Thursday, May 29, 2014

Contribute to Kestrel Watch

American kestrels are active in many parts of the United States with territorial and breeding activities.  The Raptor Center invites all of you to contribute to a citizen science initiative called Kestrel Watch to help us find out more information about these amazing raptors.  Where and when did you see one/them?  What were they doing? 

We want you to see some of the information, too.  We did a couple of screen grabs on types of habitat graphs for the last two years, as well as behavior graphs.

The Kestrel Watch website has some identification tips, and other information on American kestrels.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ACES and The Raptor Center - Educating our Future Leaders Together

The Raptor Center is proud to partner with ACES - Athletes Committed to Educating Students.  Every spring ACES partners with The Raptor Center for a hands-on unit learning about owls. The unit includes owl pellet dissection and creating awareness-building skits about raptors. It culminates with a service-learning project to design bookmarks with owl facts and pictures for the University of Minnesota Raptor Center to sell at their facility or give away at upcoming programs.

In return, educators from The Raptor Center visit ACES school sites and bring owls to further enhance students’ knowledge of and commitment to protecting the raptors in their community.
On March 18, the Jefferson Awards Lead 360 Challenge recognized ACES for winning 2nd place nationally in the Animal Rights Category with this service project.

We wanted to share just a few of the bookmarks made by fourth graders.  They have owl facts and drawings by these creative, future leaders who are keeping education going by sharing their new knowledge with others.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Annie the Peregrine Falcon at TRC

Like many of us in Minnesota, Annie the peregrine falcon took the opportunity to dry off from a wet Monday and enjoy the sun.  She preened her feathers and roused (shook them out).

Annie has an interesting story.  She was hatched in 1995, as the last clutch of peregrine falcons nesting on the Montgomery Ward building in St Paul, MN, before it was torn down.  Because Annie was banded as a chick, these bands identified her when she was found injured in St Louis, MO.  She was hit by a car and sent to The Raptor Center's clinic.  She had broken her right metacarpal (a bone in the wrist) and left coracoid (a bone in the shoulder). Her fractures were set and she began to heal. During physical therapy, Annie would only turn to the right while flying. An ophthalmologist found that a cataract had formed in Annie’s left eye, possibly a result of the trauma sustained in the car collision. It was determined that, due to her partial blindness, Annie’s chances of survival in the wild would be very low. In January 1998, Annie joined The Raptor Center’s education department.  Annie's story is here

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Migration Still Happening - What You Can Do!

In Minnesota, we are still seeing songbirds and hummingbirds moving through or arriving to their breeding grounds.  Journey North is a great site that tracks several species of hummingbirds that can be seen in all parts of North America.  It is also a site that relies on YOU to help.  It's a great opportunity to participate in citizen science projects.

All birds (and humans!) need cover, water, and food to raise families as well as for "rest stops" in migration.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology created a free, interactive citizen science mapping project/site called YardMap about habitat creation and low-impact land use.  You start with the area you want to work with - school yard, backyard, etc. - and integrate what you have with what you want to plant or see. 
a free, interactive,
citizen science mapping project
about habitat creation
and low-impact land use - See more at:
a free, interactive,
citizen science mapping project
about habitat creation
and low-impact land use - See more at:
a free, interactive,
citizen science mapping project
about habitat creation
and low-impact land use - See more at:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bald Eagle Who Flew Into Boat Shrink-Wrap Released

A bald eagle that was injured when he flew into a shrink-wrapped boat moving at 70 miles an hour on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin was set free on Wednesday.  The bird was admitted to TRC's clinic with an eye hemorrhage and internal trauma.
Read an article on the release from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here. 

Thank you to TRC volunteer Jim Johnston for the photos, and to TRC volunteer Terry Headley for helping with the release.
Terry Headley, TRC volunteer, shows Scott Kregness
how to hold the eagle before release.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Local Peregrine is Former TRC Patient

Peregrine falcons are nesting right now in the Midwest.  We wanted to share a story of one bird who was a former TRC patient. She was banded with a black/red band, 13/U, in June 2011, in Grand Forks, ND.  She found her way to St Paul, MN two years later (last year, 2013).  A friend of TRC’s called to report seeing her down near the Mississippi River, and volunteer David Schreiber, who does carpentry work as well as transport for TRC, went out to rescue her.  She had soft tissue injuries to her wings and legs.  She was treated in TRC's clinic, and was released after a couple of weeks.  

This year, she is at a St Paul site – the Ford Parkway/ Lock and Dam #1.  The previous female was recovered deceased in January of 2014, after hitting a window, so the site was open to a new breeding female. 

Thank you to Mike Williams for the photos of the bird.  You can find information on birds, sites and the Midwest Peregrine Recovery project on the Midwest Peregrine Society’s webpage here.  A story on this bird and the history of the project appears in this week’s edition of the Villager, a St Paul neighborhood newspaper. 

Leg bands black/red 13/U can be seen. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Raptor Center and International Partnerships

As you know, The Raptor Center not only focuses on raptors, but also on the bigger picture of how human and wildlife health intersects with the environment, and connects us all.

In April, TRC’s executive director, Dr. Julia Ponder, traveled to Europe as part of a diverse group of participants who were given an insight into public policymaking at an international level. This group of 23 participants with different professional profiles from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, was part of an intensive professional development program that provided mid- and senior-level government officials, private sector leaders and academic faculty with the opportunity to interact more effectively with intergovernmental organizations.

Dr. Ponder participated in site visits and interactions with key officials working with food safety, animal health and public health from four international organizations: the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. Discussions centered on the impact of international standards and policy on food safety, animal health, trade and public health.

For more information on the project, entitled Engaging International Organizations (EIO), and co-spearheaded by Will Hueston, Center for Animal Health and Food Safety here at the University of Minnesota), click here:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 5, 2014 TRC Clinic Patient Census

A red-tailed hawk patient.
Here is our TRC Clinic Patient Census for May 5, 2014

We have received 154 wild patients so far in 2014.  We currently have 75 patients, some of which were admitted in 2013.   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. We update our clinic patient census weekly on our webpage here.  The following table shows the patient census by species:

The Raptor Center
Current Patient Census
(as of May 5, 2014) 
            Bald Eagle
Hawks - Buteos
            Red-tailed Hawk
            Broad-winged Hawk
Hawks - Accipiters
            Cooper's Hawk

            American Kestrel

           Great Horned Owl
           Northern Saw-whet Owl
           Barred Owl
           Great Gray Owl
           Long-eared Owl

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Say Hello to Othello

Please plan to say hello to Othello the bald eagle in his new mew at TRC!  Some of you might recall that Othello and Leuc were "roommates" many years ago, in one of our hallway mews (enclosures).  We are helping Othello to get comfortable in his old/new home, which is the space that Leuc previously resided in.  Othello previously was in a mew in our education courtyard.

Othello has been a part of TRC's education staff since 1988, so many of you may have great stories to tell about how he has touched your life.  

Othello will now "greet" our visitors as they come to see us on the St Paul campus.