Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet the Record-Breaking TRC Patient

Barred owl patient 16-915 resting in a
patient cage.
This barred owl patient, admitted to our clinic from Rogers, MN, is case number 16-915.  That is significant because it means that this bird “broke” our record for most wild raptor patients admitted in one year to our clinic.  The record was set in 2013 at 914 patients.

The bird has a coracoid (similar to a human collarbone) fracture on its left side, and several small lesions on the left eye, from unknown trauma.  It was hatched this year, so it is only a few months old, though it is as big as it will get (between 1 ½ and 2 pounds.)

You can see the coracoid fracture at the arrow mark.

This is one lucky bird since TRC’s clinic staff has extensive experience with injuries such as this.  More often than not, immobilizing the wing and giving supportive care while the injury heals has been successful.  This is one of the few fractures in wild birds that actually have better outcomes without surgery. 

The Raptor Center depends on public support to continue work such as this.  We anticipate many more sick and injured patients to arrive in our clinic as the winter season approaches.  Can we depend on you to help us be there? You can give a gift here

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Care and Management of Captive Raptors Workshop

Before working on handling the education raptors,
a tutorial is done on the fine points using a
stuffed hawk.
This week, The Raptor Center is hosting 24 participants from 15 states and one Canadian province for our Care and Management of Captive Raptors Workshop.  Behavioral training techniques for education, handling, enhance your organization's message through live education animals, and basic exam procedures were just a few of the topics covered with our world-renowned staff.
Workshop participants practice and ask questions before
handling TRC education birds. 

Artemis the peregrine falcon is a terrific teacher!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Youth RaptorCorp Serves Up Enrichment and Supper for Nero the Turkey Vulture

Dan Hnilicka, TRC Interpretive Naturalist, talks to YRC.

It's October, and that means two things at The Raptor Center; the start of our youth service program, Youth RaptorCorp, and locally sourced pumpkins!  What do they have to do with one another?

Youth RaptorCorps is our long-standing program where young naturalists (grade 5-8) learn about raptor natural history, the environment we share, and how we can impact them.  They also complete service learning projects.

Pumpkins, which are now easy to find, are great for enrichment for our education raptors.  They can be carved, with strategic openings, and the raptors' food can be placed inside.  This encourages Nero's natural behavior to put his head inside "cavities" (carrion) to find his food. 

Last night was our first meeting of the 2016/2017 Youth RaptorCorp.  They carved pumpkins for Nero and other education raptors, and watched as Nero then obtained his supper from inside.  Thank you to YRC, and to Nickie M for the photos.

Nero approaches the pumpkin.

Nero has to pull his supper out of one of the
"cavities" created in the pumpkin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meet TRC's Newest Friend Savannah . . . Writer, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Savannah, TRC program manager Gail Buhl, and Lois the
great horned owl.

We couldn’t wait to share a terrific story of a young lady we recently met.  Savannah J. came out to the Fall Raptor Release event.  She had written a book about a snowy owl.  This owl loved math, science and reading.  We have a couple of pages of the book included in this post.

Savannah “sold” this story, and donated the money to The Raptor Center.

We can’t think of a better way to show how this next generation is going to change the world, through interest in science and math, and an incredible sense of wanting to make a difference.   

Thank you to Savannah and her family for letting us share this story.

This is the cover of Savannah's book.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Belly Bands

Many of our visitors ask us how we can tell our winged ambassador red-tailed hawks apart.  One way is the different belly band markings on each bird.  Here are two examples; the first one is Bailey, and the second is one of our newer red-tailed hawks who does not have a name yet.

Bailey's belly band
New (unnamed) red-tail's belly band
New red-tailed hawk (unnamed)

Red-tailed hawks are common raptor species for many of us in our neighborhoods.  The Birds of North America Online (Cornell) tells us, "the species varies greatly across its range, with up to 16 subspecies recognized by various authorities. Races are usually distinguished by ventral coloration, tail markings, and/or size, but there is no clear geographic trend in any of these characters.

A dark belly band, present in most Red-tails, is not sufficient for species identification.  Plumage color and pattern are highly variable in some populations, and individuals may be broadly classified as light or dark morphs."