Friday, September 26, 2014

Links to TRC Recent TV Appearances

Here is a link to the KARE11 piece from Sept 25, where we talked about our upcoming Raptor Release event, and invite you all to come help us celebrate our 40 years.  Gail Buhl, our education program manager appeared with Maxime the bald eagle. 

Kim Insley also tweeted a pic - thank you!

WCCO-TV came out to our location on the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota to film this piece.  Dr. Julia Ponder, Gail, some of our volunteers, Maxime the bald eagle and others of our winged ambassadors, talked about TRC's 40 years.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TRC on WCCO - and What You Can Do at our Fall Raptor Release

TRC will appear on WCCO-TV tonight at 6:00 p.m.  Dr. Julia Ponder, our executive director, will speak about our past 40 years, and what we have planned for the future!

We hope to see you at our Fall Raptor Release event.  Watching the rehabilitated raptors being released are certainly highlights, but there are other fun things to do, too!

To celebrate The Raptor Center's 40th Anniversary, here are 40 fun things to do at the event!

1. See raptors being released back to the wild
2. Take a photo class with your iPhone (children)
3. Take a photo lesson w/your cameras (adults) Friday and Saturday (We apologize - these classes are postponed.  We'll let you know when they are rescheduled).
4. Take a free class titled “Drawn to Raptors” with artist Vera Ming Wong
5. Visit the St. Croix Valley Bench at Carpenter which is part of the St. Croix Valley Bench Project
6. Take a hay wagon ride
7. Buy some freshly-picked apples
8. Pick some fresh apples to take home
9. See The Raptor Center’s Raptor Ambassadors, including a 40 year old turkey vulture
10. Buy a fresh apple pie from a local 4-H group
11. Visit the 3M table in the pavilion
12. Learn about environmentally sustainable landscape architecture
13. Play a game with Leave no Trace!
14. Have a great meal by the Lions Club (proceeds donated locally)
15. Enjoy some freshly-roasted nuts from Nuttin’ Like It!
16. Bring your used ink jet cartridges to be recycled by The Raptor Center.
17. Stop by the Raptor Center's gift tent to pick up a book or gift or clothing
18. Enjoy a cookie donated by 3M
19. See how an event like this can happen with zero waste!
20. Enjoy the beauty of what Carpenter Nature Center has to offer in the fall
21. Learn about chemistry from the 3M Wizards
22. Learn about the history of falconry
23. Learn about monarch butterflies with the Monarch Lab from the University of Minnesota.
24. Try a Nordic Walking Program at 10:00 a.m.
25. Find the sculpture created by local artist Dale Lewis
26. Enjoy free parking
27. Stop by and listen to a Carpenter Nature Center intern share his experience
28. Take photos of the education birds up close (eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls)
29. Talk with the expert staff of the raptor center and learn more
30. See the Raptor Center ‘s wonderful and knowledgeable volunteers in action
31. Learn how you can help The Raptor Center’s “Text to Give” program.
32. Stop by and learn about the Minnesota Ornithologists Union
33. Hike along some of Carpenter Nature Center's 15 miles of trails.
34. Visit Carpenter Nature Center education reptiles and amphibians
35. Visit with Future First booth in the pavilion
36. Check out The Raptor Center’s new 40th Anniversary merchandise
37. Apple Sampling at Carpenter Nature Center’s apple shack and learn about sustainably grown apples
38. Live animal presentations on the stage beginning at 11:00 and 1:30
39. Pumpkin picking
40. Celebrate 40 years of rehabilitating raptors!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What do Raptors Use for "Goggles"?

What a wonderful sight to see a bald eagle soaring!  In the first photo of our post today, though, do you notice anything different?
In this close-up you can see that there is something covering the eyes!  It is called a nictitating membrane. 

A nictitating membrane acts much like a pair of “goggles” for raptors.  In flight, raptors can see through this third eyelid, and it will keep the eye safe from dust and other objects in the air.  It also keeps the eye moist.

This is the same bird, in a subsequent frame.
You can see that the eye is uncovered for a moment in the bird's flight, and that there is nothing wrong with the eyes.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lemonade for Raptors? Absolutely!

Sarah, Sylvie and Sam presented their gift to The Raptor Center

We recently had an important gift made to support The Raptor Center.  Sarah, Sylvie and Sam H. had a lemonade stand this summer.  Their mother, Katie, shared with us that they love birds of all kinds and when they thought about where to donate their earnings, they found The Raptor Center’s website and knew immediately that they had found their beneficiary.

We can’t thank them enough.  Their gift is a true example that each person does indeed make a difference, and no effort is ever small.  These funds will be used to continue our work in caring for both our education winged ambassadors and the clinic raptor patients.
Sylvie shows her Raptor Center spirit!

Sam at the lemonade stand

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Explore Your Creative Side with TRC; Photo and Editing Classes

Explore your creative side with TRC!  We are offering photo editing and photo taking workshops September 26 and 27. Information and registration at or here.

Adult Photography Classes (ages 16 and up)

Class 1: Basics of Lightroom
Class 2: Raptor Photography Workshop

Instructor: Carlyn Iverson

Class 1: Basics of Lightroom is Friday, September 26 (Limit 15)
Class 2: Raptor Photography Workshop is Saturday, September 27 (Limit 20)

Locations:Class 1 is at The Raptor Center
Class 2 is at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, Hastings, MN (at the Fall Raptor Release event)
Class 1 is Friday, September 26, from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Class 2 is Saturday, September 27, from 8:00 am - 10:00 am photographing raptors, then free to photograph from 10 am - 3:00 pm at the release event.
Costs: $35 each, or $60 for both classes

Contact: 612-624-4745 or

Cancellation fee:
Cancel by September 22 - 50% returned
Cancel by September 24 - 0% returned

Class details
Class 1: Basics of Lightroom
After you take your digital pictures, now what? Almost all digital photographs need more “processing” to get the most out of the image. In this three-hour Introductory class on Friday evening, Carlyn Iverson will introduce you to Lightroom.  Lightroom is a photo editing and management software program. Developed by Adobe, this program is designed to help you manage large quantities of images, and edit them as well. Lightroom can make your images look much better easily and efficiently. 
Please bring your own laptop and images you would like to edit as part of this class.  You will not be taking any photos during class time.  If you do not have Lightroom on your computer, you can download a free trial at:

Class 2: Raptor Photography Workshop
The Raptor Center has its popular Fall Raptor Release at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center in Hastings, MN on Saturday, September 27, from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.  This class will meet at Carpenter from 8:00 am - 10:00 am for special access to the education raptors to photograph them in natural habitats.  Carlyn Iverson will guide you on angles, light and working around live animal subjects.  After class you may stay the day to photograph all the education raptors displayed.  At 11:30 am and 2:00 pm you have a chance to photograph birds being released back to the wild from The Raptor Center's world renowned raptor rehabilitation clinic.
Please bring your own equipment, and breakfast and/or lunch.  Please dress for the weather.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Final Update on Former TRC Patient, D.C. Snowy Owl

As you already know, the body of former TRC patient “D.C. snowy owl” was recovered from the shoulder of a Minnesota highway.  The owl’s body, which had been stored at a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office, was recently transferred to The Raptor Center.  The clinical staff performed a necropsy (post-mortem exam). Our findings support the speculation that the owl had been hit by a vehicle as its body showed signs of severe trauma with multiple broken bones in both wings, the skull, and the lower jaw, as well as trauma to the internal organs.
We are all saddened by this ending and recognize it as a story too often retold as wildlife are increasingly finding their way in a human-altered landscape. 
There is encouraging news for those of us who support this work, however. The bird was in great body condition and had just recently eaten four rodents, demonstrating that the efforts regarding this bird’s rehabilitation were effective. 

We are grateful for the public support and to our many colleagues around the country who are committed to helping wildlife and supporting our work at The Raptor Center.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some new insight into bird migration - and how YOU helped!

This common yellow-throat can use
all the help he can get!
Here is some new insight into the "what-why-how" birds migrate.  Bird migrations follow areas of new plant growth -- a so-called 'green wave' of new leaves and numerous insects -- new research shows. In fall, particularly in the western US, they stick to higher elevations and head directly southward, making fewer detours along the way for food.

Some of the data used for this research was collected by YOU; through submissions via e-bird. 
What is it?  eBird’s goal is to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers. The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.

Remember, you can always help birds in many ways.  Here is an Audubon article on how to turn your backyard into a great oasis/refueling station for birds (it has specific plantings, relative to your region). 

And - as we have mentioned in past postings - you can always be thinking about how to help birds relative to windows and other structures.  Information here

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: TRC Clinic Numbers 1974-2014

In honor of TRC's 40th anniversary, we invite you to look back with us at some of our history.

The topic today for Throwback Thursday is our raptor clinic patients.  This graph shows you the top five raptor species who were clinic patient admissions over our history.  Quite a change from 106 patients in 1974, to 914 last year! 

We post our clinic patient census each week on our website.

We have received 558 wild patients so far in 2014.  We currently have 97 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:
The Raptor Center
Current Patient Census
(as of September 9, 2014) 
            Bald Eagle
Hawks - Buteos
            Red-tailed Hawk
            Broad-winged Hawk
            Red-shouldered Hawk
Hawks - Accipiters
            Sharp-shinned Hawk
            Cooper's Hawk


           Great Horned Owl
           Barred Owl
           Long-eared Owl
Others (Osprey)