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)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Read About The Raptor Lab

Read about The Raptor Lab, a new online curriculum TRC is working on. It is aimed at instilling seventh- and eighth-graders with a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Portraits of a Rouse

It was a little wet in the Twin Cities today.  One of our newest education ambassador American kestrels shook out damp feathers in the series of photos below.  Lifting them up helped separate them and aid in drying out a bit.  This is called a “rouse”; our raptors will also do this as a sign of comfort.  In the wild, this activity also helps to dislodge dirt and possible parasites.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebrate International Vulture Awareness Day Sept 6

 Of course if you ask Nero, TRC's education winged ambassador turkey vulture, he would "say" that any day is a good day to celebrate vultures.  The first Saturday in September has been designated as International Vulture Awareness Day.

The intent is to publicize the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world’s vulture conservationists.
Here are a couple of links to explore for more information: seven interesting facts about vultures from BBC Nature, and a page from the Peregrine Fund that talks about a very serious conservation concern to vulture species in South Asia.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday; The Raptor Center Logos

As most of you know, TRC celebrates our 40th anniversary this year.  Throwback Thursday is the perfect time to share some of our history with you.  Our topic today is past logos we’ve used.  Dr. Patrick Redig, TRC’s co-founder and Director Emeritus, was kind enough to share background on these. 

Did you know that The Raptor Center was first known as the Raptor Research and Rehabilitation Program?  This was a logo done in-house for us by a woman named Barbara Walker who was the communications person at the time. It was used from approximately 1980 to 1987.

It was replaced in late 1987, when the program became known as The Raptor Center (TRC)  with the other logo depicted here at left.  The eagle artwork that you all recognize (see first the early line drawing, and the more robust version at left) was produced from an image taken from a series of drawings done by Rick Volkmar , who was Barb's artist brother.  

Rick had done what he called his "Progressive Action" series.  This was done with funding from a grant from the Bicentennial Commission, a non-profit organization that provided funding for various events and activities associated with the bicentennial celebration of the U.S. Constitution in 1987.  Dr. Redig released a rehabilitated bald eagle, and Rick used a high speed camera to film it.  Rick then rendered a frame-by-frame line drawing of each image in a progressive series as the bird circled around, up and away.

Our 40th anniversary called for a special logo (seen at left), which are using this year to commemorate our accomplishments.

We invite you to hear about both our past and our plans for the future at our annual, free Duke Lecture event.  Dr. Redig is our featured speaker. The event is October 9, at 5:00 pm, at the St. Paul Student Center Theater, on the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus.