Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Bird Count Starts Today!

From Audubon's Christmas Bird Count webpage.

Today is the start of one of the longest-running citizen science projects in North America!  It’s the Christmas Bird Count, and it is entering its 116th year.

What is it?  It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24 hour period on one calendar day to count birds.  Many of the counts will be held this coming weekend.

If you are not an expert birder, don’t worry!  Many nature centers and other locations offer opportunities to join groups, or they will hold education programs at their sites that you can attend to learn more about birds.  You can check the locations of the count sites here.  Your local Audubon chapter can give you more information, too.

This is just one way to engage all ages with what birding can offer.  Below, please read the wonderful post written by 5th grader Reece Wollen.  Reece was one of the Burroughs Birding Club members, and graciously wrote a few lines about what birding meant to him. 

Birding is Awesome
by Reece Woollen (Age 10, 5th Grade)

Western Tanager. Steller’s Jay. Magnolia Warbler. Pileated Woodpecker. I hadn’t
ever heard of these birds before I joined bird club at school. But now I know about
these and many other birds, and I’m glad that I do.

Birding may sound boring, but I can guarantee that it’s not boring at all. It’s one of  the most awesome activities you can do.  Birding is very fun and it is important to know about these creatures and their environment.

Before the first session of bird club, when I walked around and saw a bird, it just seemed like an ordinary bird. But now when I see a bird, it pulls my attention away from everything else to identify it. I can’t wait to see other birds I haven’t yet seen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Checking in on former TRC Clinic Patients - Great Gray Owls

Female great gray owl in her enclosure.

We thought you'd enjoy hearing an update on two former TRC clinic patients.

The goal of raptor rehabilitation is to give as many injured and orphaned birds as possible a second chance at a wild life. But for some, the nature of their injuries prevents them from doing basic survival activities and they simply are not capable of surviving in the wild.  These birds are evaluated for their tolerance of captivity and overall quality of life and may be placed at a properly permitted educational facility that meets TRC’s guidelines for care. 

Recently, a donor/friend of TRC met a couple of great gray owls at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, who were patients at TRC.  They were placed in 2000.  The female was incapable of sustained flight after recovering from two broken wings, and the male had extensive damage to his right eye that necessitated its removal.  The owls are now living out their lives in a static display and for the past 15 years have been educational ambassadors for their species.  Thank you to Linda Conrad for the photos and information. 

Male great gray owl in his enclosure.