Friday, January 6, 2012

Wrapping up 2011, New Years Patients, Eagle Releases, and More!

Can you believe that 2012 is here already?! 2011was a busy year for REGI. We treated literally hundreds of patients, 76 of those were Bald Eagles, and 22 of those eagles were babies!

One of the highlights of the year was the successful rehabilitation and release of 7 poisoned eagles. It was a first for REGI and the world, as there are no records of any bird surviving this kind of toxin. It is normally 100% fatal! Imagine our joy to see them pull through this. Some of you may have been here with us to see them fly free. You can read what Fish & Wildlife Service had to say about this momentous occasion on their website.

Photo above: Katie Farvour releases one of the 7 Bald Eagles on June 1, 2011 (Photo: Karissa Mohr)

We have another big release coming soon! Saturday, January 14, we will be releasing Bald Eagles at Eagle Days in Prairie du Sac, WI. Prairie du Sac is prime eagle watching territory along the Wisconsin River. Hundreds of eagles gather there to take advantage of open water. This is a perfect opportunity to release juveniles, as the adults are there to guide them through their entrance to the wild world. We have about 30 eagles, juvenile and adult, who are destined for release at different times over the next month! Eagle Days is a public event, with releases by Marge and many activities for families. We hope you will all join us!

Photo above: Marge Gibson introducing the public to one of the eagles that was about to be released at an Eagle Days event.

We received so much support from all of you through the year! We ended the year with a very special Christmas surprise, Lori Schubring, from Wild Birds Unlimited in Wausau, brought us a truckload of donations which we talked about in our last blog. Well, Lori has amazed again, and started off the New Year with a bang! After hearing our plea for someone to transport a donation of mice, rats, and quail from Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee she conspired with her brother, Brian Thiede who lives in Richfield, to bring them to us! This morning they showed up with an entire truckload of food for the birds!

Thank you Lori and Brian, for the time, miles, and commitment to getting us the food we need! Marge and I were talking this morning about what a rare gift it is to have someone like Lori in our lives. When working in rehabilitation you see the very best, and the very worst of people. It is easy to become jaded. But people like Lori remind us that there are good people out there, she truly is one of the best.

Photo above: Lori and Brian work along with Katie and Stacie to unload the truck. (Not only did they deliver, but they helped with the unloading too!)

Photo above: Our newest education bird in training, Lou, enjoys a delicious mouse shortly after our big delivery came in. Yum!

Things in the clinic just don't seem to be slowing down. While the many eagle patients have moved up to larger enclosures or flight spaces we still have smaller patients in need of care. We have patients from the very end of 2011 in the clinic, and our 1st patient of 2012 has arrived.

Photo above: This little Downy Woodpecker is the first patient of 2012.

He came in just after the start of the year from Portage County. Found on the ground, and not flying his rescuers brought him in to the Humane Society. While humane societies don't typically deal with wildlife this little woodpecker was lucky enough to be brought to one that is aware of our facility. They called us right away! Downy Woodpeckers are tiny little things, only 5-6 inches in length, and look very similar to Hairy Woodpeckers. The easiest way to differentiate is to look at the beak. The beak of a Downy is about half the length of their head, and the Hairy's beak is about equal in length to their head.

Photo above: A beautiful Great-Horned Owl patient well on his way to recovery.

This large and lovely owl was found trapped in a fence in the Wausau area. He was found near the ground with his feathers tangled in the chain-link. It looks as though he got a bit too close to the fence while hunting, you could see tracks of a little rodent right in his path. Fortunately we found someone to untangle his feathers and bring him in for examination. He injured his wing slightly during his struggle, but the injury appears to be superficial, and he is on the road to release already. We have 2 Great Horned Owls in the clinic right now. If you are spending time in the woods this winter keep your ears open. Great Horned Owls are the earliest nesters, and you can begin to hear them calling for their mate starting in late January!

2012 is off to a great start! We hope to see you soon.

Molly McKay
Director of Education

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