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

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