Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guest Blogger Tuesday - Wildlife Professional Making a Difference

Curt at the Care and Management of Captive
Raptors Workshop

Today is our last installment of Guest Blogger Tuesday in July.  We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from these amazing people, and we look forward to featuring more inspirational stories like theirs in the future.

We asked a former participant of our professional workshops, Curt LeVan, 2011 Care and Management of Captive Raptors, to share what he’s done with the training he received at TRC. We believe that training the future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation is an important part of addressing the shared environmental challenges for humans and raptors.  We thank Curt so much for writing about how his work is making a difference in another part of the country.

Curt’s story: “Back in 2011 I had already spent several years volunteering with a raptor rehabilitation facility near my home in Virginia but was disappointed that it mainly involved simple feeding and cage cleaning. Looking to gain more advanced skills, I attended The Raptor Center's workshop on Care and Management of Captive Raptors. At this workshop I particularly benefited from the mornings spent working with the vets in the clinic as this gave me hands-on experience treating raptors. Also, the high quality of care at The Raptor Center encouraged me to consider creating my own facility based on similar standards.

Virginia requires a two-year rehabilitation apprenticeship and it is difficult to find a raptor sponsor. Eventually I made contact with the Wildlife Center of Virginia and they agreed to sponsor me, although they were located more than two hours away. After many hours on the road I completed my apprenticeship and now have both the federal and state permits. I'm sure that without the experience at The Raptor Center I wouldn't have had the motivation to get started down this road and now I'm happily planning ahead for a barn owl release.

Last night I entered a raptor cage and discovered a fledgling, one of four barn owls which are the first raptors I've taken in under my own federal rehabilitation permit. The four owlets came to me when the silo which contained their nest was torn down and the parents could not be located. When they are old enough I will need to work with local farmers to find a suitable release location. It took me nearly five years to get to this point but I'm excited that this day has arrived.”

Monday, July 28, 2014

Answers to Baby Raptors Post

Baby raptor 1 is a Cooper's hawk; Baby raptors 2 are merlins; Baby raptor 3 is a red-shouldered hawk. 

Guess the Baby Raptor Species

It's been a very busy year in our clinic with "baby raptor" season.  Can you name the three species of raptors in these photos?   We will post the answers later today. 

Thank you for your support.  It's because of your generous gifts that we are able to always be there for raptors.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whisper the Barn Owl Gets Lunch

Can you find the mouse lunch that Whisper the education barn owl was given in the first photo of this series?   (Hint: look to the lower left.  It is hidden!)

She was also given several enrichment “toys” to keep her mind as healthy as her body.  Before she found her mouse, she chose to chase and grasp her “prey”, which was a tennis ball.  Our winged ambassadors are given opportunities to mimic natural behavior, including what it would take to secure their own prey/lunch.  They do have to be taught to interact with their enrichment toys, and the staff and volunteers are continually thinking up new materials and activities.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Read About a Four-Ounce Bird Who Has Already Traveled The Distance From the Earth to the Moon

You read the title of this blog post correctly - we'd like to share the story of a shorebird called a red knot, who has made 21 migration trips in his lifetime.  He's nicknamed "Moonbird" because he has already flown the equivalent distance between the Earth and the moon, and more than halfway back during his epic migrations. His route from the tip of South America to the top of Canada takes him through Delaware Bay, where his leg band is identified.

Read this amazing story here

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Blogger Tuesday - TRC Volunteer Gives So Much

Jim returning a great horned owlet to a nest site.

We continue our Guest Blogger series with one of our treasured volunteers.  Jim J. started on our transport crew, then added carpentry, and more recently, rescue.  Our volunteers build some very exceptional skills as they work with raptors in their respective areas (transport, clinic, rescue, flight, etc.)  Jim has also become a wonderful educational voice about raptors when he responds to transport and rescue calls.

Jim graciously agreed to write about his personal evolution in his experiences.  More raptors than we can count have Jim to thank for their second chances at life.  We are so proud to share unique contributions and ways that one person truly makes a difference with Jim’s story.

 “At TRC I’ve been witness to many incredible turn-arounds. Broken, poisoned or sick birds with no chance of survival flying again free.  It is of no wonder to me why passion and dedication run deep in so many, volunteer and staff alike. So many new experiences have happened at TRC for me, being able help an injured bird or even building a hutch (bird house) for an eagle. One can truly question if one has ever built a bird house till one builds one for an eagle! I, like everyone hate to see a raptor in need, and also like everyone, understand there will always be birds needing help. With that said, I’m proud as with everyone else to be able help where and when I can.  

Being prepared for a rescue is the culmination of every past rescue. Species, age, condition of the animal and even location are all factors that affect what I take. With the number and diversity of birds I’ve been lucky enough to work with, my vehicle and its contents have morphed over time to reflect my experiences. Gassed and packed at all times with about 90% of the items and tools that have come in handy during previous calls, it requires little effort to respond quickly.  I keep an area in the garage dedicated to the other 10%. For instance a baby great horned owl on the ground might require a new nest. Because of the foresight of some at TRC, I have a replacement nest in my garage. An eagle will need “the big cage”.

On site, questions get answers. Is it a baby? Are there any injuries readily apparent? Can the animal see? Is it interested in my approach? Is it standing? How long has it been on the ground? I usually get most questions answered from the people who called in. I have found people greatly concerned for the welfare of the birds I’ve been called to rescue. The first call I ever responded to was a red-tailed hawk with a broken wing, called in by two landscapers, whose concern was both genuine and heartfelt. Driving to TRC from that call I thought to myself; “this is a good thing happening here, something everyone can rally around”. I’m seldom disappointed with anyone’s reaction to an animal in need and willingness to help in any way."