Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Former TRC Bald Eagle Patient

The Raptor Center received news that a former patient has been successful with his second chance at life! An injured Bald Eagle came into The Raptor Center in late 1997 all the way from Crystal Falls, MI (Iron County), flown in on what was Northwest Airlines at the time. He was at TRC for 13 weeks, during which time he had surgery for an ulnar fracture (wing bone). Surgery was performed by Dr. Jalila Abu, a veterinary resident at that time. Dr. Abu has since returned to Malaysia (after finishing her PhD) and is actively involved in wildlife medicine and teaching at a university there. The eagle was released in the Twin Cities in January 1998.

There is a piece of stainless steel shot at the fracture site and a piece of lead shot (meaning the bird was shot under 2 different circumstances) elsewhere in the body, but not causing any problems. At the time he was admitted he was an adult bird at least 5 years old. That means today he is at least 17 years old.

A local man began watching what he believed to be this very bird starting in October 2003. Since then he’s seen the bird raise multiple families of chicks. He was finally able to read and confirm the USFWS band that was placed on the bird when it was released from the clinic.

Carpenter Nature, a long-time partner of The Raptor Center, was the release site for this bird. They also hold the master permit that The Raptor Center bands under.

These photos were taken by Jon Smithers. There is a YouTube video link here of the adult bird.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kirby the Kestrel's Family

A young, recently fledged male kestrel was found on the bleachers right inside Target Field last week, right before a Twins game. For those of you who follow this blog, you know what that means…it might be “Kirby” the kestrel’s son! The little falcon was healthy, just first learning how to use its wings. Awkward at this stage, young kestrels are often found in a variety of interesting places – on the ground, on top of people’s decks and air-conditioners, etc. Usually they are just fine and the parents continue to feed them as their flying skills improve. Sometimes, however, the youngsters are in unsafe locations and so they are brought to TRC and put through a slow release process, called a hack. It was decided to move him to a safer location to learn to fly and hunt.

Joining the Target Field youngster was a group of four male kestrels that fell victim to the tornado that tore through Blooming Prairie. The wind’s fury knocked their nest tree down (in fact all the trees in the area were affected) and the youngsters, not yet old enough to fly, plummeted to the ground. Amazingly, they were uninjured, and should be old enough to go the release site next week.
Since this is the time of year that many raptors are raising families, the public may have questions about what to do if they find an injured raptor. The Raptor Center answers some of these questions here.
Please consider donating to help us continue our work to keep raptors flying free!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Harley June 7 - 20

Harley moved out of the Sax-Zim bog area, following the St. Louis River north onto the Iron Range. He seems to spend most nights roosting on the river and makes some forays away during the day, which may be him soaring. He spent the last few days near Buhl, MN.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TRC at the Goldstein Museum

The Raptor Center presented a program on the opening night of the Flights of Fancy exhibit at the Goldstein Museum of Design, on the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The topic of the exhibit (and the program TRC presented) was historical and contemporary use of feathers in western fashion, including the origins of feathers commonly used in clothing, the international feather trade, activisim and laws designed to protect endangered bird populations, and the psychological appeal of wearing feathers.

The exhibit is free, and continues to September 12.

The following photos show some of the exhibit pieces, including poster designs by University students. You can see photos of some of TRC's education birds incorporated into the designs!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Peregrines at Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo building in Bloomington had four chicks that were banded. Greg Hansen, veterinary technician, took a blood sample from one chick that will be kept for DNA records.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Checking in with Harley May30 - June 7

On May 31 Harley moved north into St. Louis County. From then until June 7 (our last data info) he made his way north along the Whiteface River which is on the border of the Sax-Zim Bog, which is designated as an Audubon Important Bird Area. His most recent location is just below Meadowlands, MN.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kestrel chick Gets Help from TRC

TRC received its first young kestrel of the season! Sporting blue gray wings and a cinnamon tail, this 3.5 week old male was found walking in a backyard. Somehow, he got displaced from his family and was a little thin and dehydrated. He is doing well and will be put through a slow release process soon.

Many agencies throughout the country have expressed concerns that the population of American kestrels is declining. To help monitor the population, in 2009 TRC launched “Kestrel Watch” a citizen science project to help track kestrel sightings. If you see a kestrel, please contribute to this project by going to the Kestrel Watch site to let us know about it!

Here is some information on what to do if you find an injured raptor.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raptor Center at the Goldstein

The Raptor Center will be at the opening night of the Flights of Fancy - A History of Feathers in Fashion exhibit at the Goldstein Museum this Friday. The event is 6-8pm. The exhibit starts June 12 and goes through September 12. Directions for the museum can be found here. It is on the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.
There will be a brief talk on the natural history of the birds at 6:30.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Red-shouldered Hawk Rescue

You can never have too many friends, as one nestling red-shouldered hawk found out last week. This youngster fell out of its nest in Shoreview, MN and thanks to the caring efforts of several people, received the help it needed. First of all, the home owner found the bird on the ground and contacted TRC for guidance. Then, volunteer Ben Wilson (who supplied two of the photos for this entry) went out to assess the situation and transported the little hawk to the clinic for a physical exam, which was conducted by TRC’s veterinary intern from Columbia, Dr. Paula Castano. Except for a few maggots wiggling in its ears, it was given a clean bill of health. So, the hawk’s care was turned over to Greg Hansen, CVT who immediately took action to arrange for our volunteer tree climber to return the chick to its nest. The following day, Jim Mussell, a dedicated biologist, tree climber and long-standing TRC volunteer, gave the chick the 40’ lift it needed to get back home. When Jim peered into the nest structure, he was met by our young hawk’s two older siblings and then the family was reunited. The last photo is what this youngster will look like as an adult!

This story is just one of many where so many people are involved to make a sucess story. Would you consider donating to help The Raptor Center continue its work?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bremer Peregrines

There were four chicks at the Bremer building in downtown Saint Paul - two females and two males. Irene Bueno-Padilla, one of our veterinary interns, took these wonderful photos of the nest box when the chicks were collected for banding.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Harley's spring travels

On May 28 Harley moved to the northwest and is now just west of Duluth. If he was attempting to nest it apparently did not work out.

We thank Mark Martell, Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Minnesota, again for providing the maps and interpretation for Harley's travels. For this post, Mark created two maps - the first shows Harley's late April/May travels. The second shows his March/April routes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peregine season!

Last week, four peregrine falcon chicks were successfully banded at the Colonnade building. There were three males and one female and each was fitted with federal and bi-colored leg bands. The first nesting attempt at this site was made in 1991, and to date, there have been 66 young produced. The chicks’ nest tray – which overlooks downtown Minneapolis - is reached only by a window-washing carriage, operated by the building’s facilities management.

As the carriage descended and the chicks were removed, the female kept a close watch, repeatedly flying past and vocalizing to defend her chicks. The entire process took about one-half hour and when the chicks were returned, the female was perched on the nest ledge.
The first photo shows the male watching over the chicks. You have a peregrine's eye view of what the chicks will see as they fledge!