Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home from Bahrain and Still Working Hard

Sean Halfmann, the eldest son of our rehabilitation technician, Alberta Halfmann, just returned home from a 7 month Naval tour of Bahrain and volunteered part of his time off to work here at REGI. The big job for today was moving the resident Turkey Vultures from their indoor, heated, winter mew to the outdoor summer mew. It is just as exciting for the turkey vultures as it is for us! It's really spring this time!
Turkey Vultures have a habit of vomiting when they feel threatened, which isn't a fun prospect for anyone capturing them, but everyone made it out without "incident!"
It is a dirty job, but Sean was up for the challenge!

Photo above: Sean Halfmann helps his mother, Alberta capture one of the resident Turkey Vultures. The vultures spent the winter inside a heated mew because in the wild, they migrate south for the colder months since it is hard to make a living on frozen carrion in the winter. Photo above: Sean Halfmann, Alberta Halfmann, and rehabilitation technician, Katie Farvour are just about to release their bundles of joy (Turkey Vultures) into their outdoor summer enclosure. Photo above: Sean is setting his vulture "free" in his large summer enclosure. Photo above: We know the vultures are happy to be back outside because they instantly did their "solar collector" poses. Vultures of many species exhibit this same posture and they do it to keep themselves clean and warm. Because vultures eat dead animals, they can quickly get covered in nasty bacteria, and by posing like this they allow the sun's UV rays kill the bacteria.

Photo above: Three Turkey Vultures very happy to be outside again after a long Wisconsin Winter inside. The closest vulture in the picture is in mid-molt, meaning that it is in the process of losing old feathers and growing new feathers. Most of our resident Turkey Vultures are with us due to wing injuries and now serve as foster parents to chicks during the summer.

We would like to thank Sean for coming out and helping us today. It is great to see someone volunteering their time home from military training to help others.

If you would like to volunteer your time here at REGI just like Sean did, you can email Molly McKay at or me at Follow this link for a bit more information. We have lots of projects and spring cleaning to do and we could definitely use happy, helpful hands!

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr REGI
Wildlife Educator

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