Friday, May 7, 2010

American Woodcock Family Tragic Beginning, Dorf Kapelle Fundraiser Saturday

( Photo: "Hello world!", this tiny American Woodcock had a traumatic first morning of life.)

This has been a Woodcock kind of day here at REGI. We've spent an inordinate amount of time digging, stunning and feeding earthworms to our growing brood of American Woodcock chicks. Who said wildlife rehabilitation wasn't fun and exciting!

( Photo: Hatchling American Woodcocks are tiny fluff balls. In this photo the four newly admitted chicks, fit easily in one hand.)

On Wednesday Ben Antoniewicz and his friend Luke, were out turkey hunting near Wausau. They saw something so rare few, even those of us that live in the northwoods of WI, have the opportunity to witness. A female American Woodcock was crossing a road with her newly hatched brood following close behind. Ben and Luke were amazed to see this shy bird, especially with a young family. They stopped to watch. The sight seemed more like a National Geographic movie than an actual occurrence. The scene took a tragic turn however, as a passing semi-truck hit and killed the mother bird. The chicks scattered. The hunters knew the little ones had no chance of survival alone at this tender age. So, our everyday heroes gathered the chicks up and called REGI to tell us they were on their way.

( Photo: This clever cooler shaped like a fishing bobber contained the rescued woodcock chicks.)

The trip to REGI took about 45 minutes. That gave us time to prepare a brooder and materials to stabilize the chicks on arrival. When wildlife chicks of any species are stressed, they die very quickly. The "flight or fright" reaction that gives wild creatures fast reactions, works against more vulnerable individuals. Our job is to prevent that

( Photo: Four tiny American Woodcock chicks were inside the unique travel container. The open wings position on the chicks is a stress reaction. )

The best way to prevent stress is to make the chicks secure. The best news is we admitted an American Woodcock chick just ten days before. he has done very well. Blog readers will be amazed to hear that he has most of his feathers now and is flying. To say woodcock chicks grow fast is an understatement. They eat SO much it is hard to describe. If there is anyone out there that wants to dig earthworms ( that is their diet) PLEASE do and bring them. We are going through 20 dozen large sized earthworms a day now and the chicks are still tiny.

( Photo: Blog readers will remember this little American Woodcock admitted just 10 days ago. This photo was taken when he was admitted.)

( Photo: This is the American Woodcock chick admitted just 10 days ago. He can fly now. This photo is taken yesterday with his wing extended. They grow FAST!)

The really excellent news in this story is our older chick has played a major role in helping the new babies adapt and recover from their trauma. In the photo below, you can see the older chick with the four new chicks surrounding him. He even kills worms for the little ones! The blended "family" has been a miracle to watch unfold and definitely one of those moments we at REGI treasure.


( Photo: Taken from above, you can see the older chick, now looking mostly grown, surrounded by 4 little puff balls. They are all well camouflaged so look carefully.)

The woodcocks story hasn't ended yet, but it is looking like a great ending to a day that started pretty awful for the chicks.

Don't forget we have a fundraiser this weekend. We sure could use your support. It is the Antigo Spring Fest . A renown polka band Dorf Kapelle, is playing 2 performances at the North Star Lanes in Antigo. The afternoon performance is at 1:30 pm and the evening starts at 7:00 pm. You can purchase tickets at the door. Afternoon is $12.00 and evening is $15.00. A German buffet is also available. There will be a raffle and silent auction with some terrific items including a Packer football. Please bring you mom, have a great time and help REGI too. Call 627-0120for more information .

Hope to see you there!

Marge Gibson © 2010

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