Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine "Love Birds" Fantasy Ball "Guest List"

We would like to thank the following wonderful guests for "Attending"
REGI's 1st annual Valentine "Love Birds" Fantasy Ball
and for donating to support avian rehabilitation and education.

Peter Allen
Kathy P. Belgea
Erik Bruhnke
Sally Browne and Chris Young
Mark Clintsman
Gwendolyn Cooley
Dr. Sylvia Dennison
Kathy and Jay Drobnik
Sue Fletcher
Sharon Grady
Virginia Grothe
Karl and Shirley Hackbarth
Peggy Heath
Connie Hegerfeld
Gary and Karen Hegranes
Todd and Linda Hendrickson
Bob Hogan and Sylvia Dennison
Jay-Mar, Inc.
L. A. Busse Inc.
John and Alice Jacobs
Georgette Jeziorski
Barbara Klug
Kretz Truck Brokerage, LLC
Martha Lofstrom
Jeanne M Lucht
Pat and Krissy Mohr
David and Polly Piehler
Linda Rollins
Scooter Software
Marsha Stanek
Dawn and Gary Stein
Chris Young
Bob and Peg Wolff
George and Estelle Wolff
and those kind supporters who chose to remain anonymous.

This list will be continually updated so if you donated and don't see your name it's because your kind donation hasn't reached our mail box yet. We will continue to add names as donations arrive.

We greatly appreciate everyone's support! We did not reach our goal, but being that this was our first attempt we will call it a success anyway! You're all the best!

Thank you!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Barred Owl, Canada Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl... Oh My!

It has been a busy few days here around REGI! We have admitted quite a few new patients, six of which I'd like to share with you now.

Photo above: This Barred owl was admitted after being hit by a car near the Langlade, WI area. His first few days here were a little rough; he had blood in his nares (nostrils) which is indicative of internal damage. Internal bleeding is very common in birds that have been hit by cars and can be fatal; luckily for this gorgeous owl, his injuries are healing. We are very pleased to say that he is recovering very well and will soon be ready for release!
If you look closely at the feathers between his eyes you can see what looks like snow stuck to them. That is actually frozen water vapor that has collected from each breath he releases. That proves how perfectly suited these owls are for winter weather. They are so well insulated that their body heat is trapped below their feathers and snow doesn't even melt on them. Amazing!

Photo above: This Canada Goose was admitted this morning from the Stratford, WI area, suffering from an old gunshot injury. Being that Canada Goose hunting season ended in mid December and assuming her injury came from an attempted legal harvest, she has been braving this northern winter for a couple months, unable to fly. In areas of the Midwest that retain open water during all seasons, some Canada geese might attempt to stay the winter, but most geese have long flown South.
Her injury resulted in the loss of part of her wing which means that she will not be able to return to the wild; however, all hope is not lost. She has a big job in her future; every spring, it is inevitable that we will need to raise Canada Goose goslings. Assuming that she is able to regain her strength and a healthy weight, she will make a wonderful foster mom for many orphaned goslings.
Canada Geese are a harvestable species meaning that it is legal to shoot them during designated seasons. Injuries like the ones sustained by this Canada Goose really come down to hunter responsibility. If a poor shot is taken, it is up to the hunter to do everything they can to find the injured bird and prevent suffering. We are very thankful for the person who found this goose and brought her to safety; the world needs more people like that.

Photo above: This Trumpeter Swan cygnet (youngster) was found in the Gilman area which is in North Western Wisconsin. The area in which he was found has no open water and the reasons why he was there are unclear. He is suffering from vision problems from an unspecified injury, and also as a chip in his beak which may indicate head trauma. It is not certain that his vision will ever improve, but we will continue to monitor him. Blood tests showed no lead poisoning which is good news; one less thing he has to overcome.

Photo Above: An upsetting story... This Bald Eagle was found in the Wittenberg, WI area suffering from gunshot wounds. Some very good people found him and brought him to safety, but unfortunately, the damage from the shot was so severe it resulted in the loss of part of the wing. It is likely that he has an occupation as an education bird in his future.
Judging by the coloration on the eagle's head, he is likely around 3 or 4 years old. Bald Eagles don't get their signature "bald" head until they are about 5 years old and this fellow is still showing dark streaks.
Like we have mentioned before, harming ANY raptor is illegal! I plan to do this work for the rest of my life, and I don't think I will ever understand why someone would want to murder our National bird. We are very grateful for the kind people who rescued him.

Photo above: This Great Horned Owl from Arpin, WI was found tangled in a barbed wire fence. He has some damage to his right wing, but it looks like he will be releasable! He looks quite upset in the photo, and that is good! It means he is feeling well enough to be defensive. Great Horned Owls always have a very strong personality so that is another good sign for this guy.
Barbed wire is an especially dangerous obstacle for animals, including birds. The barbs are very effective at hooking into tissue and once an animal is caught, it often needs help from a human to get free. This owl was extremely lucky in that his injuries were minor and someone found in in a short period of time. Unfortunately, most animals found tangled in barbed wire have already died.
Barbed wire can be made "safer" by keeping the wire taut and by tying strips of light colored cloth at multiple points between each fence post. The tautness helps keep animals from twisting in between two wires and the cloth strips make the wire more visible and avoidable for low-flying birds. The same is true for other types of wire fences. They're an unexpected danger that we can and should help to reduce; after all, we are the ones putting them up.

Photo above: This Eastern Screech Owl was found in Antigo, WI, with a very interesting story. A lovely woman walked into her living room to find this adorable little Screech Owl perched atop one of her vases! Imagine her surprise! Being that the owl was covered in soot and had some roughed-up feathers, we deduced that she must have "broken in" through the fireplace chimney. This odd situation isn't as rare as you might think.
Many species of owls, including Eastern Screech Owls, are cavity-nesters, meaning that they nest in holes in trees. As luck would have it, chimneys resemble these tree cavities closely enough for owls to be confused. Raccoons have also found themselves inside people's homes after making the same mistake. If you would like to avoid having owls or raccoons ambling down your chimney, a simple chimney cap should usually do the trick.
Another odd thing about the screech-owl-in-living-room situation is that Eastern Screech Owls are generally found South of Wausau, WI; Antigo, WI is an hour, by car, north of there. Why she was this far North is a mystery.
She is being observed for several days to make sure that there isn't an underlying problem, but she is in good weight and should be released quite soon!

On top of all the patients, we were lucky enough to be visited by a few students today from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. Two of them are here from Japan for a short time doing a training program through the University. We had a great time showing them around and they taught us about the raptors native to Japan; it was a real treat! Katie Rymer, an intern from this past summer, drove them all up to Antigo and it was great to have her "home" at REGI again!

Photo above: The students learned to handle birds during their time with us. We hope they enjoyed their time at REGI as much as we enjoyed having them! (Photo Credit: Molly McKay)

As always, thank you all for your donations and support!
We couldn't do this without you!

Have a great weekend!

Karissa Mohr
REGI Wildlife Educator

Thursday, February 10, 2011

REGI's 1st Annual Valentine "Love Birds" Fantasy Ball

If you haven't heard about it by now, I'll get you in the loop! We are holding our first annual Valentine "Love Birds" Fantasy Ball and you're invited!

This is THE place NOT to be on Valentine's Day!

Every year at the Raptor Education Group, Inc. we care for over 500 sick and injured birds through donations from our kind supporters like you. It is a new year, and our goal for this fantasy non-event is to raise $25,000 to help cover part of our yearly cost of patient care. For “attending” this event you’ll receive a non-ticket that will serve as your tax receipt since all donations to the Raptor Education Group, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit group, are tax deductible. Your name will also be added to the “guest list” which will be sent out in a blog as a thank you.

Instead of getting all dressed up and exhausted by the end of the evening, attend this fantasy non-event! You can support avian rehabilitation with a relaxing evening at home!

Who: Raptor Education Group Inc.
What: Valentine "Love Birds" Fantasy Ball
Where: Anywhere you are on Valentine's Day
When: February 14, 2011
Why: To support avian rehabilitation and care
How: Non-tickets are $30 for an individual, $50 for a couple, $100 for a table; However, any donation is appreciated.

These musical guests are NOT scheduled to perform!
The Eagles,
Sheryl Crow,
Dean Martin, and
Taylor Swift!

DON'T bring your sweetheart! ;)

To order Non-tickets please send payment to:

Raptor Education Group, Inc.
ATTN: Fantasy Ball
P.O. Box 481
Antigo, WI 54409
Or you can click here to order using PayPal! Click on the "donate" button on the top left of the linked page. In the PayPal message section, please mention that you'd like "non-tickets" to the Fantasy Ball.

Questions? Please call (715) 623-2563
or e-mail us at

Thanks everyone! We hope we DON'T see you there! ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Great Horned Owl from Wausau is Released!

The day of release is a very exciting day for all of us here at REGI and it is what keeps us going through hard times. Thursday evening, a beautiful adult female Great Horned Owl was returned to the wild after a harrowing experience. Hopefully her stay at REGI becomes a distant memory and may she never be in the hands of humans again!

This Great Horned Owl was admitted at the end of December suffering from wounds consistent with shotgun pellets. She had a protuberance at one of her wing joints that turned out to be a supersized blood blister. The wonderful people from The King Company in Wausau spotted her in the ditch, scooped her up, and brought her to safety. A big thanks to Bud Graveen, Cory Pagel, Jon Krause, and Anne Buntrock from The King Company for helping this beautiful owl! Anne lovingly named the owl "Jerri" in honor of her father and that's how she was known during her short stay at REGI.

Photo above: The adult female Great Horned Owl, Jerri, upon admission. (Photo credit: Marge Gibson)

Photo above: Here you can see that large blood blister protruding from her wing joint. (The grey bump just in front of the index finger is the blood blister). Her gunshot wounds were a few days old when she was found which is why there is no blood in these photos. (Photo credit: Marge Gibson)

Photo above: My apologies for the blurry picture, but it shows the Great Horned Owl exercising her healing wing. By the way she flies, you would never know she had been shot. I am constantly amazed by what birds can overcome.

Photo above: Alberta Halfmann, REGI’s avian rehabilitation technician, extends the owl’s once-injured wing to show how the wounds have healed. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: Anne Buntrock, one of the owl’s rescuers, and Alberta Halfmann pose for a good bye photo. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: Just moments before release. You can see the anticipation in Alberta’s and the owl’s expressions. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: If you look closely you can see the owl, Jerri, back in the wild. She is the dark spot in the center of the photograph. Good luck, friend! Being that owls are mainly nocturnal, they are released just after sunset. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

It is, of course, illegal to shoot any raptor and the reasons to do so are beyond me. Raptors provide us all a great service by keeping rodent populations in check and are very beneficial to healthy ecosystems. If you’re like me, you love rodents as much as much as any animal, but an over abundance of the little critters is no good for anyone, including the rodents themselves. By preventing rodent over population, raptors make sure that everything remains in balance.

Thanks again to everyone at The King Company! We all love a happy ending!

We currently have 20 Bald Eagles in our care so all of the fish donations are still very helpful! There are only a few more weeks of ice fishing according to our groundhog friend’s predictions so get out there and have some fun. Don’t forget that our hungry eagles will take the extra catches off your hands!

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
REGI Wildlife Educator

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Watch for Winter Eagles

As I drove to REGI this morning, I noticed something along the side of the road ahead of me. I slowed just in time to see that it was a carcass, with a Bald Eagle and several crows on top of it. The crows flew immediately, but the large eagle lifted off slowly, its startled flight path taking it directly in front of my vehicle. Fortunately, the bird climbed just quickly enough to clear the highway, avoiding a collision, and swerved away from me. The whole incident took only a few seconds.

The close encounter with the big, beautiful bird triggered memories of two past near-misses -- One: driving slowly around a tight, blind curve on a northern county highway, my wife and I came suddenly upon a fresh deer carcass with three eagles on it, all surprised and struggling to take off. Two: A young Bald Eagle launched itself from a roadside tree toward another carcass in front us, narrowly missing our front windshield by veering away at the last second. These experiences emphasize the importance of watchful vigilance and another important reason to be alert as we negotiate the winter roads.

While many Bald Eagles head farther south for the winter toward open water, more and more of them are choosing to stay in our northern region and survive by searching for carcasses and roadkill, just as the eagle in this morning's close encounter. Those eagles that have decided to stay are having a tougher time finding food, and carcasses can tempt them to an easy meal. Besides the problem of potential lead poisoning (which we have written about before and likely will again), carcasses too close to the road create a different hazard just as deadly for these magnificent birds. Please be extra careful as you drive, especially on roads with sharp turns, dips, and hills. Both REGI and the hardy Bald Eagles dealing with our harsh northern winters thank you for it!

Steve Fisher
REGI Education Director