Friday, December 30, 2011

TRC 2012 Calendar

If you haven't purchased your 2012 Raptor Center calendar, we still have some available at our front desk, or through the University's Bookstores online! They are $20, and the proceeds go to support our winged ambassadors who help us reach 200,000 people each year, of every age and from every walk of life.

The calendar has photos of our education staff birds, as well as our clinic and flight activities.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TRC Clinic census Dec 28

We have received 710 patients so far this year. We currently have 47.

Bald Eagle - 11

Hawks - Buteos
Red-tail - 10
Rough-legged - 1

Hawks - Accipiters
Sharp-shinned - 1

Peregrine - 3
Merlin - 1

Great horned - 10
Barred - 4
Snowy - 2
Short-eared - 1
Eastern screech - 1
Northern Saw-whet - 1
Long-eared - 1

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank you and Happy Holidays from TRC

The Raptor Center would like to thank each and every one of our friends for their support this year. We couldn’t continue our work without you. Whether you have already made a gift this year or plan to, please know that each one has the power to make a difference in the lives of raptors and humans alike.

Please accept our wishes for a happy and safe holiday season, and we hope to see you soon in 2012.

Click here for an e-card from TRC!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Raptor Center Research Grant

The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) selected a Raptor Center project for funding in the second round of awards for its Mini Grant program. In the project, "Spent Lead Ammunition and Bald Eagles: A Model for Dealing With Conflicts in Ecosystem Health," principal investigator (and Raptor Center co-founder) Dr. Patrick Redig and colleagues will develop a proposal for a mock congressional hearing on a mock policy considering use of non-lead ammunition for deer hunting in Minnesota. The IonE Mini Grant program encourages collaboration on environmental themes among faculty, staff, and students across University of Minnesota disciplines, units, and campuses.

Monday, December 12, 2011

TRC clinic patient census December 12

We have received 682 patients so far this year. We currently have 48.

Bald eagle - 11

Hawks - Buteos
Red-tailed hawks - 12
Rough-legged hawk - 1

Hawks - Accipiters
Cooper's hawk - 1

Peregrines - 3
Merlin - 1

Great horned - 9
Snowy - 2
Northern Saw-whet - 2
Long eared - 2
Barred - 2
Short eared - 1
Eastern Screech-owl - 1

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Update on Harley the Bald Eagle

Early this fall, we lost signal from Harley’s transmitter. The last few transmissions were from northern Minnesota. We searched the area fairly thoroughly and finally concluded we had lost contact.

We have a few ideas on what may have happened to the transmitter: Harley’s transmitter is faulty and just stopped working, has fallen off and broke, or he has gotten into some other trouble.

While his transmitter was set and designed with a “mortality signal” which starts to transmit when the unit has not moved for 24 hours, the signal has never gone off. Many of you may remember that we had transmission problems around last Christmas 2010, while Harley was in Arkansas. After a brief period of time, the transmitter came back on-line with no outside assistance. We were hopeful that this was the case again this time, but it doesn’t appear to be so.

While we will miss continuing to follow Harley’s travels, it is amazing to reflect on how much we learned from watching one eagle’s movements. The scientists among us will be quick to acknowledge that one set of data points don’t tell us about a whole species, but Harley did have some very interesting travels, including his winter in Arkansas, several summer jaunts to the Northern Minnesota and the Canadian border and quite a bit of time in Wisconsin, near where he was originally recovered. We look forward to incorporating this data into some new lesson plans for school age children. We wish Harley the best, wherever he is.

(For background on Harley's story, click here)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snowy Owls in the News

TRC's Dr. Julia Ponder was quoted in a recent WCCO (CBS) story about Snowy Owls.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of those rare treats of Mother Nature. A bird seldom seen south of the Canadian border is becoming a common sight among many this winter, as Minnesotans come face to face with the snowy owl.
“They typically stay up in the tundra,” said Mark Martell, the director of bird conservation for Audubon Minnesota.
According to Martell, the eruption of snowy owls all across the state is the result of bare cupboards in Canada.
“They feed on Lemmings, which are cyclical, die off and when that happens, the young birds have to come south to find food,” explained Martell. “That’s what they’re doing.”
What’s so unusual is that the snowy owls are coming down in such large numbers. Hundreds have been sighted all across the northern tier states, even as far south as Kansas. On Tuesday, a snowy owl was photographed near the entrance to New York City harbor.
Here in Minnesota, they are being spotted largely in open areas and farm country, even Fort Snelling National Cemetery and MSP International Airport. The owls prefer open terrain because it is similar to the openness of the tundra, said Martell.
“We’ve had four come in so far this year,” said Dr. Julie Ponder of the University of Minnesota’a Raptor Center.
Ponder says it’s a bit unusual that the clinic is seeing more adults than juveniles, as has been the experience in past years. Ponder explains that the smaller owls are typically more prone to starvation than the adult birds.
“Usually, we’ll have seen the ‘snowys’ come in by now. The first ones are down and if they don’t figure out another food source, they starve,” said Ponder.
Getting enough food to eat is just one of the challenges. Because their normal habitat is complete wilderness, the owls are unfamiliar with vehicle traffic and power lines. Most of the owls that get admitted to the Raptor Center suffer a combination of starvation or broken bones.
Ponder added they will be bracing for more owls in the coming weeks, as word spreads and wildlife enthusiasts keep careful watch for these rare birds from the north.
“It’s pretty dramatic to see a huge white owl,” said Ponder.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

American Kestrel Next Boxes at TRC

Members of our Youth Raptor Corp (YRC) have constructed American Kestrel nestboxes for sale at The Raptor Center.

These boxes are used by American Kestrels, which are small, cavity-nesting falcons. The first two photos are of the boxes for sale ($25, and includes nest box placement instructions). The last photo is an example of a female chick who has nested in a similar box.

YRC is a service learning club for students in grades 5-8. The members gain an understanding of raptors and the world they share with humans with hands on activities, instructional sessions with staff and volunteers, and reading about raptor topics.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TRC Clinic Census November 29


Bald Eagle 15

Hawks - Buteos

Red-tailed Hawk 12

Red-shouldered Hawk 1

Rough-legged Hawk 1

Hawks - Accipiters

Sharp-shinned Hawk 0

Northern Goshawk 0

Cooper's Hawk 1


American Kestrel 0

Peregrine Falcon 4

Merlin 1

Gyrfalcon 0


Great Horned Owl 10

Short-eared Owl 2

Northern Saw-whet Owl 2

Barred Owl 2

Eastern screech-owl 1

Snowy Owl 1

Long-eared Owl 1

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Barred Owl Patient at TRC

One of The Raptor Center's current 55 patients is a barred owl. It was found in the chimney of a house – by people who were in the process of moving into the house! Owls are cavity nesters, and also choose cavities to roost in. Human-made structures such as chimneys have been choices for several owl species, especially when the owls find heat coming through these openings in our approaching colder weather. The owl had some broken feathers and was dehydrated, but the prognosis is good to release the bird back into the wild. (As you look at the photos with this message, note the soot around the bird's eyes. This is from being in the chimney. These photos were taken very early in the bird's treatment. The area around the eyes is very delicate, and soot is a substance that often takes multiple cleanings to completely remove from feathers.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great article on TRC Volunteers!

The University of Minnesota's University Relations department visited TRC recently. They met with Dr. Robert Kriel and Sue McCarthy, two Tuesday Education Crew members. There is a great article here, and it is on the slideshow for the main U of M page for the next few days! Thank you to Bob and Sue, and all our wonderful volunteers!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank you from TRC

To our friends, volunteers and loyal donors - please accept a warm thank you for your support on Give to the Max Day. In additional to your wonderful contributions we were thrilled to receive the super-sized Golden Ticket. This $10,000 bonus was added to the gift of one of our loyal Wednesday afternoon crew volunteers. In total more than $73,000 was raised.

You give us such inspiration and we are thankful for each and every gift. Thank you from all of us at The Raptor Center.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Give MN is Nov 16!

Join us as Minnesotans come together in a cornucopia of giving. This year, you will DOUBLE your impact when you give to The Raptor Center through on November 16. Thanks to two loyal TRC donor families, Rachel and Denny Hollstadt and the Sarah J Andersen Fund of the Hugh J Andersen Foundation, the first $27,000 in gifts will be matched! Help us spread the word about this wonderful opportunity. Help us to Max the Match!

Your gifts help provide resources needed to rehabilitate sick and injured birds, help educate conservation-minded veterinarians and veterinary students, and allow us to reach out to the community with our unique educational programs.

If the opportunity to double your impact isn’t enough, there are more ways to help. Each hour, one donor will be selected at random to receive an elusive golden ticket. This golden ticket will add $1,000 to the donor’s charity of choice! For you night owls, please consider making your gift anytime after 12:01a.m. on Wednesday, November 16. This will increase The Raptor Center’s chances of getting a least one golden ticket. Multiple gifts given by individuals also increase the likelihood of winning a golden ticket!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

MN Conservation Volunteer Story on TRC Patient Wins Award

The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine, published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, covered a TRC patient in their March April 2011 issue. Kathleen Weflen, Editor in Chief of the magazine, and the article's writer, informed TRC that this article won a gold aware from Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association for Best Profile article. The two photos in this post are of Kathleen with the bird, before she released it, and the second one of the bird, as it is perched after release.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Give to the Max Day November 16

Launched in November 2009, "Give to the Max Day" is an annual day for Minnesotans to come together to raise as much money as possible for nonprofits in 24 hours. Last year, nearly $10,000 for raised for TRC. Rachel & Denny Hollstadt and the Sarah J. Andersen Fund of the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation have agreed TO MATCH all gifts up to $27,000! The Raptor Center's page is here; please take the opportunity to view our video, too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Care and Management conference at TRC

Seventeen people from across the United States and Canada came to The Raptor Center for four intense days of study with clinic and education staff. They came to learn skills to manage and care for raptors that are used for educational programs. Topics include emergency medical care, training raptors for programs and what you need to set up enclosures. The Care and Management of Captive Raptors Workshop is held once a year in October.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Northern Saw-whet owl visits TRC clinic twice in 10 months

Thanks to the aluminum band encircling her lower leg, NWSO 10-669 (Northern Saw-whet Owl) helped tell us a bit about her story. After spending only 2 days with us last December to recover from mild head trauma, the owl was fitted with a USFWS band and returned to its recovery location in Shorewood, MN.

Now, after colliding with a window and breaking her right wing in Coon Rapids, the small owl once again was brought to TRC. Where did she spend her spring and summer? Did she migrate to northern latitudes or hang out in the metro area?

We only see about 5 banded birds each year and often they leave us with many intriguing questions. However, they also provide us with invaluable information on the perils they face, the effectiveness of rehabilitation techniques, and how their traditional movements and behaviors change in a dynamic world.

The two photos in this post are not of the individual mentioned, but rather pictures of the species for illustration. The first photo is very dark, but does show a band on the leg. The next photo is also of a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Duke Lecture a Success!

Thank you to everyone for making the 2011 Duke Lecture a success! TRC's Executive Director, Dr. Julia Ponder, and Lori Arent, TRC's Clinic Manager, shared their experiences with the Galapagos Hawks as part of an important project in several of the Galapagos Islands. Keep checking back to our website for information on how to view the lecture online!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Duke Lecture tonight!

Tonight is our annual Duke Lecture. The topic is Galapagos: Fragile Past, Brigher Future. Dr. Julia Ponder and Lori Arent will share their experiences as part of the Galapagos project they were a part of. Event seating is full, but there is a Wait List available. Thank you to all, and we look forward to seeing you tonight!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Enrichment at TRC

The Raptor Center feels it is very important to make sure our education birds are healthy, mentally as well as physically. Since they see over 200,000 people each year as representatives of their wild cousins, it is a big responsibility to make sure that they get the best care possible. In the wild, raptors like the Turkey Vulture spend a great deal of their time searching for food and then tearing and extracting it. The education staff/intern and volunteers at The Raptor Center created some Halloween-themed ways to hide Nero’s food so he had to spend time figuring out how to get to it. This exercise is called enrichment.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Recent Clinic Case for TRC

Fall is a time of change - temperatures cool, leaves transition from green to beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red; and many species of birds take to the sky as they begin their annual migration south. During this time, TRC sees several raptor species not seen during other seasons of the year. One such species is the short-eared owl. This widely distributed medium-sized owl is a bird of open grasslands, marshes and the tundra. It has an extensive range from Alaska, throughout North and South America, and even can be found on some islands in Galapagos (600 miles west of Equador). Birds in the extreme northern part of this range migrate south, the distance not well known. However what is known is that increased movements predisposes them to injuries and that is why TRC’s clinic treats a few each fall.

TRC case number 11-535 is an adult female short-eared owl injured in Floodwood, MN on 10/2/11. She suffered an open fracture of the right humerus from an unknown cause and underwent surgery to align and stabilize the fracture under the skilled hands of Dr. Irene Bueno, TRC’s veterinary resident from Spain. The bird is in the early stages of recovery and is doing well. It will take a good month for the fracture to heal, after which the owl will move into the reconditioning component of her recovery program.

Monday, October 10, 2011

TRC Patient Census Oct 10

We currently have 53 patients, and have admitted 560 so far this year.

Bald eagles 15

Red-tailed hawk 13
Broad-winged hawk 3
Cooper's hawk 4
Sharp-shinned hawk 1
Northern Goshawk 1

Peregrine falcon 3
Merlin 3

Great-horned owl 7
Short-eared owl 1
Northern Saw-whet owl 1

Turkey Vulture 1

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Digital Bridge Workshop November 19

The Raptor Center is offering a free workshop to teachers on November 19, at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, MN. It is part of the Digital Photography Bridge to Nature. This is a Minnesota DNR initiative, funded through the LCCMR (Legislative Citizens’ Commission for Minnesota Resources). The Raptor Center is partnering with the Minnesota DNR to help facilitate a portion of the workshops.

Each four-hour workshop is designed to train approximately 12-24 teachers in any subject area on how to use the digital camera kits. Completion of the workshop will allow you to check out a camera kit and you will earn 4 Continuing Education units. The workshop will focus on helping you enhance your current curriculum, not add to it! The workshop will cover how to use the digital cameras; basics of photography; hands-on activities with group discussion; brainstorming of curriculum ideas; downloading and editing techniques; and student project ideas.

• FREE access to digital cameras kits with 12 cameras
• LEARN new ways to tie digital photography experiences to fulfill state
education standards
• LEARN how to use student digital photos with WEB 2.0 applications
• Targeted for Grades 3-9

To register call Carpenter Nature Center at 651-437-4359
or email

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you from The Raptor Center

Thank you to all who made the auction a success! If you are a winning bidder, you can contact Ellen Orndorf at for details Friday, September 30, or we will begin contacting everyone next week to arrange details of pick up of your items.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Final Hours of TRC's Fundraising Online Auction!

There are just a few more hours to bid on some fantastic items and experiences in our fundraising online auction! The Raptor Center offers several fun opportunities alone; we offer the opportunity to release a rehabilitated raptor back into the wild; spend a day behind the scenes with our TRC staff; or have some of our winged ambassadors come to your home! (Please read disclaimers on all items.) Due to the amount of activity on our auction, we will extend the time of closing from 6:30pm to 8:00pm tonight. Good luck, and thank you for helping The Raptor Center!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Minneapolis Experiences, and Randall McDaniel Memorabilia in Our Online Auction

The Raptor Center is excited to highlight these very special packages to lucky winning bidders of our fundraising online auction! NFL Hall of Famer, multiple Pro Bowler and your #64 Minnesota Viking Randall McDaniel has generously donated several items, including a signed jersey, signed Hall of Fame yearbook from his 2009 induction, and autographed mini-football and mini-helmet with 2009 inscription!

We also put together a true "Minneapolis Classic" with a $30 Punch Pizza giftcard, two vouchers for Mill City Museum, a $25 giftcard to Joe's Garage,
a $30 giftcard to Punch Pizza, and finally four sets of two-ticket passes to any Patrick's Cabaret event. Click here for these and many other items and experiences!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Onlt Two Days Left for Online Auction!

Only two more days left to bid on items in our fundraiser online auction! Click here to see the packages of items and experiences! One fabulous package lets you experience/remember all that the University of Minneosta has to offer; Package includes: 1-year University of Minnesota Alumni Association membership and gift basket (comprised of an Alumni Association t-shirt, 22oz Alumni Association water bottle, a black leather Alumni Association keychain, an AlumniAassociation pen and an Alumni Association notepad with calculator), Dinner for 2 at the Campus Club located in Coffman Memorial Union ($50 value), 2 Tickets for Jin Xing Dance Theater Performance (Feb 18, 2012) at Northrop Auditorium, and One-Year Dual-Level Museum Membership to the Weisman Art Muesum.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Release and TRC Happenings

Please plan to come out to our fall public raptor release on Saturday, September 24! It is at Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center, in Hastings, MN. The event is from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Karen Kaler, wife of new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, is one of several folks who will release several rehabilitated raptors back into the wild. This is a great FREE family event!

On Tuesday, September 27, please join us for the first in our Raptor Tails series: "Feathers and Flight - Fabulous Feathers and Migration. The Raptor Tails series are activity-oriented learning experiences for ages 3-5 about raptors and their environment. Children will hear stories, take part in activities, and get to meet a live raptor each session. The goal of this program is for pre-schoolers to develop a positive relationship with raptors and the environment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bald Eagle Band Return

The Raptor Center applies a federal band to most of the rehabilitated raptors released back to the wild. Although only an average of 5 band returns a year are received, the information these provide is invaluable in critiquing our rehabilitation techniques and in learning more about raptor movements and behavior.

Last week, we received band return information on a bald eagle we admitted on 11/13/2005. At that time, this female eagle, weighing in at 4430g, was 3-4 years old. She had been shot in Wanamingo, MN and suffered a fractured left ulna (one of the bones in the middle of the wing) along with bruising and swelling of tissues where the projectile entered. Dr. Hugo Lopez, a veterinarian from Portugal, performed the surgery to repair the wing and the bird recovered well. She was reconditioned over the winter months and released at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings on 3/18/2006. She survived 6 and ½ years after that traumatic event and was recovered northeast of the Hwy 56 bridge along the Cannon River last week. We do not know how or why she died, but are grateful that our skill and compassion gave her several more years to soar in blue skies, and that the silver band she wore from that time forward was able to provide us with feedback on our efforts.

Friday, September 16, 2011

TRC Clinic Patients 9.12.11

The Raptor Center has received 489 patients so far this year. We currently have 65 patients. Some are in individual patient cages while their injuries heal. Others are in large flight rooms or outside in the rehabilitation courtyard for exercise before their release. The following table shows the patient census by species:

Bald Eagle 16

Hawks - Buteos
Red-tailed Hawk 14
Broad-winged Hawk 4

Hawks - Accipiters
Cooper's Hawk 4

Peregrine Falcon 3
Merlin 3

Great Horned Owl 6
Eastern Screech-owl 1

Others (Osprey and Turkey Vulture) 3

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Raptor Center Online Auction Goes Live!

Our Raptor Center fund raiser, the online auction, is now live! Click here to see the many items and experiences to bid on! All proceeds benefit The Raptor Center.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TRC Online Auction Goes Live Tomorrow!

Now is your chance to spend a day “behind the scenes” at The Raptor Center with Dr. Julia Ponder and other TRC staff members. From experiencing wildlife rehabilitation to training education birds, get a peek at the fascinating work done every day at The Raptor Center. This
incredible opportunity is only one of many
unique experiences that you can bid on when you access TRC’s online auction. (Please note: the photos shown are of students, staff and volunteers, who have been trained in working with raptors.)

The auction will go live September 13 at 8:00 a.m. and close at 6:30 p.m. September 29. Once you access the auction, you will have the opportunity to bid on many fabulous experiences and items, including gift cards for some of the Twin Cities’ most popular venues: hotels, restaurants, theaters, sporting events, and weekend getaways. Go to Sept. 13 to begin your bidding. All proceeds benefit TRC.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bid on a Delta Vacation for TRC Online Auction

Wouldn't you love to go somewhere warm? Or exciting and different? How about bidding on an $800 Delta Vacations gift card, courtesy of MLT Vacations? This is just one more item that you can win with our online auction - it starts September 13!