Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkins for Raptors?

Like many of you are probably doing, TRC is taking advantage of “seasonally available” produce.  We have found pumpkins to be a great way to incorporate into our enrichment activities for our education raptors.  How?  Read on!

Outdoors construction at our site means we have had to move some of our birds to alternative housing.   We are using some creative ways to ensure that the birds are continually comfortable with new surroundings.  Rope “toys” that encourage natural behavior to “foot” their prey are made almost daily by our volunteers.   

Once they are hollowed out, small pumpkins make great places to “hide” the birds’ food.  In this series of photos, Lois the great horned owl is offered her mouse lunch in a pumpkin.  As you can see, Lois very carefully sizes up her “prey” before she withdrew her treat.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Raptor Center's Destruction/Construction Continues

When you parked at the meters at TRC, this used to be a solid
wall of our education bird courtyard.
The old bird housing at The Raptor Center continues to not put up much resistance. 

These photos were taken just this morning.

This is a view from when you walked straight into the
education bird courtyard on a tour. 

This is a view to the left of the education bird courtyard,
from same doorway as above. 
We look forward to sharing photos soon of the new construction which YOU made possible!
This is a view of the education bird courtyard, taken from
below, near the loading dock.  The structure to the far left is
all that is left of the doorway/opening as you began a tour.

This is a view of where our old flight pens used to be
from a hallway within TRC. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Photography Classes with TRC

We are offering two classes that will help you explore your creative side!

Titles and Dates:
Class 1: Basics of Lightroom is Friday, October 24 (Limit 15)
Class 2: Raptor Photography Workshop is Saturday, October 25 (Limit 20)

Locations and Times:
Class 1 is at The Raptor Center Friday, October 24, from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Class 2 is at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, Hastings, MN, Saturday, October 25, from 9:00 am - 11:00 am photographing raptors

Costs: $35 each, or $60 for both classes

Contact: 612-624-4745 or

Cancellation fee:
Cancel by October 22 - 50% returned
Cancel by October 23 - 0% returned

Class details
Class 1: Basics of Lightroom
After you take your digital pictures, now what? Almost all digital photographs need more “processing” to get the most out of the image. In this three-hour Introductory class on Friday evening, Carlyn Iverson will introduce you to Lightroom.  Lightroom is a photo editing and management software program. Developed by Adobe, this program is designed to help you manage large quantities of images, and edit them as well. Lightroom can make your images look much better easily and efficiently. 
Please bring your own laptop and images you would like to edit as part of this class.  You will not be taking any photos during class time.  If you do not have Lightroom on your computer, you can download a free trial at:

Class 2: Raptor Photography Workshop
This class will meet at Carpenter from 9:00 am - 11:00 am to photograph some of TRC's education raptors in natural habitats.  Carlyn Iverson will guide you on angles, light and working around live animal subjects. 
Please bring your own equipment, and breakfast and/or lunch.  Please dress for the weather.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TRC Throwback Thursday - Who Am I?

For Throwback Thursday, we thought you'd enjoy a photo taken in 1989.  Gail Buhl, TRC's Education Program Manager, is seen with one of our education winged ambassadors.  Can you guess who this handsome bird is? 

If you guessed Othello, you are right!  He was hatched in 1988, and has been an important part of TRC's education and outreach efforts. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TRC Clinic Census October 6, 2014

Red-tailed hawk clinic patient.

We have received 640 wild patients so far in 2014.  We currently have 68 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. We post our clinic census weekly here.  We couldn't do this work without your support

The following table shows the patient census by species:
The Raptor Center
Current Patient Census
(as of October 6, 2014) 
            Bald Eagle
Hawks - Buteos
            Red-tailed Hawk
            Broad-winged Hawk
Hawks - Accipiters
            Sharp-shinned Hawk
            Cooper's Hawk

            American Kestrel
            Peregrine Falcon

           Great Horned Owl
           Eastern Screech-owl
           Long-eared Owl
Others (Osprey)

Friday, October 3, 2014

And So It Begins . . . .

These past couple of weeks have brought some big changes at The Raptor Center.  Because of your support, we were able to raise the funds to begin our new construction of the Douglas Dayton Education Wing and outdoor bird housing.  Before the construction, however, we do have to tear down the old structures.

Where will the birds be during this time?  Half of our education winged ambassadors have been transferred to housing on the St Paul campus that was renovated thanks to our volunteers.  The birds have settled in well.  Some of the education birds will stay at The Raptor Center as they will still be part of our off-site programming efforts while we are in this transitional phase.  They are safely away from the noise and activity of destruction of our old bird housing. 

Our clinic patient birds remain in their usual areas; it is very quiet in the area of the building in which they are housed.  Traditionally, prior to release, the wild birds who are being reconditioned for release are housed outside.  Due to the destruction of this outdoor housing, they are now in several managed locations, and our staff and volunteers are continuing to oversee their care and treatment.

Yesterday and today the destruction of the old rehabilitation bird pens began!  We are happy to share some photos with you.  We were also pleased to note that all of the old building materials will be recycled!

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress!

This photo was taken from our loading dock; it shows the back
of our outdoor pens.

It did not take long for quite a bit of the housing to be torn down!

This photo was taken from a stairway in TRC that overlooks
the roofing of the outdoor bird housing.

Even though it was raining, the old housing was torn down quickly!

This is another angle of the outdoor housing, taken from another
stairway in TRC.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raptor Migration Across the Country

We thought it would be fun to share raptor counts at four different location across the country: the Goshutes in NV, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in CA, Hawk Ridge in MN, and Hawk Mountain in PA.  Each location has great information on their websites with blogs/interpretation as well as daily counts.  It's fun to compare and contrast what species and how many  are counted on any given day.

Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in San Francisco, CA

For Tuesday, Sept 30,
Total Sightings: 698
Total Species: 13

Species Counts:
Turkey Vulture: 40
Osprey: 1
White-tailed Kite: 1
Northern Harrier: 7
Sharp-shinned Hawk: 346
Cooper's Hawk: 109
Red-shouldered Hawk: 25
Broad-winged Hawk: 37
Swainson's Hawk: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 80
American Kestrel: 2
Merlin: 2
Peregrine Falcon: 1

Goshutes in Nevada
This site had a Hawk-alypse September 26.  One of the biggest single count days on record for them! The sky sailed with 996 accipiters, followed by 679 buteos. They doubled their Swainson's hawk count in one day and saw 45 broad-winged hawks. Vultures came in third with 293, mostly kettles of 30 to 50 birds each and 203 falcons. And in the mix of hundreds of migrants, a Mississippi kite was spotted.

Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN
A recap of Sept 23-30 
Most of the last week has been warm with clear skies and southerly winds, but good numbers of Sharp-shinned Hawks and other early season species have been moving through anyway, including 863 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 95 American Kestrels, and 16 Peregrine Falcons on the 28th when the temperature hit 80 degrees!

This is one of the most well-known raptor migration spots.  Sept 26 had Sharp-shinned hawks and Broad-winged hawks making up two of their main species seen that day.