Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Guess TRC's 40th Clinic Patient

2014 is TRC's 40th anniversary! We have lots of plans we want you all to be a part of, so keep watching for news. To start us off, we'd like you to guess WHEN (month/day) our 40th raptor clinic patient will be admitted in 2014. You can also try your hand at guessing which species it will be. We'll keep this running until that 40th patient is admitted. Click on the link with this post, or go to our website; the webpage to submit answers is on our homepage slideshow. We'll post the progress of the guesses here, on our Facebook page, and on that webpage. Good luck!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jamaica's Enrichment Artwork

 Since it has been very cold outside in Minnesota, we bring some of our education ambassadors inside for enrichment opportunities. Jamaica, one of our red-tailed hawk ambassadors since 1985, enjoyed some enrichment indoors recently in three mediums - newspaper, brown paper, and rope. We discovered she enjoyed "working in paper" when she shredded her original nametag sign.

Friday, December 27, 2013

How Can Technology Help Birds?

We wanted to share this story from the New York Times on how folks just like you can help researchers collect information on birds.  The article focuses on the increased reports and sightings of snowy owls this season.  Utilizing sites such as e-bird can track occurrences, locations, and timing, and look for patterns and other ways to extrapolate information on populations of birds.  (Here is a link to the snowy owl e-bird tracker.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

TRC in Nature Magazine

A photo of TRC volunteer Terry H. was recently in the magazine Nature.  It is their 365 days: Images of the Year. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays from The Raptor Center

Please accept our wishes for happy and safe holidays, and our thanks for your support this year.  We truly could not accomplish so much without your help. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TRC on North Suburban Beat

Recently, TRC was featured on a local show called North Suburban Beat (channel CTV).  If you click on the link here, go to December 11, and the story about our plans for new construction at the center is about 16:20 into the show.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Flight Enrichment for Whisper the Barn Owl

As you've read from some of our past posts, we work with our winged ambassadors on ways to keep their minds as healthy as their bodies.  Our staff designs enrichment opportunities for the birds, that do require training for them. 

Because of the colder temperatures, Whisper the Barn Owl has not been outside in her mews.  Interpretive naturalist staff member Molly Gezella-Baranczyk has been working with Whisper indoors.  Since Whisper is an imprint, and does not have physical disabilities, one enrichment we are training her to do is to learn to fly to different points to receive her food. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

TRC Clinic Patient Census December 9, 2013

A Barred owl clinic patient.
The Raptor Center has received 903 patients so far this year.  We currently have 59 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 (and you can follow it weekly here):

The Raptor Center
Current Patient Census
(as of December 9, 2013)  

            Bald Eagle
Hawks - Buteos
            Red-tailed Hawk
            Broad-winged Hawk
Hawks - Accipiters
            Sharp-shinned Hawk
            Northern Goshawk
            Cooper's Hawk

            Peregrine Falcon

           Great Horned Owl
           Short-eared Owl
           Barred Owl
           Eastern Screech-owl
           Great Gray Owl
Others (Turkey Vulture)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Condor Cam

We'd like to give you the link to the Condor Cam!  In conjunction with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventana Wildlife Society has been releasing condors on the central Coast in Big Sur since 1997 and currently monitors a flock of 60+ condors in collaboration with the National Parks Service (Pinnacles National Park).  The Condor Cam is located at the Ventana Wildlife Society's Condor Release Site in Big Sur, CA. The pan-tilt-zoom camera sits on a grassy ridge in a very remote canyon along the Big Sur coast at approximately 2800 feet (elevation) and approximately two miles from the Pacific Ocean. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mestaae the Eastern screech-owl's Bath

With the ongoing colder temperatures in December in Minnesota, we made a bath pan available inside TRC for our Eastern screech-owl, Mestaae. Water is important for the maintenance and care of feathers.  Watch the video here

Monday, December 9, 2013

Backyard Conservation - Not Just For the Birds

What better way to address the cold temperatures many of us find ourselves in, than to dream about spring and the outdoors?  The Natural Resources Conservation Services of the USDA has a program called Backyard Conservation, in partnership with groups such as Audubon and the Wildlife Habitat Council.  Whether you have rural acreage, a suburban yard, or a city lot, you can help protect the environment and add beauty and interest to your surroundings. Ten conservation practices have been scaled down for homeowners in a great downloadable booklet and tip sheets on this website.  Conservation practices on non-agricultural land can help increase food and shelter for birds and other wildlife, control soil erosion, reduce sediment in waterways, conserve water and improve water quality, inspire a stewardship ethic, and beautify the landscape.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nero's Friday

Even though we have made Nero the turkey vulture's enclosure as warm as we could (with Plexiglass and a heater), the -4 degree below morning meant he spent some time in our auditorium today.  Our staff hid his food inside a series of enrichment opportunities for him.  (And they are all recyclable after he is done!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snow at TRC

Leuc the bald eagle surveyed the recent snowfall in the St Paul/Minneapolis metro area Wednesday morning. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How Does That Barn Owl Hunt?

We at TRC believe learning can be fun, and wanted to share a great example of that!  Operant conditioning was used with the barn owl in this video; it learned to associate prey being offered/available when cued to a sound.  The slow-motion filming shows us how this owl angles its wings and feet as it approaches the prey.  You can see the bird approaching from above the prey, and then the camera is angled so you see it from the "prey's" point of view. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

TRC Appearances - Future and Past

Dr. Patrick T. Redig, TRC's co-founder and Director Emeritus, will give an update and some historical information on the Midwest Peregrine Project at the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union Paper Session this coming Saturday, December 7.  It is at the Bell Museum, on the East Bank of of the University.  Click here for information on the schedule of topics. 

If you missed Dr. Julia Ponder's presentation for the LearningLife Headliners series on TRC's work in the Galapagos, you can access an audio or download an MP3 file here