Monday, September 3, 2012

Goshawk, Barred Owl, Red-tails, Broadwing, Nighthawk, & Great-horned Galore

Although baby season has slowed down for this season the clinic is still overflowing with patients. Let's start with a batch of good news. We enjoyed fantastic weather these past couple of weeks which is great for RELEASES. Watching the babies grow up is one of my favorite parts of the summertime. After seeing songbirds come in featherless and pinky-sized and raptors come in looking like abominable snowmen, it's the best feeling in the world to be able to watch them fly freely into the sky in the unruly, teenager phase.

These past couple of weeks gave way to several releases of this summer's babies, and we still have several more to go! Here's some photos of the birds before and during release. The list of released birds included several barn swallows, several Eastern phoebes, cardinal, yellow-rumped warbler (also known as a
butter-butt"), goldfinch, chipping sparrows, bluebirds, a couple of broad-winged hawks, turkey vulture baby, and 10 merlins. The following are photos of some of the released.

 Yellow-rumped warbler before release. See why they get the nickname "butter-butt"?

 Cardinal just before release

 Rehabilitator Brennan opening a box full of songbirds, first out of the gates, a beautiful bluebird

One of several barn swallows released. They all immediately took to the air and began to catch bugs!

 Although she's not quite ready for release yet, this Great-horned owl spends several hours in our long flight hallway each day.

 These two photos were taken right after release. This young turkey vulture graced the blog several weeks back as a white fluff-ball with a black face. After several weeks under the care of a foster parent, this young turkey vulture is soaring high above REGI daily with his new wild family!

We love releases here at REGI. It's always a reason to celebrate. The time and effort put into each individual bird adds up to countless man hours. Even though these birds were ready for release, new patients are coming in daily just beginning their rehabilitation process. We've admitted raptors, wetland birds, and a BABY GOLDFINCH within this past week (I'm not sure what the goldfinch's parental units were thinking when they decided that NOW was a good time to lay eggs). The next several pictures are updates from the clinic and their stories.

This Northern goshawk was found under someone's deck. It most likely had a run in with a window while hunting it's favorite prey... other birds. Her wings are now un-taped from her injury, and she spent several hours in our flight hallway today. The prognosis at this point is great!

This red-tailed hawk came in very thin and a little spacey with what we believe to be West Nile Virus (WNV). The virus is spread through bites of infected mosquitoes. WNV has several effects on birds. Everything from their eyesight to their feathers can be damaged indefinitely. 

 Great-horned owl that entered the clinic after being found in someone's front yard mid-day. Strange behavior for a GHO.

This common nighthawk was also found mid-day. Strange for a bird that flies nearly exclusively in the dusk and night hours. Although they have "hawk" in their name don't let it fool you, they only prey on insects. As of right now he eats every half-hour and can handle nearly 15 waxworms at a time!

Barred owl that came in very thin. He's been on a liquid starvation diet since admittance, and will likely begin to eat solid foods again soon

 Another red-tailed hawk exhibiting signs of WNV.

Getting just as much attention as the raptors is this little sora that was found under someone's vehicle. A strange place since they are mostly found in thick vegetation wetlands. He's thin, but is fattening up as we speak.

Although the songbird babies have flown the proverbial nest, the clinic is still very busy. WNV seems to be hitting the raptor world hard this year in the Wisconsin northwoods, and each bird that enters the clinic comes in a very critical state. Several of these birds come in very weak, emaciated, and spooked. One minute you look into their eyes and everything is okay, the next minute they are looking at you as if you were a giant purple monster and exhibiting more aggression. Each bird is handled with extreme care.

Time to head out for the day! Remember... REGI TOURS HAVE BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH SEPTEMBER! Tours will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10AM. Spots are limited, and pre-registration is required. Please call (715)623-2563 to reserve your spots!

- Katie Rymer, Assistant Avian Rehabilitator 

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