haste of this writing. Baby birds are calling and need to be fed. More photos and updates soon.

As always, our thanks to the great folks that have played a part in saving these fragile creatures. Have a great tomorrow everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Education Team Presents Raptor Programs for Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival, Copper Harbor,MI

( Photo: Steve and Evie Fisher discuss the differences between tufted and non-tufted owls with our Barred Owl and Screech Owl.) ( Photos: Meg North)

Recently The REGI Education Team had the opportunity to travel to Copper Harbor, located at the tip of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, to present two raptor programs in connection with the Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival. My wife Evie and I arrived at the Brockway Inn in Copper Harbor on Thursday evening, May 8, where we were greeted by Karen Karl, who owns the motel and is one of the festival organizers. We got settled in and checked on our REGI education birds along for the trip: a Red-tailed Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, and Peregrine Falcon. Later, we stopped at the Visitor Center to check on the set-up for our Saturday festival presentation, and we met Hannah Rooks, another festival organizer, who was very friendly and helpful (as were all the people we met there) during our whole Copper Harbor stay. We headed back to the motel and we and the birds got some rest in preparation for upcoming programs, as the cool winds whipped up waves on nearby Lake Superior.

( Photo: Director of Education Steve Fisher with our Great-horned Owl during a program at Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk, MI)

Friday morning, May 9, we packed the REGI van and drove a short way back down the peninsula to Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk, Michigan, where we met science teacher Meg North before I presented the first of our programs to an attentive group of about fifty students. They asked many good questions and were able to see our education birds up close, and we enjoyed interacting with this great group. Also present for the program was Buck Lavasseur, host of Upper Michigan's long-running outdoor television program "Discovering." Buck filmed portions of our program, and I did an interview following the presentation, which he included in his May 10 broadcast.
Discovering Program

Later Evie and I further explored the Keweenaw region, including a stop up at Brockway Mountain, located above Copper Harbor, where the Migratory Bird Survey has been taking place. In the spring, when the winds blow from the south, many raptors head up the peninsula, often passing by the overlook at close to eye level. Friday evening we attended a presentation by Vic Berardi, a board member of the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA), who talked about and showed some wonderful photographs of migrating raptors, focusing on the peninsula.

( Photo: Steve Fisher with a Red-tailed Hawk and Evie Fisher demonstrates the vision of a a hawk.)

On Saturday, May 10, with the brisk winds still whipping the waves along Lake Superior, we spent some more time exploring the beautiful Copper Harbor area; then it was time for our bird festival program, located in the town hall, connected to the visitor center. The program was well-attended, with a wonderful group who also asked many great questions and had lots of close-up looks at our raptors. The birds were comfortable and at their best, acting as both our educational partners and as effective ambassadors for their species and the issues surrounding them.

We packed up and headed back to REGI later Saturday, driving through the remnants of the May snowstorm that had hit parts of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. We realized that we ironically missed the storm by being too far north! We had great time up at the tip of Keweenaw Peninsula, and we thank everyone who made our stay there memorable and enjoyable.

Steve Fisher
REGI Education Director

( Photo: Evie Fisher shows the audience how the hearing of an owl works with this display skull.)

Copper Harbor Bird Festival

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bald Eagle Admitted from Merrill, More Lead Poisoning, Busy Education Weekend, Updates on Patients

It was a romp-in stomp-in weekend at REGI. We've had several new admissions. On Saturday REGI birds and educators were at three programs at one time. Our birds certainly earn their mice! :) Director of Education, Steve Fisher will do a separate blog on his weekend of programs at Copper Harbor, MI.

( Photo: This 4-5 year old Bald Eagle was admitted from Merrill. She was likely shot in the right chest. She also has lead poisoning. Notice the color of her eyes has a dark look, rather than the bright yellow of a full adult Bald Eagle. She also has a few brown feathers on her head that are leftover plumage of an immature bird. When Bald Eagles are young they are dark brown all over including their beak and eyes. That color changes slowly over the first 5-6 years or more in some cases.)

It is always sad to admit a Bald Eagle suffering from lead poisoning. They are so sick, disoriented and many times convulsing. The beautiful nearly mature Bald Eagle admitted from Merrill is such a bird. She was noticed a few days before by some alert landowners. They observed the eagle, carefully watching to make sure she was not just resting in their field. When the eagle moved only slightly and appeared unable to fly, the folks called State of WI DNR Warden Rick Peters. Rick is an old hand at eagle capture. Over the years several of our patients have lived thanks to his quick response to a scene. Rick was able to capture this Bald Eagle with little effort.

( Photo: Back at the REGI clinic we drew blood and tested the Bald Eagle for lead poisoning, as well as several other tests for anemia and total protein. In this photo Don holds the eagle as we wait for test results.)

The eagle exhibited many symptoms of lead poisoning including seizures and vomiting. Lead poisoning is ugly and is 100% human caused. Birds cannot recover from lead poisoning without human intervention and chelation with CA EDTA. Don and I worked on this magnificent eagle late into the night doing bloodwork and started chelation injections to try to save her life.

The eagle is improving but has a long way to go before she is released to the wild once again.

( Photo: Getting an x-ray of the new admit Bald Eagle from Merrill at the Antigo Veterinary Clinic in Antigo.)

( Photo: Broad-winged Hawk admitted last week with a wing fracture is doing well and eating on his own. We expect a full recovery.)

( Photo: The American Woodcocks admitted during the past two weeks are doing beautfully and growing quickly.)

Saturday we had a joint fundraiser between REGI and Crimestoppers. If you have never seen or heard the Dorf Kapelle band you are missing an amazing experience. We laughed and sang so much my voice was raspy the rest of the weekend. Thanks to everyone that helped out. We appreciate your support.

( Photo: Dorf Kapelle Bandleader, Ernie Broeniman, entertains the crowd up close and personal.)

( The Dorf Kapelle Band Fundraiser was terrific fun! In this photo John Jacobs, organizer of the event, gets rowdy with this friends. That is John in the blue shirt, middle of the photo, holding the table shoulder high. )

Have a great day everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010