Monday, November 30, 2015

First Big Snow in Twin Cities

This morning we woke up to the first big snowfall of the season in the Twin Cities. We were so happy to see the walkways in our education bird courtyard (Douglas Dayton Education Wing) were clear!  Thank you again to everyone who made this possible. 

Because each bird's housing was designed to have
access to the outside, that does mean that it
will get snow and rain. Each bird has a hutch
or other housing to keep them out of the elements,
but many of the birds wants to be in it!
Staff cleared off the perches and hutches,
and will do so during the course of the snow to come.
Pi the bald eagle greeted us at the door.

Gail Buhl shows us that the walkways for people are
clear in the new bird housing! What a change from
past years when we had to shovel and find
creative ways to "store" the snow until it melted.

Bubo the great horned owl did
not mind the snow. The great horned
owls are all vocalizing and demonstrating courtship
behavior at this time of year.
You can see the white throat patch
as Bubo hooted and called this morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Checking in on Migrating Golden Eagles

If you follow our blog, you know that we love posting the annual fall progress of some golden eagles with satellite transmitters.  We thank Audubon Minnesota, one of the partners in this project, for providing maps. 

Here is an early November update:
·        Jack (Eagle #53 whose track is orange on the map) came through MN (and close to Hawk Ridge where he was captured on 12 Nov 2012) during the last week of October this year. He is currently in northeastern Illinois.
Jack's travels in orange.

Jack, Eagle #53
·        Ripley (yellow track) is the newest bird (captured this past March at Camp Ripley). She is still slowly heading south & currently in northeastern Saskatchewan.  
Ripley's travels in yellow.

·        Jeannette (Eagle #45 green track) is the bird we have been tracking the longest  (she was trapped in Waupaca County, Wisconsin in the winter of 2012-13) in this cohort and she is currently making her way to the north shore of Lake Superior. She has gone around the lake taking both the easterly and westerly routes in years past, it will be interesting to see her decision this season. She typically winters near Waupaca WI and could be there within the week depending upon how she crosses and the weather.
Jeannette's travels in green
Jeanette, Eagle #45
Audubon Minnesota, the National Eagle Center, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nongame Program, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Endangered Resources Program are involved in a project to increase our understanding of the biology and management needs of golden eagles wintering along the Mississippi River.  A winter population of golden eagles along the Upper Mississippi River raises new and important management questions and challenges. Learning the breeding origin (or origins) of these birds is of high importance. The breeding population in northern Ontario is thought to be small and thus vulnerable. If there are birds are moving from western breeding areas they could be severely impacted by wind generator projects proposed for the Great Plains and western Minnesota.

You can read more about the project here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thank you from The Raptor Center

The Raptor Center is overwhelmed with gratitude for your support.  Yesterday, because of your generosity, $70,000 was raised for The Raptor Center.  Because of our $52,000 challenge match, that makes a total of $122,000 for Give to the Max Day.  Some gifts were given to TRC directly, so the GiveMN site does not reflect them, but they did count towards the match.

With these funds, you provide the support needed for TRC to give sick and injured raptors a second chance at life.   With your gifts, you help TRC provide opportunities for all ages to engage nose-to-beak with our education ambassador raptors.  With your support, TRC can teach the next generation of wildlife health professionals, and teach stewardship of the environment to its future caretakers  - our children. 

We also acknowledge your support throughout the year, sharing your time, gifts and the stories we are able to create each day of making a difference. 

Your voice was heard that you value raptors and the role they play in connecting our worlds together.  We are thankful to stand together with you in helping make the world a healthy place for all of us, and keeping raptors in the skies where they belong. 

Here is a thank you video from our volunteers and staff (feathered and non.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Eagle Scout Project for The Raptor Center

Bjorn and the crates!
The Raptor Center was recently the recipient of an Eagle Scout’s final project, which is the culmination of leadership training and a project for the benefit of a member of the Scout’s community.  Bjorn E. organized several friends into making eleven new crates for our smaller education birds.  He worked with Gail Buhl, our education program manager, and David S., TRC carpentry volunteer, on the patterns and logistics, and he and his family donated much of the hardware used.  Each crate has a perch that is so there is room for either long (falcons) or short (owls) tails.

These easily washable crates will be used not only for travel to offsite education programs (with a flexible handle/strap), but also in the birds’ enclosures onsite.  The birds can be safely tucked in the crates while cleaning is done in their housing (note the ring at the top of the crates, so it can be hung), and the crates will further be used for ongoing training for the birds. 

Violet the American kestrel on the perch
inside one of the crates.