Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hear From TRC Former Clinical Intern Ernesto Domínguez Villegas

Dr. Ernesto Dominguez Villegas, from Mexico, recently completed his clinical internship at The Raptor Center.  While he was here, he worked on a cardiology project looking the hearts of eagles that have been exposed to lead.

He graciously wrote a few lines about this time here at TRC.  We know he will continue to do amazing things, and wish him the very best. 

What I enjoyed?
I enjoyed the everyday working with so many different raptor species. I enjoyed working with great volunteers that they were always willing to share their knowledge and experience. I enjoyed doing clinical and research work to improve our world thru avian and raptor medicine.

What I learned?
Ohh boy!! That is a tough question. I learned so much that is difficult to have a start point. But I think I can summarize all my learning saying that I learned looking at the ecosystem and conservation medicine as a whole. I learned that every patient we admitted is a tiny sample of what is happening outside in our world, and in the ecosystem. Every patient showed us how much we have changed nature, how polluted is the ecosystem, how diseases behave, spread and get controlled in the wild. I learned that wildlife medicine is not just about treating individuals, it is about treating the ecosystem, educate people and do research to improve ecosystem, animal and human health.

What surprised me?
The amount of bald eagles we treated. I was surprised about how many eagles we admit, treat and rehab per year. 

What would I do with the knowledge?
First of all share it. Share it with my colleagues, friends, kids, new and old generations. Second continue improving the knowledge by continue doing research and continue learning about wildlife medicine. 

My time at TRC was just wonderful. It was not just a veterinary experience, it was a life experience. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Peregrine Parents

We have celebrated peregrine falcon chicks recently, but we thought we should highlight the peregrine parents.

The site at the Colonnade building has hosted peregrine families since first nesting attempt in 1991.  The female there is Loree, whose band is b/g 49/E.  She was hatched in 2003, in Monticello, MN.  She has been at this site since 2005 and has been the parent to 41 chicks.

These photos show a pigeon that the male brought to her, and she then brought to the three chicks for lunch, who were banded yesterday.

You can see the b/g 49/E band.
The tenants of Colonnade and their families learned about
the history of this important site, and "their" birds.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Class of 2016 Peregrine Chicks at 33 S. 6th Street

Peregrine chick, with both the project and federal
leg bands.

Four peregrine chicks were banded yesterday at a site in downtown Minneapolis, which has had the names of Multifoods Center, City Center, and currently 33 S. 6th Street.   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 arrow shows where the nest box is.

This year, there were new adults at the site.  The previous male was found dead in spring, presumed to be from injuries related to a territory dispute.  The new male is Triumph, b/r 58/P, a 2013 hatch from the Mayo Building in Rochester, MN.  The new 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.
The public was invited to attend.  There were lots of questions!

RC 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.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Did Rockford Middle School Learn at The Raptor Center?

TRC Interpretive Naturalist Dan Hnilicka
took guesses as to how much weight the egg
could hold.

Students at Rockford Middle School Center for Environmental Studies recently visited The Raptor Center.

They took part in an experiment as part their curriculum learning about food webs, trophic levels, and bioaccumulation. 

A piece was used to help balance the weights that would
be put on the egg.

Healthy peregrine falcon eggshells can support much more than the less-than-two-pound female who sits on them.  However, if the shells are thinner, as an indirect result of chemical ingestion by the bird, the eggs cannot support the weight and are crushed. 
Chicken eggs, very similar in size to peregrine falcon eggs, were used in the demonstration.  This visit is the culmination of a year-long program where The Raptor Center staff brings live raptors into the classroom to give students up-close experiences as they learn about important scientific concepts.