Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Story from REGI

(Photo: "MOM" turkey in back with the now nearly grown young she raised. Photo11-24-10)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. We are grateful for so much in our lives. We hope you have a wonderful peaceful day spent with friends and family. Enjoy the story from the Wausau Daily Herald about our "MOM" turkey.

Marge Gibson 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Loon Patients Have Been Released! Now Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico

( Photo: Katie Farvour prepares #1 for his trip to Florida. )

Common Loons are difficult patients. The species is challenging in terms of their high stress nature as well as a fungal disease, aspergillosis that affects loons undergoing physiological stress.

We are elated to tell you that both Common Loon patients REGI staff cared for so diligently since October 10 and 12 respectively, were released in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, Florida on November 18, 2010.

(Photo: Katie loads a soon to be former patient into her travel box for a quick trip to Florida and freedom.)

We are indebted once again to the generous corporation located in Central WI for transporting the loons to Florida. The company prefers to remain anonymous, however that does not lessen the magnitude of their gift to REGI and our loon patients.

The following photos will allow you to participate in the trip.

( Photo: One Common Loon in a box. The next time the top is opened she will be in Florida taking her first leap into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico!)

( Photo: Katie and the loons are ready to leave the clinic at 5 a.m. on 11-18-10, bound for the airport.)

( Photo: Katie loading the Loons in the van for the airport trip.)

( Photo: Katie secures the loons inside the corporate jet for their 2.5 hr "accelerated migration" from Central WI to Florida.)

( Photo: Arriving near Tampa, Florida. In an hour they would be wild again.)

( Photo: That bright sunshine tells the loons they are not in Wisconsin anymore!)

( Photo: George Blumenschein had the honor of showing the birds the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in their young lives. We can't help but wonder what was going through the mind of this loon when the photo was taken. )

( Photo: Loon #2 wasted no time before running across the warm waters and taking a short flight.)

All well that ends well they say. The loons both were in serious trouble when they were admitted to REGI.
Loon #1 had his beak wrapped in fishing line, a lead sinker hanging from it. X-rays revealed he had swallowed a fishing hook. The hook was in a precarious position. His chances of recovering were slim, but my staff and I don't give up on birds as long as they demonstrate a willingness to survive. That is how it was with this So it was handsome young loon.
Loon #2 was starving and the victim of lead poisoning. She was more reserved while in captivity. Lead poisoning causes neurological problems as well as multi organ failure. She was critically ill when admitted, but was the first to launch into the air when released.

Both loons swam, dove, preened, and began fishing immediately after release. That is exactly the kind of news we waited to hear!

( Photo: Loon #1 when admitted.)

(Photos: X-rays revealed a disturbing and challenging problem.)

( Photo: Loon #2 shortly after being admitted. She was starving and toxic. )

We are delighted these beautiful Common Loons have a second chance at life. A huge thank you to REGI staff, Katie Farvour, Alberta Halfmann, Lance Holm, Molly McKay and Karissa Mohr for the spectacular care, R.J. Hilger and Sons Inc. for supplying the loons with lots and lots and lots of minnows during their stay, Dr Sarah Lautzenhiser and the Antigo Veterinary Clinic staff for their supurb help, George and Rosalie Blumenschein for meeting the aircraft and taking the loons to the water for release, the citizens that found the sick loons and reported their situation to REGI staff, and the Central WI company that has been our hero so many times flying or patients to release in warm climates. Loons are the most difficult and expensive patients we care for.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are grateful the loons are swimming in warm waters. We hope their stay with us at REGI is soon a distant memory. The next time they migrate they will use their own wings!

In honor of these magnificent loons, perhaps everyone can make an extra effort to pick up discarded fishing line around lakes or stream and chose to use non-lead fishing tackle and sinkers. You may be one person but you can make a difference for wildlife.

Have a great day everyone.
Marge Gibson © 2010

Have-A-Heart collection update. A busy week for REGI!

Our Have-A-Heart campaign is proving to be successful! And we now have 2 more locations to drop off deer hearts!

Northwoods Veterinary Center, LTD

(9920 State Hwy 22 E, Gillett)


Gary's Quality Foods

(N5977 US Highwa
y 41, Wallace, MI)

have offered to be collection sites for us!

Thank you all for your support. Every deer heart collected provides an additional meal for our beautiful birds.

Here is the current list of donation sites for deer hearts:


Ken’s Hwy 45 Meat Market (N2220 US Highway 45, Antigo)

Land O’ Lakes

The Tackle Box (4267 County Rd. B, Land O’Lakes)


YMCA - Ministry Rehabilitation Services (2003 Winnebago St E.)


Zillman’s Meat Market (1910 6th Street, Wausau)

Wild Birds Unlimited (4121 Rib Mountain Dr, Wausau)

Country Fresh Meats (9902 Weston Ave, Weston)

Stevens Point

People’s Meat Market (6811 Burr Oak Rd, Stevens Point)

Renee’s Red Rooster (2339 County Road PS, Stevens Point)

Rusty’s Backwater Saloon (1715 W River Dr W, Stevens Point)


Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee)

Wallace, Michigan

Gary's Quality Foods (N5977 US Highway 41, Wallace, MI)


Northwoods Veterinary Center, LTD (9920 State Hwy 22 E, Gillett)

It has been a busy week at REGI, as usual. We have been doing some

seasonal cleaning. (It has suddenly become winter again!) Along with getting ready for the next newsletter.

(Karissa Mohr (Wildlife Educator and our newest addition to the REGI staff) in the midst of a deep clean.)

We have had some visits from reporters lately.

We were featured on WSAW Wausau, Channel 7 for our deer hearts program!

View the clip here: Have-A-Heart for REGI

Today we had a visit from Rhinelander's Channel 12 News! Look for us featured tonight about our use of Goodsearch and Goodshop for online browsing and shopping and again this weekend for a special feature on lead poisoning in eagles.

We will share those links when we get them.

Have a safe and happy holiday this week, and hunters, don't forget to have a heart!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Raptor Visit to Wittenberg Elementary School

The REGI Education team was invited to the Wittenberg Elementary School yesterday evening to present two programs to the K-5 students and their families. Wittenberg is just down the road from us on Hwy 45.
The students and families were excited and asked excellent questions! The birds really responded to their interest and respect, and comfortably gazed at their inquisitive faces.

(Photo: Steve Fisher, REGI's Education Director, gives our introduction while the students and their families anxiously await the appearance of the first raptor. Photo credit: Elizabeth Foley)

(Photo: Steve discuses the common characteristics of raptors with Diana, the Red-tailed Hawk, as a beautiful example. I'm showing the students a close-up view of the powerful talons that all raptors possess. Photo credit: Elizabeth Foley)

(Photo: Steve and I discuss the similarities and differences between owls with Malcolm, the Barred Owl, and Fonzi, the Great Horned Owl. Notice that the Great Horned Owl has feather tufts on top of his head and yellow eyes while the Barred Owl has no feather tufts and dark eyes. Photo credit: Elizabeth Foley)

The hospitality of the staff and students was spectacular and they even sent us home with delicious pigs in a blanket! Thank you Wittenberg Elementary!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hunters, please be safe, and remember, save your deer hearts for our raptors! :)

Karissa Mohr
REGI Wildlife Educator

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Alaskan Eagles and More

Evelyn and I at the Chilkat River Bald Eagle Preserve, Alaska

A Bald Eagle surveys the Chilkat River Valley, Alaska

My wife Evelyn and I had the unforgettable experience of attending the 16th annual Haines Bald Eagle Festival held November 7-14 in Haines, Alaska. We flew to Juneau, then took the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to the small town of Haines, located near the Chilkat River. Every year, since large stretches of the river don't freeze, thousands of Bald Eagles congregate to feed on the late salmon run.

During the three days that we attended, we spent four hours each day along the Chilkat River, observing and photographing some of the almost 2,000 Bald Eagles sitting serenely and majestically in the cottonwood trees, or pulling apart big chunks of freshly-caught salmon along the shore, or even soaring toward us and landing on branches less than thirty feet above us. Some of the local folks said they felt bad for us, as there was no snow on the ground; when the snow is deeper, they said, it is typical to see 4,000 to 5,000 eagles, instead of the "only" 2,000 that we saw. I told them not to worry about us! Watching the eagles soar, fish, and perch amid beautiful mountain scenery was definitely not a disappointment to my wife or me.

Besides time along the river, we attended excellent presentations on wildlife and travel opportunities in Canada's Yukon Territory (its border is about thirty-five miles up the road from our river/eagle viewing area) and a very informative program about Bald Eagle anatomy and physiology by Dr. Scott Ford, an Alaskan veterinarian specializing in raptors and other birds. We also got to see several live-raptor presentations from the Juneau Raptor Center. It was helpful and fun to see how other educators from organizations similar to REGI present their programs, and, as always, it was wonderful to get close views of the education birds, especially the Northern Goshawk and Great Gray Owl.

The week went by quickly, but we had a truly memorable and thrill-filled time: The eagles and other birds were awesome, the mountains and glaciers spectacular, and the information we learned very useful. And, our flights were all on time, and our luggage arrived safely! It was an amazing week!

Steve Fisher
REGI Education Director

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have-A-Heart for REGI

(Photo: One of our resident education birds, a Red-tailed Hawk, who will greatly benefit from our deer heart collections. By Karissa Mohr)

Gun deer hunting season is almost upon us again. Here in Wisconsin this coming weekend is opening weekend for hunting. That means it is also opening weekend for our Have-A-Heart for REGI program. Have-A-Heart for REGI is a great way for hunters to help us care for our raptors.

Put them in a plastic bag and drop them off at one of our donation sites located around the state. If you can't drop it off right away just store it in the freezer. Deer heart is an excellent source of low-fat protein for our birds. It also helps us to keep our food costs down. With over 150 birds to feed the cost really adds up quickly. Last year we collected over 500 deer hearts, which helped us feed the birds for months. We hope that this year will be even more successful! Deer hearts are collected from November 20-28, 2010.

So what can you do?
  1. Shoot a deer (or know someone who has shot one.)
  2. Save the deer heart in a plastic bag
  3. Drop it off at one of our donation sites around the state from 11/20-11/28/2010
  4. Start your own collection site if there isn't one near you!
(Photo: Pat Zillman gets donations ready for pick up for the 2009 Have-A-Heart collection. Zillman's Meat Market is one of our annual collection sites.)

2010 Collection Sites:


Ken's Hwy 45 Meat Market (N2220 US Highway 45, Antigo, WI)

Land O' Lakes

The Tackle Box (4267 County Rd. B, Land O'Lakes, WI)


YMCA - Ministry Rehabilitation Services (2003 Winnebago St E. Rhinelander, WI)

Wausau Area

Zillman's Meat Market (1910 6th Street, Wausau, WI)

Wild Birds Unlimited (4121 Rib Mountain Dr, Wausau, WI)

Country Fresh Meats (9902 Weston Ave, Weston, WI)

Stevens Point

People's Meat Market (6811 Burr Oak Rd, Stevens Point, WI)

Renee's Red Rooster (2339 County Road PS, Stevens Point, WI)

Rusty's Backwater Saloon (1715 W River Dr W, Stevens Point, WI)


Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee, WI)

Contact Molly for more information at: