Saturday, September 24, 2011

Herky the Bald Eagle Update!! Poisoned Red-tailed Hawk admitted, Red-eyed Vireos Admitted with Migration Exhaustion, Trumpeter Swan cygnet update.

 We love great stories here at REGI.  Improbable success stories, are all the sweeter.  We are honored to live the recovery stories along with our patients. The story of Herky the Bald Eagle from Hayward, WI began on September 4, 2011.  It has been only twenty days, but what a difference that time has made for Herky the Bald Eagle.  The story of her rescue and link to the video of the actual rescue can be found in the September 7, 2011 blog .  If you have not seen it, I urge you to watch at the link provided below.   Her story continues below.

Herky on the scale this morning.  Look at that confident eagle face!
  "Herky" the Bald Eagle rescued near Hayward, WI by the Bill Obenauf family, of Davenport, Iowa is doing great.  She has gained weight by leaps and bounds and is starting to fly again.  Herky weighed in this morning at 7.094 lbs which is a gain of 3 lbs in the twenty days since she was admitted.


A very tired and sick Herky looked a lot different on twenty days ago when she was admitted to the Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) clinic.  (photo taken 9-4-11)

Herky fans in Iowa are all abuzz about this magnificent young eagle and her story.  So, let me tell you about her. When I last updated Herky was still in critical condition.  She had gained a few ounces however we were not yet celebrating.  When any animals weigh sinks to half what is normal for them...the situation is dire. To add to the starvation issue Herky had a serious leg injury caused by cord wrapped tightly around her leg.  Frankly, it was a miracle she had circulation in the foot when she was found.  Our job was to make sure that good luck continued for her leg as well as navigate her through the turbulent waters of starvation and the associated fungal problems that affect birds when they are severely compromised.  

The cord from the snare was wrapped tightly around the eagles leg.  It did serious damage to the surrounding tissue.  In this photo the unhealthy tissue was debrided to allow the leg to heal from the inside out.

We will never know for sure how her story goes before Herky came into captivity on September 4.  Our patients cannot tell us their story. We have to piece it together as best we can.  It is possible  Herky was likely a healthy young eagle before she somehow came upon the snare someone left in the woods. The cord became tangled around her leg.  Unable to get the cord off, it twisted tighter until it embedded into the skin.  The cord may have been around the leg for weeks before she was found.  Encumbered as she was with the snare, and increasingly swollen and painful leg, Herky was unable to find food. A domino effect of disaster had begun.

Herky today with her "foster dad".  Dad is in front of her protecting her from my intrusion. The photo is poor quality from our monitor.

Today Herky, aka Herky Lerky, aka the Herkster is enjoying life with 3 foster siblings and 2 adult eagles, one our foster dad,  in a 40' long flight.  It is a smallish flight for an eagle, but just the right size as they recover from injuries and have limited activity again.  Our foster father eagle is in the flight as well with the two youngest Bald Eagles chicks. Herky is the terror of her flight room!  She is bossy and LOUD. She screams at everyone else during feeding time as it to say, "step away from the food" or else. In general Herky is "feeling her oats". We sometimes see this behavior in eaglets when they have been through a traumatic situation.  It seems they are so pleased to have survived, they take life to an entirely new level. 
You can be when she leaves here for her second chance in the wild, she will be living life to the fullest.

Another monitor photos...but that is Herky in the middle on the highest perch (28 ft high).  She is trying to "remove" a foster sibling from the perch with a one two punch with her wings. An adult female stands to the right.
In short, Herky is doing superbly and progressing quickly now. We are very encouraged by her progress and weight gain.  She does not ignore feeding time that is for sure.  Thank you everyone for keeping her in your thoughts. I wish every young eagle in trouble had such great friends.

Two of the five young Eastern Bluebirds just before they were released last week. They are still in the area and continue to eat the insects put out for them as they integrate into the wild flock that is currently in our area.

Two Red-eyed Vireos are recovering at REGI.  We often receive neo-tropicals such as these beautiful and delicate birds during their migration especially when our temperatures plunge and the insects that they eat are in short supply. 

Just admitted an hour ago a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk from the Stevens Point area. He is suffering the effects of an organo-phosphate toxin.

We continue to be very busy at REGI we are admitting several birds a day including every species imaginable from Trumpeter Swans to Ravens and Red-tailed Hawks thru Bald Eagles.  We currently have about 150 patients. We have done many releases during the past two weeks including 5 Eastern Bluebirds and 9 American Kestrels. 

Katie as she brings the cygnet Trumpeter Swan, admitted from Minnesota, in for the night. Our nights are getting mighty cold in the northwoods and this late baby is still in down and unable to stay warm himself during our frigid nights.

We have so much more to talk about. I wish we could share each patient and all of our days with our incredible patients. Stay tuned... Each day is a new adventure.
Have a great evening everyone.

Marge Gibson

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Herky Update! Bald Eagles x2 admitted, Osprey, Lesser Yellowlegs, Northern Flicker...

Herky the young Bald Eagle from Hayward, WI that arrived on Sunday with her leg wrapped in string from a snare is improving!  She has quite a following from folks in both WI and Iowa! It is great to see people involved with this amazing little lady.

Herky the Bald Eagle from Hayward gets a check-up.  Open wide Herky!!

                                                     Herky with her eyes wide open:)  Yea!!

Herky remains in critical condition but has begun to gain a few ounces.  Starving birds actually continue to lose weight after admission even with supplemental feeding.  Their body is in a negative balance and it takes a bit for that to balance out.  It is a scary thing to see the scale drop but joyful when it starts to move in the other direction.  Herky is being cooperative and seems comfortable with her situation.  She is still receiving antibiotics and an anitfungal drug to prevent aspergillosis which can occur in a bird as compromised as Herky. She is definitely happy about getting food even when it means she is getting it through a tube.  We do not have to restrain her when feeding time comes!  She has begun to make some soft calls which is another step in the right direction.

Herky is aware of the world around her which is different than when she was admitted less than a week ago.  We admitted 2 other Bald Eagles this week and she is aware that they are in enclosures next to her and is interested particularly in the adult.  

This beautiful Bald Eagle from Gilman, WI was poisoned.

We admitted an adult Bald Eagle yesterday from the Gilman, WI area.  He had ingested poison, likely an organo-phosphate. He is still convulsing from the neuro toxic affects.  Before anyone can ask "why"...I will just say it is illegal and should never happen but it does and more often than you imagine.  I will be up all night with this eagle.  He is receiving shots of atropine to counter the affects of the poison on his brain and nervous system about once an hour.  Keep us in your thoughts.  I find myself wishing everyone could be with me as they watch the horrors of what this toxin does to an eagle. If people knew they would be more careful and think things through before putting out bait for wolves and coyotes.  At least I hope they would be.

Exhausted from yet another convulsion the adult Bald Eagle from Gilman rests after being given atropine.

An immature Bald Eagle was hit by a car.
Immature Bald Eagles are so beautiful.  Their plumage is changing from mostly brown to a mottled white and brown.  Our new patient has a wing fracture, but if all goes as expected we are looking for a early winter release.

The Lesser Yellowlegs admitted last week... is STANDING!
Great news on the Lesser yellowlegs admitted after having been hit by a car last week during migration.  He suffered a back injury and was unable to stand until YESTERDAY! This is means he is going to be able to continue on his way south...maybe with a little help from a Wausau company that flies REGI patients south when needed to assist their migration or catch them up to their flock. He still has some conditioning to get him into shape again but his future looks rosy.  He will be heading to South America so like any athlete conditioning is important.

This Northern Flicker was hit by a car yesterday. Sorry about the poor photo,but I take only one photo of patients when they first come in to keep stress to a minimum.  He is already making progress and eating well.

I will get a photo of the osprey today to post soon.  We will be releasing 5 Eastern Bluebirds and several Amercian Robins today!! It has been yet another busy week here at REGI. 

We are havng some issues with the blog today. The spacing is odd and seems unfixable at this time. Please forgive the inconsistancy. We will get it fixed as soon as the program will allow it. :)
Have a great day everyone... enjoy the wildlife around you.

Exhausted in Antigo.
Marge Gibson

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Busy Labor Day Weekend, Bald Eagle Ensnared Near Hayward, Hummingbirds, Nighthawk and Many More

Don and Marge Gibson examine the young bald eagle when she was admitted on Sunday.

This beautiful young Bald Eagle would have died this weekend, if it were not for a family of everyday heros from Iowa that stepped up to the plate to rescue and help transport her to REGI.   Our hats off to the Bill Obenauf family for their tenacity to get her help. It turns out, Bill is a well known radio personality on 97X in the Quad cities.  He gives a terrific description of the rescue and how they came to find the bird in the link provided.   I urge you to read  it as it is well done and has many photos of the rescue. Their response is testimony to what kindness and generosity can accomplish.  In the remote areas of our state we are blessed with plentiful and a huge diversity of wildlife and  few people.  That situation becomes challenging when wildlife becomes injured and needs help.  REGI is located over 3 hours from the site where this youngster was found on an ATV traill.  The snare, which had been there for weeks, had embedded into the eagles leg.  With her leg immobilized, the eagle was not able to capture fish or eat and therefore was slowly starving.

Weighing in at 4 lbs this young Bald Eagle was near death when she arrived at the REGI facility.  She should have weighed about 10 lbs.
Embedded into the leg of a young Bald Eagle, the string was beginning to cut off circulation to the eagles foot.

The snare was a homemade version made from string and a stick. We are not sure what the target was for this snare, but we are pretty sure it was not a Bald Eagle.  Sadly, this type of thing happens far to often. We urge folks to realize that wildlife may accidentally encounter such things and die when they are unable to extricate themselves.  In the great northwoods of WI, that animal may well be an threatened or endangered species.

Tired but warm, alive and happy to have food in her crop, this young eagle now has a future.

The good news is, while she is still in critical condition, the brave young eagle is doing well. She is still on heat and being tube fed liquid food several times a day.  Due to the level of starvation she suffered, she is unable to digest the fish/meat that would be her natural diet.  She has a long road to recovery ahead of her but we are cautiously optimistic for her future. 

Check for updates often as she progresses and regains her health.

The weekend was crazy busy with many new patients being admitted.  Holidays are always busy as that is when families are together and outdoors and encounter wildlife with injures just as the Obenauf family did.

Several Red-tailed hawks, like the one Marge is holding above and Broad-winged hawks were admitted over the weekend.  Broad-winged hawks are beginning their southward bound migration and we can expect many more to come in the next several weeks.  Broad-winged hawks fly all the was through Mexico, Central America, and can go as far as Argentina before they rest for the remainder of the winter. In spring they will head up north again to breed and raise their youngsters.

This beautiful female Nighthawk made contact with a car and broke her wing as she was swooping through the night air hunting insects. Nighthawks eat only insects and are hugely beneficial to humans.

We hope for a full recovery for the nighthawk, but she will miss migration. She will either stay with us for the winter or be transported to the far south to catch up with others of her species. Central America or the Caribbean will be her final destination for the winter.

This Belted Kingfisher is a handsome and spirited bird.  She broke her wing but is rapidly improving.

We raised 7 young Kingfishers this year at REGI. They were released  2 weeks ago. We are told they are happily fishing and squabbling with each other, as siblings of all species seem to do, near their private land release site.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are delicate in stature but strong in character. These two were admitted with wing fractures and are doing well.

We love sharing our patients and their stories with you. We have lots more to tell you including several popular patients that have recently been released to the wild. 
As for now, our patients need attention so that will have to wait for another day.  Thank you everyone for caring about wildlife and supporting our efforts with native wildlife.   REGI receives no state or federal funds even though all of our patients are state and Federally protected species.  It is only through your help that non-profits such as Raptor Education Group, Inc  (REGI) can continue our important work.

Have a great evening,
Marge Gibson