Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Patients, Summer Interns, and Tours Start Soon!

Greetings! The month of May is quickly coming to a close and I did a quick count of the patients we've admitted so far. I counted just over 70 patients since May 1st and we still have a few days to go! No wonder the clinic has been buzzing with activity. I unfortunately cannot introduce you to all of the 70+ new patients  so I've selected just a few.

Remember the little Sandhill Crane colt from the last blog post? Well today he's nearly 2 feet tall! Young cranes grow so incredibly fast. 

This gorgeous bird is a male Northern Harrier (formerly known as Marsh Hawk). Harriers are one of the few species of raptors in which you can easily tell the sexes apart. Males, like the one above, are a light grey color and have been nicknamed "the grey ghost." Females are a pretty brown color. This hawk was found along a road laying on his back. Of course we don't know for sure because the hawk cannot tell us what happened, but we hypothesize he has been hit by a car. After a whole day of being unable to stand, he delighted us all by getting up on his feet Monday afternoon! 

This lovely bird is a Great Crested Flycatcher. He came in with a broken wing. His wings are taped now and when they heal he will be placed in our passerine flight building to regain his strength. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but the prognosis for this little guy looks great.

This stunning male Indigo Bunting came in after colliding with a window. He has been placed in our passerine flight building to recover. He is currently unable to fly, but we will continue to monitor his improvements.  

These three little baby American Crows were blown 80 feet from their nest during the harsh winds last week. It's incredible that they survived such a high fall, but at least one of them is suffering from internal bleeding. Once their health improves they will hopefully be placed back where they came from so their parents can continue to raise them. Baby crows have a big apatite and a big gaping mouth! They also have light blue eyes for the first few months of their lives. 
These teeny baby birds have us a bit stumped. At this age it can be difficult to determine the species of baby birds because so many species can look similar as nestlings. We are thinking they may be Chipping Sparrows, but for now they are lovingly referred to as "LBJs"- little brown jobs.  

These little nestlings are Northern Flickers. They came in as tiny, pink, naked little things and they've grown incredibly fast. They are beginning to grow their feathers which has helped us identify them. Flickers are interesting woodpeckers because you usually find them on the ground instead of high up in trees like other species of woodpeckers. Flickers eat ground-dwelling insects, like ants and beetles, which is why they're frequently found pecking at the ground. 

Last week our interns began their 3-month summer internships with us and we have an additional visitor from Turkey! They are all working very hard this morning, but I managed to snap a few photos of them so I could introduce you to them.

Intern, Sarah (left) and Turkish Veterinarian, Aysegul (right) are carefully tube feeding the Northern Harrier. Aysegul has come all the way from Turkey for the summer to learn more about avian rehabilitation. We are thrilled to have her joining us! 
Intern, Sarah from the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities is a fisheries and wildlife major with a pre-vet and wildlife emphasis. She is transferring some ducklings to an outside enclosure for the day. 

Intern, Maddie from Humbolt State University in California is a wildlife management and conservation major. She is transferring the young American Crows in the box she's holding to the clinic for the day. I didn't notice the giant blue dumpster from our recent construction behind her until I had already taken the photo. Hopefully we'll have time to update you on our construction projects soon!

I'll introduce you to the other interns next time :)

REGI summer tours are beginning again soon! The first tour day is Thursday, June 7th.

Where: Raptor Education Group, Antigo, WI.
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the 2nd Saturday of each month from June through August at 10:00am and 1:00pm. Pre-registration is required. 
Cost: $8/person (children under five are free)
Have you ever looked a bird of prey in the eye? We invite you to join us in discovering the powerful beauty and unique adaptations of raptors at our facility in Antigo, WI. Let the REGI education team guide you as we explore the wonderful world of hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons.
Tours are an entirely outdoors and are subject to the weather, please come prepared. 
Please call (715) 623-2563 to reserve your spot(s) as space is limited.

That's all for today! Have a great week everyone!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Incredibly Busy Weekend!

Hello everyone. Boy, did we have an absolutely crazy weekend here at REGI. The education team held a special event celebrating migratory birds and the rehabilitators admitted over 14 new patients! I've selected just a hand full of the patients to introduce you to now.

These two Barred Owlets came from the same nest but on two different days. Their condition suggests that they have been affected by rodenticide. It is likely that their parents were hunting and caught a mouse (or a few mice) that had consumed mouse poison. Not knowing that the mice contained poison, they fed the mice to their babies and probably ate some themselves. The parents may have become too weak to hunt or care for their young, leaving them very ill and orphaned. These two have luckily been rescued by caring individuals, but sadly there may have been more in the nest that have not been found. Their condition is poor, but they are growing stronger each day. Soon they will be placed with our adult foster father Barred Owl. Click here to watch a video of these two Barred Owlets gulping down their lunch. 

This adult Barred Owl was hit by a car near Weston, WI. He may have injured his tail which is essential for flight. We will continue to monitor him for improvements. His expression says it all... he doesn't feel well. 

This Sandhill Crane colt (baby) was found orphaned in Minnesota. His rescuers kept an eye on him for over an hour with no sign of the parents. When they were certain that his parents weren't coming back for him, they caught him up and took him to Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC). Rehabilitation centers frequently work together for the best possible outcome for the patients. REGI is known for successfully raising Sandhill Cranes, so WRC transferred the little tyke here to Wisconsin. He is the first crane colt of the season here at REGI, but will likely not be the last. 

This little guy has had quite a terrifying experience. Someone was mowing their lawn and was unable to stop in time or swerve around this little fledgling. Luckily for this little guy, the mower blades were high enough as to not chop him to bits. He survived with a few abrasions but things could have been much worse. At this young age identifying the species can be tricky. We are tentatively thinking that he is a Song Sparrow, but he just may prove us wrong. 

Another Great Horned Owlet has joined the family. Like the Barred Owlets mentioned earlier, this little owlet is likely a victim of rodent poison. She has been placed with our foster father Great Horned owl whom you can see in the background of this photo. The owlet looks giant in the photo, but that's only because she's much closer to the camera lens. 

This female domestic bronze Turkey has found herself lost. She weighs over 30 pounds and thinks she is a lapdog. This turkey is clearly someone's lost pet and wants to find her way home again. If you know someone who has lost their pet turkey near Antigo, WI, please give us a call. (715) 623-4015.

This past Saturday, May 12th was the 20th anniversary of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)! IMBD falls of the second Saturday each May and was created to celebrate birds and motivate the public to become involved in bird conservation. To get the community of Antigo involved in IMBD and excited about birds, we held our second annual "Celebrate Birds" event in Antigo's city park. We kicked off the day with a morning hike along the Springbrook trail boardwalk. Our quaint little group got to see wonderful migratory birds like Soras and Common Yellowthroats. In the afternoon we headed over to the city park for a live bird show and fun activities. I took a few photos of the festivities. Enjoy!

There was a station where children could design bird masks to look like one of their favorite species of birds. Ella is creating a male Indigo Bunting and Manning is creating an Eastern Screech Owl.

Manning's mask looks awesome! He sure looks like an Eastern Screech Owl :)

There was a station to build pine cone bird feeders. The kids didn't mind getting their fingers full of peanut butter one bit!

Ethan looks pretty pleased with his bird feeder!

There was a game designed to challenge kids to think about the function of differently shaped beaks and how each beak is perfectly designed for the food that the bird eats. Ella got every single one right! Great job!

At the end of the event people were able to build their own blue bird houses! The pieces to the houses were sold as kits and were all cut out and prepared by one of our wonderful volunteers, Denny Stenstrom. Thank you, Denny, for cutting the lumber for these wonderful houses. We have plenty of extra blue bird house kits if any one out there is interested. We are selling them here at REGI for only $10. We also have completed blue bird houses on sale for $20. Sorry, we cannot ship the kits or the houses, but you can pick one up if you visit us for a summer tour. Click here for more information about REGI summer tours!

Alex and his father completed their blue bird house perfectly. It looks great! I love that he built the house while wearing his Bald Eagle mask the whole time!
We had a wonderful time at our "Celebrate Birds" event! We would like to thank our volunteers for helping us prepare and run the event and everyone who came out to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with us. We look forward to next year!

That's all I can fit in for today! Molly and I are just about to head out for an evening program at Maine Elementary near Wausau, WI. It should be a fun night!
Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Owl Releases, Ducklings, Pine Siskins, Barn Swallow, and a Woodcock

Good afternoon everyone. It seems like every moment it gets busier here at REGI. The education department is doing programs just about every day and the rehabilitation team is seeing many new patients brought through the doors. Definitely no dull moments around here! We have a few new patients we'd like to introduce you to.

This baby American Woodcock was transported from another facility in Wisconsin to REGI for care. He was found sitting still alone on a path. The people who found him did not realize that woodcocks hold still to camouflage themselves when they sense danger. It is likely that his mother was just a few feet away, also holding still as to not be detected. Upon examination, this youngster has proved to be perfectly fine. Unfortunately, he was unintentionally kidnapped because the well-meaning people who found him didn't understand the natural behaviors of woodcocks. If you find a bird that you think may need help, please call REGI before catching the bird and we can help you determine the best way to help it. 

These Mallard ducklings are orphans from three separate families. They have come from various locations, each with a different tale to tell. One was found completely alone in the Wisconsin River. A very caring individual put on big waders and splashed into the river to rescue the little duckling. The three of them have become a very tight little family even though none of them are related.

This Barn Swallow is suffering from starvation. These amazing little birds spend summers here in North America and winters in South America. It is likely that he returned to Wisconsin after his long migration when we were seeing unseasonably warm days. These beautiful and graceful birds eat only insects and they do so while in flight. When you see swallows zooming through the air it is likely that they are catching little insects you may not even see. When our weather turned from warm to cool in April the numbers of insects declined. He was unable to find enough food for himself and he began to starve. Because these birds swallow food in flight, they are notoriously difficult to feed in captivity. This little man has us all very excited because he is responding very well and is eating with some encouragement. We aren't out of the woods yet, but we are pleased with his improvements!

We don't have photographs for these next patients, but they have important stories nonetheless. We admitted three Pine Siskins each with injuries from being bitten by cats. Sadly, these three birds have passed away from their severe bite wounds. We are constantly telling people how dangerous it is to let their pets run loose, yet we continue to see so many victims from cat and dog bites here at REGI. Dogs and cats are extremely dangerous for not only birds, but for many other wild animals. Please, keep your pets in the house or on a leash to spare the lives of birds as well as for the safety of your pets. 

REGI recently did a program for the First Universalist Unitarian Church in Wausau and they collected donations for us! When Samantha presented Marge with the check, Julie, the Western Red-tailed Hawk was so excited with the donations that she tried to take the check for herself! We explained to Julie that she would be paid in mice instead and she thought that was a fair trade. Thank you First Universalist Unitarian Church!

We also celebrated the release of a few of our owl patients! Three Great Horned Owls and a Barred Owl have recovered completely and are now back in the wild where they belong. Owls are nocturnal creatures so we release them at night. This makes getting decent photographs of owl releases a bit of a challenge. We managed to get a few photos for you to enjoy.

This lovely little female Barred Owl just passed her final examination and is about to spend the rest of her days back in the wild! (Photo by Don Gibson)

Marge gives the Barred Owl a few moments to gather her thoughts. It is at this point when the owl realizes she will soon be back home. (Photo by Don Gibson)

The dark spot in the middle of the photograph is one of the three Great Horned Owls that were released.  We wish them good luck in their "second" lives and we hope they never have to come back to REGI again! (Photo by Alberta Halfmann)

That's all for today. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Karissa Mohr
Wildlife Educator