Friday, February 10, 2012

Barred Owl, A Special Volunteer, Visitors from UWSP, and Patient Updates

Things are still going well here at REGI. We have some new patients and a few visitors!

We admitted a Barred Owl that has been hit by a vehicle near Aniwa, WI. His left eye has been injured, but we won’t know the extent of the injury until he opens his eye. He also has a broken wing which has been taped to allow it to heal. The blood you see around his beak in the photo is from his internal injuries. Vehicle strikes produce multiple injuries, which each on their own would be a challenge to overcome. Combining them all at once can be more than some birds can handle. The good news is that he has been standing the past three mornings and appears to be alert. We are very hopeful for this handsome guy. He has a very calm and gentle demeanor and he would make a wonderful father. It is likely that he has a mate in the wild, but luckily Barred Owls have not begun laying eggs quite yet. It would be very difficult for a single parent to raise a nest-full of owlets on their own. We are trying to be optimistic and hope he can return to his mate soon. He will miss out on this breeding season, but he hopefully has many more breeding seasons in his future.

Photo above: This Barred Owl was admitted with a broken wing, internal injuries, and an injured eye due to a vehicle collision.

We had a wonderful donation of venison earlier this week. We are extremely thankful to receive donations such as this road-killed deer, but people may not realize the amount of work that goes into preparing a whole deer for feeding to multiple raptors. The work of a rehabilitator is not just about healing injured birds and releasing them. Most of the time is spent preparing food and cleaning up after hundreds of birds. Meat usually doesn’t arrive at REGI prepackaged and on a tray like it does at the grocery store. Whole animals arrive with fur and guts; most of which needs to be removed. It isn’t a glamorous job, but it is an incredibly important part of being a rehabilitator. We are thankful every single day for these donations and for the hard work of our rehabilitation team.

Photo above: Assistant Rehabilitator, Stacy Wild, and Licensed Rehabilitator, Alberta Halfmann, show off the results of their hard work; deer legs ready for feeding to Bald Eagles.

We want to shine a little spotlight on one of our very dedicated volunteers. Ted Bengtson, a retired dentist from the area, has been volunteering at REGI twice a week since the end of summer. He keeps REGI looking beautiful and keeps us safe by helping with snow and ice removal. Before the snow fell, he groomed the gravel paths leading to each enclosure. On days when there is no snow to shovel, he cleans the floors to perfection. These necessary tasks are sometimes challenging to complete ourselves when we have critical patients in the clinic, paperwork to do, and education programs to present. Thank you, Ted, for all of your help!

Photo above: Volunteer, Ted Bengtson, hard at work.

We had a small group visit us from UW-Stevens Point on Thursday. Two are veterinary students from Japan, Yusaku Watanabe and Tomoka Tsuji. We had a wonderful time getting to know them and showing them around REGI. I really enjoyed learning about the amazing birds of Japan. We share a number of the same species with Japan such as Peregrine Falcons, Long-eared Owls, Short-eared Owls, and Golden Eagles, just to name a few. It was fun watching Yusaku recognize many of the birds we have here in Wisconsin. We showed them proper handling techniques and they were both able to work with a bird on their glove for a short time. An experience they will probably not soon forget!

Photo above: Vet students, Yusaku Watanabe and Tomoka Tsuji, pose with a Harris's Hawk and a Barn Owl.

A bit of sad news... the lovely Spruce Grouse lost her battle with her dog bite injuries. It is a shame that she has to be an example of why it is to important for people to keep their pets under control. The dogs are not at fault, they are only doing what dogs do; people need to step up and take responsibility for their pets. Dogs and cats are not "natural" predators; they were brought here by people. People breed them in excess and let them run wild. For that reason, people are responsible when a pet kills or injures an animal. On top of that, many pets are lost every year to the road; don't let your pet become road-kill. For the sake of wild animals everywhere and for the safety of your own pet, please be a responsible pet owner and keep your pets under control.

I know many of you out there are keeping tabs on Eagles #007 and #008, and beautiful Red-tailed Hawk, Juliet. I am very pleased to tell you that all three are doing well! Thank you for all of your kind words and thoughts. It truly does help.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I hope you can dig out from under all of this beautiful fresh snow!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

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