Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Become a Supporter of REGI!

Do you want to make difference for wildlife? Excellent! Become a Supporter of REGI!

When you become a Supporter of REGI you are sent a supporter identification card that gets you 10% off of our gift shop items, our quarterly newsletter, invitations to public events, and invitations to bird releases!

Photo above: The release of a Cooper's hawk this past summer. As a supporter you could be there to experience an amazing moment just like this.

How can I become a supporter of REGI?
It is super easy! You can follow this link, print off the form and mail it to us or you can follow this link and click on the "donate" button to donate via PayPal. If using PayPal, leave a note in the message section that tells us you want to become a supporter.

What does it cost to become a supporter of REGI?
To be a Personal supporter is only a $30 donation per year!
To be a Student supporter is only a $20 donation per year!
To be a Family supporter is only a $45 donation per year!
To be a "Hawk Supporter" it is only a $100 donation per year!
To be an "Eagle Supporter" it is a $1000 donation per year!

Where can I purchase REGI gift shop items?
We sell merchandise at our facility only during summer tours and at certain special events. If you would like more information about summer tours you can follow this link. Tours will begin again on Tuesday, June 7th! (You must call ahead if you would like to attend a tour.) Someday we hope to have an online gift shop, but unfortunately we don't have one yet.

What merchandise does REGI sell?
We sell REGI bumper stickers, collectible medallions, pens, baseball caps, Goonie birds, and mugs. All proceeds go toward taking care of our avian patients.

Photo above: These cute, funny little things are lovingly known as Goonie birds. If you are as goonie about birds as we are or know someone who is, then these would make a perfect gift to give or to keep for yourself! Each one is a $15 donation and handmade with love by a special volunteer.

Photo above: Wouldn't you like to be the proud owner of one of our REGI mugs?

As a supporter of REGI, you can feel like you are involved in making a difference for your amazing avian friends.

If you have any questions about becoming a REGI supporter or are looking for information about tours, please give us a call! (715) 623-2563.

Thanks everyone! We hope to hear from you!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interns are Here! and Patient Update

My goodness have we been a busy bunch lately. I will do my best to get you all caught up in the life and times of REGI. First of all, our newest bunch of interns just arrived last evening. They are in for quite a busy summer, but speaking from experience, they will have a great time and learn more than they ever dreamed.

Photo above: Meet our new interns, Kyle Lannon, Kathrine Tesch, and Elizabeth Pearson. You will be hearing more about them in the months to come.

Last week we had a visit from a local group of Fire Chiefs. They seemed to have a great time learning all about REGI. Marge's son-in-law helped coordinate the event (as seen below in the red shirt).

Photo above: Marge speaks to the Fire Chiefs about Turkey Vultures with help from Morrie. They were all very interested in seeing the birds up close and learning about the medical aspects of rehabilitating large raptors.

We had some extra helping hands recently when a group of students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point came to volunteer a day with us.

Photo above: Jacob Lauer, Hannah Hildebrand, and Breana Meyer from the UW-SP Pre-Veterinary Medicine Society volunteer by painting the inside of one of our mews. Thanks guys! (Photo credit: Marge Gibson)

We have an exciting update on the Eaglet from southern Wisconsin, she has a brother! If you haven't heard about it yet from the news, I'll get you updated. A few days ago we got another Eaglet flown to us by p
ilot, Dave Piehler, the same wonderful man that transported the first eaglet to us. This newest eaglet was blown out of a tree in Kentucky when the line of devastating storms ripped through the southern United States. The fall killed his sibling and he was on the ground for a few days before he was found and taken to Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc. (RROKI). He was then flown to REGI because of our fostering program. Introducing orphaned raptors to foster parents is extremely important to prevent imprinting, and we are one of the few rehab centers in the country that has a successful fostering program. His health is a little shaky, a fall from that high can do major internal damage, but we are hopeful.
To help us keep things straight, the eaglets have adopted nicknames. The eaglet from Wisconsin is referred to as "Wisconsin," and the eaglet from Kentucky is referred to as "Kentucky." Clever aren't we? :) "Wisconsin" is up to about 10 pounds now, a huge difference from his admission on April 17th when he weighed only 2 pounds. "Kentucky" is younger and is currently around 6 pounds, but will catch up soon.

Photo above: The eagles together just moments after being introduced. The smaller "Kentucky" is on the left and the larger and older "Wisconsin" is on the right. It was fun to watch them interact from inside the clinic using our remote camera and monitor system. It is important that they do not see humans at this age to prevent imprinting and we have set up a camera to watch them without them seeing us.

Photo above: The foster father is protecting the area as he gets used to suddenly having two kids instead of just one. He has adjusted well and they are a happy family so far.

We also admitted another Great Horned Owlet. He was fairly ill when he arrived, and required many tube feedings, but is finally eating well on his own and gaining weight, and is now outside with his foster father and the first owlet we admitted this season. We sadly lost our second Great Horned Owlet a few days ago, but as we were mourning his loss, this owlet arrived to take his place.

Photo above: The newest Great Horned Owlet is excited to go into the outdoor mew to meet his foster father and new sibling.

Photo above: Foster father Great Horned Owl with owlet #1 are together in the outside mew awaiting the arrival of their newest family member. As you can tell, the adult is on the left and the owlet is on the right. In the world of raptors, usually FEMALES are larger than males, and already, this female owlet towers above her smaller foster father.

We admitted a male Scarlet Tanager from the LaCrosse, WI area who is recovering from a collide with a window. These stunningly gorgeous birds are fairly widespread, but uncommonly seen due to their secretive nature. The red color you see is no camera trick, they really are this vibrant, and when you see one in the wild, you will stop dead in your tracks.

Photo above: This male Scarlet Tanager is recovering in an outdoor flight cage after colliding with a window. His outlook is bright and is a candidate for release soon.

Another victim of a window is the White-crowned Sparrow you may have read about in the last blog. We are pleased to say that he is also a candidate for release.

Photo above: This White-crowned Sparrow is recovering well and has been moved to an outside flight cage to retain his flight muscles. He'll be ready to go home soon!

Babies, babies, everywhere! Prepare yourselves for an overload of cuteness...

Photo above: These Mallard ducklings were admitted after becoming orphaned and are growing up faster than you can say "Quack!" They are labor intensive because these tiny tots eat and poo a lot, but it's all worth it to watch them go once they're grown. They have a lot of growing to do, and we'll keep you updated.

Photo above: These day-old blue birds were orphaned when their mother was eaten by a cat. There are 4 naked little peanut-sized bluebird nestlings in this photo.

Photo above: This American Robin nestling was the only survivor after his nest was raided by a cat. We are getting a little tired that we have to keep telling people to keep their cats inside, especially during nesting season, but we will continue to say it until the day we die if that's what it takes.

Photo above: These two Mourning Dove nestlings were being hand raised by a well meaning person who didn't know it was illegal to possess birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As tempting as it is to raise baby birds, it's not worth the fine. Call your local rehabilitation center and let professionals raise them, better yet, protect their nests so their own parents can raise them!

You may remember the baby Common Raven that was admitted a couple weeks ago. Well, we now also have a baby American Crow. I wanted to show you all how different these two species are even though they are so similar. Both species are Corvids, and belong to the family containing Crows, Ravens, Jays, and Magpies.
Many people confuse Ravens with Crows, because they do look very similarly, but after reading this, you will have the knowledge to tell them apart. First of all, as you can see, Ravens are nearly double the size of crows and are more heavily built so to speak. Ravens have very robust beaks that have a slight curve at the top, crows have strong bills as well, but are not as large as a Raven's, and both beaks are made to be multi-purpose tools, for digging, picking, crushing, caching, and just about anything else they want to do. In flight, Ravens will look larger, and have a wedge-shaped tail, while the smaller crows have a more squared off tail. Crows are also sleeker looking while Ravens have a "shaggier" neck and chest.

Photo above: A young American Crow (left) sits next to a young Common Raven (right), and both are approximately full grown. You can see the dramatic differences between the two species after seeing them side by side. Please excuse the Raven's wet feathers, he enjoyed a bath in his water bowl just minutes before the photo was taken. Another thing you might notice is that the crow has blue eyes. When they are young, Crows and Ravens have blue eyes and as they mature their eyes turn brown, which has already happened to the Raven.

We also released an American Kestrel that was admitted during the winter months. I have a video to share with you, but the release happens fast so watch closely. In preparation of their release, Kestrels and some other birds are put into a flight cage with a special door. After they have exercised and are ready to go, we open that special door and they release themselves. In the video, you'll see that the door has been opened and it takes only a moment for the Kestrel to find his way back to freedom.

Video above: An American Kestrel is ready to go home and he makes a speedy release.

Two other birds will be release tonight. A Saw-whet Owl that also came in during the winter months, and the Whip-poor-will that was admitted recently after being covered in chemicals when it was trapped inside a local factory. Both have fully recovered, and we wish them the best of luck in their "second-chance" lives. This is what we work for here at REGI and we are all elated.

We will keep you updated as best we can, but we are off to what may turn out to be the busiest summer in REGI's 20-year history. If you'd like to lend a hand, give us a call (715-623-2563). We always need happy and willing volunteers.

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr

Wildlife Educator

Monday, May 16, 2011

International Migratory Bird Day!

Saturday was the first annual International Migratory Bird Day celebration put on by REGI. If you don't know about International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), it is the signature celebration of Environment for the Americas. It is celebrated in the United States and Canada on the 2nd Saturday of May annually, as birds are on their return from the southern latitudes, and is celebrated in Mexico, Central America and South America in October, as the birds head back south. 1000's of organizations hold events in celebration of IMBD. (You can find out more about the celebrations here.) In past years REGI has traveled and given programs at other IMBD celebrations, but this year we wanted to hold our own!

We started off the day with a bird hike along the board walk on Antigo's City Trail. It is a beautiful place to look for birds with the board walk through the marsh and forest along the edge. The habitat is spectacular. We had great luck seeing many birds including: Sora Rails, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellow-throats, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a Broad-winged Hawk soaring above, along with many other birds.
(Photos above: The group of birders spotted many birds, soaring in the sky, as well as searching for insects and other meals down in the reeds and along the waters edge.)

In the afternoon we held a Celebrate Birds! event in the Antigo City Park. The weather seemed to be working against us, and became colder and rainier as the day progressed but we had a wonderful group of volunteers who stuck it out and we still had a crowd of dedicated attendees who joined us for activities and a raptor program.
Attendees made pine cone bird feeders to attract birds to their own backyards. These simple bird feeders are simply made by spreading peanut butter onto the cones and then rolling them in bird seed. It is a great way for kids to create something special that will help them attract birds to their backyards.
Children were "caught" in a "mist net" (badminton net) and "banded" to teach them about bird banding. Data was collected on their species, wingspan and weight, in a similar fashion to if they were real birds being mist netted and banded. It was a fun way to learn about how real scientists are banding birds.A station was set up to teach about how to use binoculars and spotting scopes. They also learned about some of the urban birds that can be found in cities and backyards.
Karissa designed a bird beak matching game to teach children about how birds beaks are perfectly adapted to the kind of food that they eat. We capped off the day with a live raptor program. This tends to be most peoples favorite and this is what brought the biggest group of people. We introduced the crowd to 5 of our very special educational raptors. It was a great day! We hope that next year we will have better weather and will see more of you there.

We have a migratory visitor in the clinic with us right now. IMBD is so perfectly timed, we have been seeing many migratory species at the feeders and in the woods, but Friday one showed up after flying into someones window.This little White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is staying in the clinic while his wing heals. He seems to be on his way to health and we hope that he won't be staying much longer, so he can continue on his way to the far north.
This range map, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, shows the summer breeding range of the White Crowned Sparrow. He will have a long journey ahead of him once he leaves here. While I was talking to people at the IMBD celebration I learned that these little birds have been spending a lot of time at feeders in town. There were some baffled bird watchers who are not accustomed to seeing this visitor and did not know what they were.

So, keep your eyes open for uncommon visitors as you are out and about in the following days. You never know what you may find!

Molly McKay
Environmental Education Coordinator

Friday, May 6, 2011

Screech Release; Whip-poor-will, Tundra Swan, and Osprey Admitted; Barred Owl Update, Science Night at Lincoln High; and Why is a Harris's Hawk Black?

Hello everyone,
We are still busy here, as always, and we have some exciting news! The Eastern Screech Owl that found herself inside an Antigo woman's home after tumbling down her chimney has been released! [You can see her whole story in the Feb. 11th blog.] The little owl mistook the fire place chimney for a tree cavity, a natural living site for screech owls, and wound up inside a living room. Eastern Screech Owls generally have a range that is south of Wausau, WI, how she made it to Antigo is a mystery. Because she came in during the winter, we wanted to give her the best possible chance at survival and waited until spring to release her. We also wanted to make sure that there wasn't any underlying issues that caused this owl to become trapped inside such an unlikely abode. After monitoring and examining her, we determined she was ready to go back into the wild.

Photo above: Our Education Coordinator, Molly McKay, had the honor of releasing the little darling. Here she is preparing to open the box and welcome the owl back to the world of freedom! May she never be inside a house again!

Photo above: As soon as she was released, she went right back to being a normal owl, she straightened out her body, stuck up her feather tufts, and squinted her eyes. Many owls use this pose as a way to blend into their surroundings, and if we were just walking through the forest, we may not have noticed her clinging to that tree.

We also admitted a new patient from Wausau, WI, a Whip-poor-will who flew inside the 3M plant and couldn't find her way out. She is hungry, confused, and dusty, but has no visible injuries. Our largest concern for her is that she smells of chemicals, a very plausible scenario after being trapped inside a manufacturing facility. We are giving her frequent baths with Dawn dish soap to wash away the chemicals.
These birds are fantastically interesting and are easily confused for Nighthawks, but are smaller and lacking the white wing patches of the Nighthawk. Feeding these birds [Nighthawks, Whip-poor-wills, Nightjars, Poorwills, and even Swifts] in captivity is very difficult because they have a specialized way of hunting. It looks as if she has a tiny beak, but in reality they have a huge cavernous mouth as wide as the distance between their eyes. They open this huge net of a mouth as they are flying in the dark to capture flying insects. The force of the insect flying into their mouth pushes it down their throat meaning that they don't need or have a swallowing reflex. Trying to feed a non-flying Whip-poor-will takes a lot of patience and dedication from our wonderful rehabilitation staff, Katie Farvour and Alberta Halfmann. They do excellent work!

Photo above: This Whip-poor-will was trapped inside a local factory and is being bathed frequently to clean her feathers of the harmful chemicals she is covered in. This Whip-poor-will is a female because she is lacking the white throat patch and tail spots of a male.

Yesterday was a busy day for the rehabilitation team with many new patients admitted. They received a call about a Tundra Swan who was left alone in a pond after the other swans she was migrating with continued on their way north. She has an injured wing so she couldn't fly away, but the problem was that she was in a pond and it required a couple boats and a few fast-running feet to catch her. More about this story in an upcoming blog, but what I'll say for now is that they were able to successfully capture her and bring her to safety.

Photo above: Steve Fisher, Marge Gibson, Alberta Halfmann, and Katie Farvour are relieved after successfully capturing the injured Tundra Swan.

Photo above: Back at the REGI facility, the injured Tundra Swan was very relieved to be with swans again after her family was forced to migrate without her. You can see her left wing is injured and hanging.

An Osprey was also admitted with a broken leg. It appears that he may have been caught in some sort of jaw trap meant for mammals. His prognosis is not great as the bone is broken very near a joint, typically resulting in a calcification of the joint and a lack of mobility.

Photo above: This Osprey was admitted with a broken left leg. You can see there are abrasions to both legs, likely from a jaw trap.

Photo above: The Osprey admitted last evening was found standing this morning. A good sign, but still not a recovery.

Several blog posts ago, we wrote about a couple of Barred Owls that were admitted suffering from starvation due to unfortunate weather conditions. I am pleased to announce that these owls are now eating completely solid foods and have been moved to an outside flight enclosure. While starving, their bodies began to absorb their muscles to make up for the lack of food. Now they must exercise their muscles and rebuild them in preparation of being released. That is good news for these beautiful owls!

Photo above: These two Barred Owls have been moved to an outside flight enclosure to rebuild the muscles lost during starvation.

The education team was invited to "Science Night" at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids and Steve Fisher and I were delighted to speak with the students and their families. It is so great that schools in the area include presentations like ours into their science activities, and it is an honor to be able to teach people about our magnificent raptors.

Photo above: Education Director, Steve Fisher, and Eastern Screech Owl, Wookie, teach the attendees of "Science Night" about the strong raptor in a tiny package.

We brought our Harris's Hawk to the program to teach people about a new species. Harris's hawks are desert dwellers and have many adaptations that allow them to live in such harsh climates. After the program, one bright young woman asked me, "If Harris's Hawks live in the desert where it is so hot, why are they black instead of a lighter color?" Wow, I never really thought about it. It would make sense for a desert species to be a lighter color so they could stay cooler in the searing midday sun. I didn't have a good answer for her so I went home and did a whole bunch of research. What I found was quite surprising, so I hope this blog post finds its way to her.

Photo above: Gypsy, our educational Harris's Hawk shows off her beautiful dark plumage.

I found a journal article that covered the topic very well. Here is the citation if you want to look it up yourself. [Ward J.M., J.D. Blount, G.D. Ruxton & D.C. Houston 2002. The adaptive
significance of dark plumage for birds in desert environments. Ardea 90(2):311-323.] They found that many avian desert species have dark colored feathers and there are a number of reasons why biologists think this has developed. First of all, the pigment in dark feathers is melanin, the same pigment that determines the color of human skin. Melanin is a strong pigment and that makes the keratin the feathers are made of stronger as a result. It is likely that these stronger feathers stand up to the inhospitableness of the desert; thorny cactuses and blowing sand. Another possible function is resistance to damage from UV-rays. Similarly seen in our species early in human evolution, people living closest to the equator developed darker skin with more melanin which helped to protect them from damaging UV-rays. After thinking about it that way, it makes a lot of sense for desert dwelling birds to have darker plumage richer in melanin. A final "simpler" explanation is visibility. The coloration in the desert is usually pretty light; tan sand, green cactuses, etc. If a bird has dark colors, like the Harris's Hawk does, it is easier for other members of the species to spot them on the landscape. Harris's Hawks are social birds and live in family groups where communication is important. These explanations all make a lot of sense to me and I am grateful for that young woman who challenged me to think about these magnificent birds in another way.

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Big, Huge, Giant Update

We have had SO much going on around here and I need to try to fit it all into one gigantic blog update... Here goes!

The education team has been very busy with lots of programs. It's a good-busy though, we are not complaining! :D On Wednesday, Education Coordinator, Molly McKay and I did a program for the Tri-County Area School District after-school program in Plainfield, WI. On Thursday, Molly did a program for the Popplewood 4H club in Ringle, WI. We had a wonderful time at both of these programs! We never get tired of doing programs at new locations... or familiar locations for that matter! We are often invited back, and we love it! Everywhere we go, we meet so many great people interested in the beautiful raptors we work with. Rightfully so, the raptors will take your breath away! If you are among the lucky that have met some of our raptors, you know this is true. If you haven't met them yet, you really should!

On Friday, Molly and I did three programs for Edgar Elementary School. This was a very exciting trip for me because I grew up in Marathon City, only a few minutes away from Edgar, WI. In addition, my wonderful little cousin, Madison Borchardt is a 1st grader at Edgar Elementary, and was able to see all of the wonderful birds we had to share.

Photo above: I am teaching the students of Edgar Elementary School about owls with help from Barred Owl, Malcolm. (Photo credit: Molly McKay)

Photo above: Education Coordinator, Molly McKay teaches the students about Peregrine Falcons during our third and final program at Edgar Elementary. The arrow is pointing to my darling cousin, Madison. I love you sweetie!

On Saturday
, Molly and I traveled 7 hours round trip to Edgerton, WI to speak with members and friends of the Sterling North Society at Sterling's very own historic home and barn. Sterling North was an author and animal lover who grew up in Edgerton, WI. He has written many great books, the most well known being "Rascal," subtitled "a memoir of a better era," in which he writes about his trying childhood and special bond with his pet raccoon, Rascal. If you would like to learn more about the Sterling North Society, follow this link! Molly and I had a terrific time and want to thank everyone from the Sterling North Society for their wonderful hospitality!

Photo above: Sterling North's home in Edgerton, WI.

The rehabilitation team has also been extremely busy with many new patients. The baby season has arrived and tots have been slowly adding up.

We currently have three Bald Eagle patients in our clinic with a fourth on the way. That means we have 42 big, beautiful Bald Eagles under our care at REGI in addition to the dozens of other birds in need of help.

Photo above: This Bald Eagle from Birnamwood, WI is suffering from starvation. As you can tell, he is in very poor condition. We are tube feeding him several times per day in hopes that he will continue to fight. He is standing, which is a positive sign, but I'm tentative about being overly optimistic right now.

Photos above: This Bald Eagle from St. Germain, WI was found grounded under the nest he is guarding. He is eating well, and things are looking promising for him. We would like to get him back out to his nest as soon as we can to take some of the burden off of his mate, but he has some trauma from a possible fall.

Photo above: This Bald Eagle from Keshena, WI was admitted after having a "disagreement" with another Eagle. He is able to fly and is currently in a flight enclosure so he can maintain his flight muscles.

Photo above: This beautiful Red Tailed Hawk was found in someone's back yard in Wausau, WI. He has a broken right wing and is extremely thin, suggesting that he has been unable to fly for some time. How he broke his wing, we are unsure, but we do know that he wouldn't have lasted much longer without help. If this bird looks unusually light to you, you're correct. Red Tailed Hawks can have amazing color variations within the species, from deep browns to creamy tans. The more extreme the color variation, the less commonly you'll see them. This beautiful light male is less common and extremely gorgeous.

Photo above: This Great Horned Owl from Antigo, WI was found by some kind and observant turkey hunters with an injury to his left wing and smelling of skunk, a common occurrence when rehabilitating Great Horned Owls. These powerful and confident owls frequently take skunks, but when hunting for such large prey, they risk getting injured in the process. That is likely what happened to this fellow.

We also admitted our second baby Great Horned Owl. This youngster is underweight and needs to be tube fed several times per day.

Photo above: Even at this young age, Great Horned Owls have all the tenacity in the world.

Photo above: Tubing the baby. He's underweight and dehydrated so tube feeding is absolutely necessary to improve his condition. That doesn't mean they like it though...

Photo above: He looks pleased to have that yucky tube out of his throat. ;)

Photo above: As busy as we get, we always have time to pause to watch a baby swallow a mouse. It is such a terrific undertaking for an owlet to swallow a mouse, but they are able to accomplish it each time, and I am always amazed.

The first baby Great Horned Owl admitted last week is doing well. She is eating like a champion and growing quickly. We do have some concerns about her vision though. We need to do more vision testing, but if we do find that she has trouble seeing, it is likely that her parents noticed it before we did and bumped her out of the nest.

We also admitted two baby Pine Siskins found as orphans. One of the youngsters, the first to arrive, is in fair health and eating well. The second youngster is not doing so well. It appears that he may have tussled with a creature capable of fitting him inside its mouth, most likely a domestic dog or cat. Both babies are fully feathered and are already beginning to experiment with flight.

Last year
in late March, we admitted a baby Pine Siskin making it the earliest passerine chick and the first baby Pine Siskin in our 20 year history. This year, we have TWO Pine Siskin babies from two different nests! Both are from Marathon County, but definitely did not come from the same parents. The reason this is so strange is because in the Eastern half of North America, Pine Siskins nest in the North, farther North than humble little Wisconsin. They are frequent winter visitors of this area as adults, but have had very few recorded nesting events in Wisconsin. What is going on here?! At the risk of being controversial, I'll just say that climate change is a curious thing and it has consequences farther reaching than any of us can fathom.

Photo above: Baby Pine Siskin #1. As you can tell from the photo, Pine Siskins are fairly small birds, and as I have quite petite hands, this baby is tinier than you may think.

Photo above: Baby Pine Siskin #2. This little tyke is the less well of the two, but still is anxious for feeding time. You may be able to see that his wings look blurry and that is because, when hungry, young birds flutter their wings at a speed that would impress a hummingbird! They do this to tell their parents, "Hey! I'm hungry! Feed me first!", and it is terribly adorable to see an incubator full of fluttering babes.

Another early baby for this spring is a 6-week-old Common Raven. Admitting a baby this large so early in the season is a bit surprising, especially for a northern climate, but Common Ravens start early and produce very hardy young. This little guy (or gal) was found alone, and being so young, is still unskilled at flying. He has a misshapen beak and it is likely he was kicked out of the nest by his parents. It may sound harsh, but baby birds with birth defects are disposed of by their parents so more time and energy can be concentrated on the young with a better chance at survival. This also serves the species well because the individuals with lesser genetics are taken out of the gene pool right away ensuring healthier young in the next generation. Because of his deformity, he will not be released, but he will become an education bird and teach thousands of people about the wonderfulness of Ravens. He has a big job in front of him!

Photos above: The 6-week-old Common Raven spends a lot of time watching us, his human caretakers. Because he has a deformity, he is non-releasable, and it is OK for him to become habituated to humans being around him. In fact, we want him to be comfortable around people because he will be an education bird someday.

As promised, here's an update on the Eaglet. It has been one week since the last update and he has grown another pound! He's beginning to look more like a body builder than a baby bird! Right now, his body is spending a lot of time and energy developing muscles necessary for standing, and one day, flying.

Photos above: The eaglet is out for his weekly check-up. He has grown another pound and is beginning to really look like he could be the proud symbol of freedom Americans know and love. If you look closely you can see that he is crossing a milestone, adult feathers are beginning to peek out of his baby fuzz. His feet are also already gigantic! He has a long way to go, but he's getting there fast! I hope you all enjoy seeing him grow as much as we all do here at REGI.

Whew! That was quite the blog. Hopefully you were all able to get through it!

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator