Friday, September 28, 2012

National Eagle Center Celebrates 5 Years

This weekend, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN is celebrating 5 Years. They held a Grand Opening of this landmark interpretive center on September 29th, 2007. To celebrate their 5th anniversary, they are offering special programs and events.

California Condor Release and TRC's Efforts

The Raptor Center is thrilled to share some successful news in the ongoing reintroduction efforts for the California Condor.  Three condors will be released tomorrow morning, Saturday, Sept 29, at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona. 

This will be the 17th annual public release of condors in Arizona since the condor recovery program began in 1996. Condors are hatched and reared in captivity at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and transported to Arizona for release to the wild.  Currently, 76 condors are in the wild rugged canyonlands of northern Arizona and southern Utah. The world’s total population of endangered California Condors is 416, with a total of 231 in the wild in Arizona, Utah, California, and Mexico. Condors were reduced to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the program was begun to save the species from extinction.

The Raptor Center is proud to say that we have a role in these important efforts.  In 1993, Dr. Patrick Redig, our co-founder and Director Emeritus, was appointed to the California Condor Recovery Team.  In November 2005, Condor #350, an 18-month-old bird, was injured near his home range on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and brought to The Raptor Center for treatment. He is one of only four condors that hatched and survived in the wild that year. Read more from a press release about this very special patient. 

This work that The Raptor Center does could not be accomplished without the support of our friends.  Please consider a gift to help us continue to make a difference. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great raptor migration information site

Hawk Mountain, PA is another fantastic hawk watching/counting site in North America, in addition to Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN and Cape May, NJ.  They have a terrific website that has maps of raptor migration paths, tips on how to identify hawks in flight, and raptor terms and trivia.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Upcoming Events - Raptor Tails and Duke Lecture

Raptor Tails 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.

Upcoming dates:
October 2: All About Owls: Their Hearing and Eyesight

October 16: All About Owls: Grossology
Classes are from 10:15 am to 11:00 am on Tuesdays, and are limited to 10 children. A parent or guardian must accompany each child. Call 612-625-0201 to pre-register. Pre-registration price for each class is $5 per child, or $7.50 for two children in the same family.

Click here for info. 

Our annual Duke Lecture is October 12, at 4:00pm.  We are very excited that Dr. Scott Lanyon, Head of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior and former director of the Bell Museum, will speak on the Tree of Life. Dr. Lanyon will lead us on an exploration of how scientists study the evolutionary relationship of life on earth, with special emphasis on birds. We’ll find out more about the Tree of Life project, a collaborative effort of biologists and nature lovers from around the world.

This event is free and open to the public. It is intended for those with a general to intermediate knowledge of birds. RSVP's are required, and this event does fill quickly! RSVP here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Xcel Energy Volunteers Help at TRC

The Raptor Center celebrates the commitment and passion that volunteers demonstrate every day.  We were very proud that Xcel Energy chose TRC as one of 14 organizations that benefitted from its Minnesota Day of Caring. On Sept. 22, during TRC's annual Fall Raptor Release, Xcel volunteers spent the morning at TRC laying down pea gravel in TRC's housing mews for our education birds.

The volunteers did an incredible service for us.  The pea gravel that is used in our education bird housing is very important for sanitation, ease of cleaning, and raptor foot health.  The gravel needs to be replaced periodically, so this work was appreciated by our birds as well as our human staff.  Thank you, Xcel!  Your commitment to what you believe in is demonstrated yet again!

Friday, September 21, 2012

TRC Clinic Census Sept 20

A red-tailed hawk clinic patient
The Raptor Center's clinic has received 606 patients so far this year.  We currently have 87 patients.

Bald eagle   19

Hawks - buteos
Red-tailed hawk   27
Broad-winged hawk   8
Red-shouldered hawk   1

Hawks - accipiters
Cooper's hawk   8
Sharp-shinned hawk   2


Merlin   6
Peregrine   5
American kestrel   1

Great horned owl   7
Barred owl   1

Osprey   1
Northern harrier   1

2013 TRC Calendar Available

It's not too early to start thinking of 2013 gifts!  We will have our 2013 calendar available for at our fall raptor release event tomorrow.  We have included lots of pictures of our education birds, clinic and flight, as well as quiz questions to increase your raptor knowledge. 
Harmon the eaglet is May's feature

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pi the bald eagle

You met Pi the bald eagle in a previous post in June.  Look at how different he looks after molting this season.

Gail Buhl takes Pi's weight

Gail Buhl, TRC's Education Program Manager and Pi's primary trainer, takes Pi's weight daily.  It is an important way to monitor his health.
It's windy!

Pi's training continues to go well.  The Raptor Center uses positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors from the education birds.  They are rewarded with food when they are asked for a behavior and they present it. 
Pi is readying to eat his reward

Pi receives some rat, one of his favorite meals!
Pi will be just one of our education birds you can say hello to on Saturday, Sept 22 at our fall raptor release.  It is at Carpenter Nature Center, in Hastings, MN.  The event is free, from 10:00am to 3:00pm.  Watch as rehabilitated raptors are released back into the wild. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TRC Summer Scholars Research

Carrie Robbins, DVM Candidate
 This past summer TRC worked with several students on various research projects.  Carrie Robbins wrote up the research and findings for our TRC friends:

"I worked with Dr. Pat Redig (TRC) and Dr. Carol Cardona (Ben Pomeroy Chair in Avian Medicine, VBS) to study Newcastle virus exposure in raptors and waterfowl. This study is very relevant because as of late July this year there was an outbreak among cormorants, pelicans and gulls in several Minnesota lakes that has killed thousands of birds. Newcastle virus has been studied extensively in poultry, where it can cause quite devastating outbreaks, but little is known about how it is transmitted among wild birds. There have been large Newcastle related die-offs among waterfowl in Minnesota since the 1990’s, most recently in 2008, 2010 and 2012. We know that Newcastle virus can cause severe neurological disease in juvenile cormorants and pelicans, whereas raptors generally have subclinical infections. Fortunately, Newcastle virus is only known to cause mild conjunctivitis is humans, but it is in the same family (Paramyxoviridae) as some very scary viruses, including Measles virus, Mumps virus, Canine distemper virus and Nipah virus.

Dr. Redig and I wanted to investigate why these deadly outbreaks are occurring every two years in waterfowl and test whether the occurrence of Newcastle virus antibodies in raptors corresponded with known outbreaks. I worked with Dr. Cardona’s lab to test 422 plasma samples from bald eagles, great horned owls, peregrine falcons and red-tailed hawks that were archived at TRC from 2008 through present. I hypothesized that raptors who feed on waterfowl (eagles, horned owls and peregrine falcons) would be at higher risk for Newcastle virus exposure than rodent-eating birds (red-tails). Indeed, 5% of horned owls and eagles had antibodies to Newcastle virus, indicating that they were exposed to the virus and mounted an immune response. These birds were brought to TRC for other injuries and illnesses, so we do not know whether they had clinical symptoms caused by Newcastle virus. When we looked at the seropositive birds (e.g. tested positive for antibodies) over time, we did not find a correlation with known outbreaks among waterfowl. Thus, Newcastle virus appears to persist in the environment outside of reported outbreaks and certain species (eagles and horned owls) may be more susceptible to exposure based on their diet or habitat preferences."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Raptor Migration in North America

Peregrine falcon
 We know our readers are as excited about hawk migration as we are!  We are so lucky in the Twin Cities area to be able to journey to Duluth, MN to visit Hawk Ridge, one of the major migration points in North America. 

We also realize we have many other friends who live in other parts of North America, and might be interested in where they might watch hawk migrations, and to see some statistics on numbers for their favorite species.  The Hawk Migration Association of North America has some great sources of information for these questions.  Globally, the Raptor Research Foundation has a goal to accumulate and disseminate scientific information about raptors. They also promote an awareness and appreciation of raptors amongst the general public. 
Red-tailed hawk
If you have an interest in raptors, there are many others with your thirst for knowledge, and lots of places to find information. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Samantha the great horned owl

Samantha is one of our education great horned owls.  We keep our winged ambassadors healthy and happy with diet choices as close to their natural prey as possible.  Samantha enjoyed a rat, and the skull (with lots of bone=calcium) was a great enrichment tool for her, too. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Raptor Release next Saturday Sept 22!

Our Fall Raptor Release is next Saturday, Sept 22!  It's free, and a great way to spend the day with friends and family.  Bring your used ink jet printer cartridges - but not your pets, pleae.  It is at Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center in Hastings, MN.  Time is 10:00am-3:00pm. 

Watch as we release several rehabilitated raptors back into the wild. 

Garage Sale to Benefit TRC Today and Tomorrow

If you live in the Minneapolis-metro area, there is a terrific garage sale today and tomorrow, with proceeds benefitting TRC!  It is part of the Falcon Heights Garage Sale.  The address is 1870 Roselawn Avenue, Falcon Heights, MN.  Time today and tomorrow are 9:00am - 6:00pm.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weather Radar and Migrating Birds

We are fascinated by how, when and why all birds move at The Raptor Center.  One interesting place to find information is NEXRAD radar, which one can monitor using CONUS loops.  Looking at the velocity and reflectivity images, we can actually "see" densities of migrating birds at night!  Weather patterns of south winds or precipitation, for example, might mean birds will not move into that front.  However, one can "watch" many birds (mainly songbirds and shorebirds) all "rise" late evening/early morning to migrate in the cooler air, and "fall" back onto land in the early morning hours.  Here is a page of FAQ and some defintions.  Fall and spring are very active times for many birds, as they either travel to or from breeding grounds.

Meet Nova

Meet Nova!  Her name was the winner by a slim vote margain, on our Facebook page.  Her name was submitted by Rochelle Roche, one of TRC's volunteers! The name came "from Nova Scotia, the area (previously Acadia) where the NSWO was discovered."

Thank you to all who voted.  We hope you will come and wish Nova the best as she begins her education career here at TRC. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Molting Mestaae

Many of you have met Mestaae, one of our education Eastern screech-owls.  Mestaae, like all raptors, recently went through a molt.  He lost many of his feathers, and it took a few weeks to replace them.

We thought you'd enjoy some "before" and "after" pictures.

We also thought you'd enjoy reading some more information about bird feathers and molting - here is a great site from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

Last Day to Vote on Names for Saw-whet

If you haven't voted yet on your favorite name choice for our Northern Saw-whet Owl, you have until end of the day today!  Go to our Facebook page here

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hawk Ridge Celebration Sept 14-16

The Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve in Duluth, Minnesota is one of North America's best places to experience the spectacle of the fall raptor migration. Migrating birds, including raptors and passerines, concentrate in impressive numbers at the western tip of Lake Superior. Some travel from as far away as the Arctic and pass through Duluth on their way to their wintering areas to the south. Migrants funnel down the North Shore along the ridges that overlook the city. Sept 9 saw over 16,000 raptors counted there, with Broad-wings numbering over 15,000 of that number. 

Come and celebrate the migration at the annual Hawk Weekend Festival!

Clinic Patient Census Sept 10

Young Red-shouldered hawk
The Raptor Center clinic has received 576 wild patients so far this year. We currently have 80 patients.

EaglesBald eagles   18

Hawks - ButeosRed-tailed hawk   23
Broad-winged hawk   6
Red-shouldered hawk   1

Hawks - AccipitersSharp-shinned hawk   1
Cooper's hawk   12

American kestrel   1
Peregrine   5
Merlin   4

Great horned owl   7
Barred owl   1

Northern Harrier   1

We update our clinic patient census weekly on our website.

We couldn't provide the care for these patients without your help.  Many of them stay for one to two months.  Each meal is $2-$3 for each patient.  If the patient stays for two months, the food bill alone for one patient is at least $120. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vote on Northern Saw-whet Owl Name Choices

We received almost 400 name submissions for our Northern Saw-whet Owl!  Thank you to you - our friends - for your creative, thoughtful choices.

Go to our Facebook page to "vote" (like) the choices.  (They are Bristles, Cedar, Nova and Piccolo). 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Shop in our Online Giftstore

If you are looking for raptor-themed gift ideas for yourself, friends and family, shop in our online gift store.  We have hats, clothing, plush toys, books, jewelry and lots more. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TRC's Fall Release is September 22

Our Fall Raptor Release is Saturday, September 22 from 10:00am to 3:00pm at Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center in Hastings.  Visitors will enjoy watching wild raptors take to the air after being rehabilitated by The Raptor Center clinic. The day is full of fun including orchard hay wagon tours, educational raptors on display from The Raptor Center, kids activities and more. This is a FREE event.  Bring your blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the day. Please leave your pets at home.  Recycling for Raptors will collect your used ink jet printer cartridges.
Go to our Facebook Event Page and tell us if you've been out before, what you loved about it, or just share stories and pictures! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eagles, Hawks, and Owls Oh My! Camp at TRC

TRC finished up our summer camps with a partnership with Richardson Nature Center.  The campers had classroom as well as outdoor experiential learning opportunities about raptors and their connections to the environment.

Adam Barnett, TRC Interpretive Naturalist, talked about owl adaptations. 
Dr. Irene Bueno, TRC's Resident, showed the students what raptor patient injuries might look like on radiographs. 
One of the unique experiences provided for the campers was the opportunity to watch the volunteer flight crew exercise recuperating raptors. This is one of the final phases of the rehabilitation process.  The first patient, an osprey chick only a couple of months old, was in the clinic for a short period of time.  Its flights were strong and the bird was released later that day.  Another bird, a broad-winged hawk, was carried to the exercise area with a protective covering over its head to keep it calm. It was shown briefly to the campers before it, too, was given the opportunity to build its flight muscles in preparation for a future release.