Friday, June 16, 2017

Wizarding World of Wildlife Camp at TRC

This week, TRC welcomed summer campers for our popular Wizarding World of Wildlife camp. 

The "herbology" topic included a visit to the CBS Conservatory on the UMN/St Paul campus.  Campers explored how carnivorous plants interacted with their "prey" by enticing it to come to them.  The campers then got to watch TRC staff Ian Dorney feed Lois the education great horned owl, and compare and contrast how owls procured their prey with a much different approach. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meet TRC's Summer Scholar Treana Mayer

Meet Treana Mayer, TRC's
Summer Scholar

We are excited to introduce you to our Summer Scholar, Treana Mayer. The Summer Scholars are veterinary students who have earned the opportunity to work in research with faculty during their summer break. They received grant funding through a competitive process based on proposals they wrote. During the summer, they will work closely with faculty to learn more about the research process as well as take a lead role in one specific project.

“I’m a rising second year doctor of veterinary medicine student right here at the University of Minnesota, with a strong interest in the fields of free roaming wildlife, conservation medicine, and One Health. My background includes an undergraduate degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, and experience working with many types of avian species, including endangered, domestic, and captive-wild birds.

In the future I’m considering an advanced research degree after my DVM, to investigate unknowns regarding wildlife health, and emergent infectious diseases. I am passionate about anthropomorphic climate change, and its impacts on the health of our ecosystems, animal and human communities. In choosing to pursue veterinary medicine, I felt compelled to use this toolset to mitigate human caused impacts to our neighboring species, and to explore adaptive strategies to improve the health of animals and people alike.

This is why I’m most excited to be here at The Raptor Center as a Summer Scholar, to support their mission in the clinic, while working on a research project for reducing subjectivity in body condition scoring. My hope is to contribute towards the greater standardization of wild raptor health data collection, to allow for greater collaboration across organizations, improving our understanding of these amazing birds in the future.”

Friday, June 2, 2017

Celebrating Thirty Years of Peregrines

This 21-day-old peregrine chick now has identifying
leg bands. 
Today, three peregrine chicks - two female chicks and one male - were banded at the historic 33 S. 6th Street/City Center/MultiFoods Tower in downtown Minneapolis. 

This site is historically very important to the Midwest peregrine falcon restoration project.  It was the first urban site to host a “hack box” of peregrine chicks, and the first Minnesota site since the 1960s to produce a wild-hatched peregrine that would fledge successfully. In 1985, Dr. Harrison “Bud” Tordoff and Dr. Patrick T. Redig, co-founder of The Raptor Center, approached the building management team at 33 South 6th Street to inquire about putting a “hack box" (also known as a "release box") on the roof. This release box would house young captive-bred peregrine chicks that would be the start of a reintroduction of the species.

The breeding adults were both at this site last year.  The male is Triumph, b/r 58/P, a 2013 hatch from the Mayo Building in Rochester, MN.  The female, who had previously been at another site in downtown Minneapolis, is b/r 22/X, from a building on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota.

TRC staff provide leadership, technical advice, and administrative support for the Midwest Peregrine Society, which includes 13 Midwest states and two Canadian provinces.

We thank the building management for their generosity in allowing this work to continue.

The history of the Midwest peregrine restoration project, as well as a searchable database for the public to look up individual birds, sites and states, is here.  

Jackie Fallon, Midwest Peregrine Society

The arrow points to where the nest box is

TRC Interpretive Naturalist Mike Billington and Artemis
the education winged ambassador peregrine falcon.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peregrine Falcon Chicks Banded at Wells Fargo

Two male chicks were banded at the Wells Fargo building in Bloomington, MN yesterday.  The female is fourteen-year-old b/g 30/E Speedy, hatched 2003 at the King plant in Bayport, MN, and the male is b/g D/32 MPR2, a 2004 hatch from City Center (33. S. 6th Street) in Minneapolis. The Wells Fargo site has been active since 1997.
Two bands are placed on the legs of each chick; one is a federal USFWS band.  The other is a bi-color band, recognized as a project band, and can be read with a scope or binoculars.  Chicks are banded at about 21 days of age (the Wells Fargo chicks are banded a little younger).  The legs are the size they will be as adults, even though the chicks are not their full adult weight.  The bands are used to identify the birds and provide information many aspects of peregrine falcon biology, including population and distribution, age, and site specifics.

TRC staff provide leadership, technical advice, and administrative support for the Midwest Peregrine Society, which includes 13 Midwest states and two Canadian provinces.  The history of the Midwest peregrine restoration project, as well as a searchable database for the public to look up individual birds, sites and states, is here. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Horned Owlet Gets Help from TRC

We'd like to share a story about a baby raptor patient that got some help from TRC.   If this spring and summer is like most, we will see more than 120 young raptors that will need our expertise.  Will you help The Raptor Center care for and treat these young birds? Please make a springtime gift to our baby shower fund. If TRC can raise $20,000 by Friday, June 16, TRC  board of advisor member, Teresa Daly and her husband Greg Konat, will contribute $5,000 to help baby raptors.
Great horned owlet in new nest in TRC's clinic.

This is the owlet after being settled into new
nest and tree.
As you may already know, owls do not build their own nests. They may move into a stick nest used by crows or hawks the previous year, or they may find a suitable tree cavity in which to lay their eggs.

Previously used stick nests are usually sufficient to support the female while she incubates the eggs*, but as the youngsters grow, the nest can no longer support the increased activity and youngsters often come out prematurely. Strong spring storms and spring landscaping, such as tree removal, add to the challenges nestling owls may face.

This little great horned owlet (first photo) was found in a Minneapolis metro yard after its nest structure was blown down by high winds. Terry Headley, one of TRC’s volunteers, constructed a new nest that would be sturdy and provide proper drainage during our wet spring season. The owlet was placed in the structure in TRC’s treatment room to ensure its new nest was the correct size.

Terry then transported the owlet back to its Minneapolis home. After securing the new nest to a tree, she took a quick photo (second photo) and left so the owl family could be reunited. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rockford Middle School Visits The Raptor Center

The Raptor Center hosted Rockford Middle School recently.  The students engaged in several hands-on learning opportunities such as meeting our clinical staff and learning what it is like to do a physical exam of a raptor patient, how to use data from bald eagle patients with lead in their systems, and how DDT affected peregrine falcon populations.
Interpretive Naturalist Mike Billington talked about
bald eagle patients and lead data from TRC's clinic.

Interpretive Naturalist Dan Hnilicka and Artemis the peregrine
falcon talked about how DDT affected the falcon population.

The students found out how much weight a healthy egg
shell can support.

These visits are part of an ongoing curriculum integration program to create opportunities for schoolchildren to deepen their engagement with environmental topics.  Rockford Middle School was the first to partner with The Raptor Center.  Over the past six years we have partnered together, instructors have shared the impacts these multiple-visits have had on their students.  Students learn critical scientific investigation skills presented as part of the integration program, as well as applications for real-world problem solving within environmental frameworks.  The Raptor Center has appeared at events that Rockford hosts for parents and community members to view and experience the events taking place at the school.