Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Patient Update

Hello everyone!  Everything is in full swing here at REGI with patients coming and going and lots of changes happening.  Some of you have been calling hoping to join us on tours but we have had to delay tours for a short time due to the weather and construction.  We are hoping to have everything up and running again starting next week.

A Willow Tree is cleaned up after high winds brought it down in a storm.
We had a round of severe storms sweep through the area last week and are still in the process of cleaning up.  Above you can see our beloved Weeping Willow that gave shelter to many visitors and provided food to many birds being cleaned up after falling in the storm.  This tree was a special place for a releasing many songbirds where they can slowly readjust to being back in the wild while eating from the plentiful feeders.  The Willow was one of many trees that came down around REGI and we are sad to see it go.

Construction workers frame the newest building on the REGI property.
One of the other causes of delay to our tours is a construction project.  Our original REGI building and enclosures, which we called the "Middle Mews", has been torn down and is in the process of being replaced with a new building.  The "Middle Mews" had been at REGI since it's inception in 1990 and were showing serious signs of age.   The new building will house more birds and provide more space for some of our larger raptors.  We will keep you updated at the building process comes along.

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird perches atop her feeder.
This beautiful female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (above) came in suffering from what we suspect to be chemical poisoning.  Herbicide and pesticide use in yards affects wildlife and can be fatal, although many people don't realize the dangers.  Fortunately she seems to be recovering from the neurological effects of the chemicals and we anticipate her release in the near future.  You can often hear her humming in her enclosure as she exercises her wings.

Fluffy American Kestrel chicks are among REGI's many orphans this summer.
Do you recognize the two little American Kestrel chicks (above) from our blog two weeks ago?  They were still tiny balls of fluff but growing rapidly.

Female Kestrel fledgling intently watches the camera.
A young Kestrel already displays the beautiful blue of a male on his wings.
They have already reached their adult sizes and are now gaining their adult plumage although you can still tell they are juveniles by the downy fluff surrounding them, particularly on their heads (see above.)  When you last met them we were just beginning to see the markings that tell us if they are male or female and now it is quite clear.  The Kestrel in the top photo has reddish brown and black barring all across her wings brown streaking on her chest which tell us that she is a female, while the Kestrel on the bottom has blueish gray wings with a lighter smoother chest and black markings telling us that he is a male. 

Northern Flicker preparing for release.
This Northern Flicker (above) came in along with his siblings when their nesting tree came down earlier in the summer.  They were completely naked and the size of a thumb each.  He was recently released and can still be seen hanging around the REGI neighborhood.  You can see the yellow feather shafts on his wings which is indicative of an Eastern bird, Western flickers have red feather shafts on the wings.

A juvenile Bald Eagle joins his new foster father .
Our ever faithful foster Bald Eagle has his first baby of the year (above.)  The eaglet that you met in the last blog has graduated to the flight building and is ready for the care of a foster parent.  Our foster Eagle will care for the young eaglet and show him the ropes as he finished his recovery.  So far the chances for a future release are looking good.

Intern, Kerry McVey, holds a Bald Eaglet in preparation for a feeding.
This young Eagle (above) came in weak and starving at the incredibly low weight of four pounds.  Birds suffering from starvation need to be gradually weaned onto solid foods and must be tube fed for a long period of time.  While the road to recovery will be long for this bird we are feeling hopeful.  He has gained two pounds so far and is continuing to grow.

So, the clinic is packed and we are ever busy!  There are many summer programs coming up in the next weeks.  Keep your eyes on the REGI website events page to follow our events.

Molly McKay
Director of Education

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