Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TRC Clinic Patient Census April 29, 2013

A bald eagle patient.
We have exceeded 100 new patient admits for the month of April.  This is a typical number for closer to July.  Our best understanding is that it has been a difficult spring with ice and snow making it more challenging to find food, especially for migrating birds. 

Our weekly patient census is here

As always, we appreciate your support to help us assist our feathered friends when they need it.

The Raptor Center
Current Patient Census 
(as of April 29, 2013)  


            Bald Eagle8
Hawks - Buteos
            Red-tailed Hawk22
            Broad-winged Hawk1
            Red-shouldered Hawk1
Hawks - Accipiters
            Sharp-shinned Hawk5
            Northern Goshawk0
            Cooper's Hawk1
            American Kestrel7
            Peregrine Falcon0
           Great Horned Owl8
           Short-eared Owl2
           Northern Saw-whet Owl7
           Barred Owl4
           Eastern Screech-owl2
           Snowy Owl1
           Boreal Owl5
           Great Gray Owl4
           Long-eared Owl1

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bell Museum and Stillwater Exchange Partnership at TRC

Students got to find out what their "wingspans" were.
TRC is hosting some important visitors today!  Third-grade students, as part of the Bell Museum and Stillwater Exchange Parternship, will spend part of today rotating through several learning activities at TRC.  We enjoy it as much as the students do!  Our team of naturalists and raptors promote the understanding and importance of ecosystem health, which raises awareness and provides knowledge to bolster environmental literacy and inquiry skills, and encourages multi-generational environmental stewardship.

Gail introduces the students to Meadow, our northern harrier.
Gail shows the important adaptations of a raptor skull.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Minneapolis Metro Area Bald Eagles Doing Well

This article from the Star Tribune detailed an aerial count over the weekend that found 38 active bald eagle nests, two more than last year, in the 72-mile stretch from Dayton to Hastings that makes up the Mississippi National River Recreation Area.  The last published state-wide bald eagle nest survey in 2005 found 1,312 active bald eagle nests in the state of Minnesota. 

You can read more about bald eagles on the MNDNR's website, including their documented population decline.  TRC educates the public on
how spent lead from ammunition, present in the carcasses and gutpiles of white-tailed deer, continues to be an important source of lead exposure for bald eagles. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

TRC: Teaching, Research and Service

Dr. Redig works with conference attendees at the
EAAV conference in Germany

Our post today highlights our mission statement of teaching, research and service that we are so proud of. Drs. Redig and Ponder are currently at the European Association of Avian Veterinarians Conference in Wiesbaden, Germany. They co-taught an advanced avian orthopedics laboratory. Dr. Ponder was able to send a photo of Dr. Redig working with conference attendees. 

Education and service were topics as TRC appeared at an Earth Day event for more than 350 Xcel Energy employees recently. TRC presented opportunities and information about volunteering and our Recycling for Raptors (R4R) program. This volunteer-led initiative recycled 13,570 cartridges in 2012, and is celebrating its tenth year this year. (Here is the website for more R4R information and a map of cartridge drop-off locations.)

Volunteer Sally McRoberts and Artemis the peregrine falcon
speak to Xcel Energy CEO
Ben Fowke
Xcel Energy has several peregrine falcon nest boxes with cameras on their plant smokestacks. In this photo, volunteer Sally McRoberts and Artemis the peregrine falcon speak to Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TRC's Baron and American Kestrels

Baron, one of TRC's education American kestrels and a part of our Adopt a Raptor program, would like you to know about our Kestrel Watch website.  TRC, like many institutions, is gathering information from individuals like you who see kestrels.  Some data suggests that the species may be in decline.  Our website collects your observations such as if the bird was breeding, nesting or perching.  We also have photos, video, and FAQ pages. 

You can find other information on websites such as our own American kestrel page or the Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Read the Weather from a Songbird's Point of View

We wanted to share some resources from Journey North's website.  An ornithologist discusses how birds "read" weather patterns to make their choices for timing during migration. 

Journey North posts maps of the progress of birds such as Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and American Robins as they travel to their breeding grounds this spring.  This is a great citizen science resource and a great place to volunteer your time to contribute to science!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Red-tailed Hawk Chicks

The two red-tailed hawks on the Cornell campus, laid three eggs March 14, 17 and 20. Two of them hatched very recently. There is a nestcam installed so the public can watch the triumphs – and challenges – that wild raptors such as these hawks experience. 

Today we did some screen grabs from a food drop (of snake!) as the female fed the chicks.

You can read more about red-tailed hawks on our website here. You can also read about some our education red-tailed hawks – Casper, Omaha, Jamaica and Alula – here

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Celebrate Earth Week with TRC Tote Bag

Celebrate Earth Week, and show off your pride to be a friend of TRC!  Our reusable tote bags are on sale for $2 each today through April 26, both online and in our St Paul campus giftshops. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pi the Bald Eagle's Thoughts on the Recent Mpls Snowfall

Pi the bald eagle asked to have us share his thoughts on the recent snowfall. 

Staff will spend much of the day clearing snow from inside the mews (bird housing) and the courtyards - education and clinic.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

TRC Clinic - Nine Species of Owls

Short-eared owl
Boreal owl

If you follow the weekly clinic census on ourwebsite, you will see that we currently are caring for nine of the ten owl species commonly seen in MN.  Having this many different owl species in the clinic at the same time is very rare!   A few, such as the long-eared owl and short-eared owl, are migrants that were injured during the fall migration and spent the winter in the warm confines of our clinic.  Other species, such as the snowy owl, great gray owl and boreal owl  are all northern species that ventured south this past winter looking for prey which was difficult to find in their native northern homelands.  More common species, the great horned owl, northern saw-whet owl, eastern screech-owl, and barred owl, round out the nine, with barred owls admitted in unusually large numbers during February and March.  Barred owls get more active during this time, when they establish breeding territories.  We suspect that the harsh ground conditions - layers of snow separated by ice - made it difficult for these owls to hunt successfully to meet their increased energy needs; many were malnourished when admitted.

We have maintained an average of 70 patients in the clinic since the first major snow of the season last December.  This is almost double our case load last winter mostly due to the increased number of owls needing help.  We have already admitted 35 more patients than this time last year and the number keeps growing.

As always, TRC’s clinic staff and volunteers are ready to respond to the increased amount of care needed for these patients.  Will you help us pick up the tab on the increased food bills?  Your support is critical to help us continue this work.  You can go to our online giving site

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How You Can Help Urban Birds

Orange-crowned warbler
Even though it might not feel like spring, many bird species are still making their annual journeys through North America to their breeding grounds.  We would like to share some resources of what you can do to help them at either their final destinations, or along the way.

Audubon Minnesota has published a Guide to Twin Cities Urban Bird Conservation (and if you are not in the Twin Cities, other Audubon state offices have similar resources.)  There are descriptions and discussions on creating and conserving different habitat types,  how to reduce habitat threats and hazards to birds (including window/building strikes), environmental education and research.   

White-crowned sparrow
  Some quick ideas that YOU can do:  Transform urban spaces into bird friendly havens with nest boxes, bird feeders, and native plants.

Reduce use of pesticides by using manual weeding, seasonal burning and mowing.

Turn off unnecessary lights at night and make your windows visible to birds in the daytime.

Locate bird feeders and birdbaths so they’re either within 3 feet of a window, or farther than 30 feet away.