Archive for May, 2010
Who would’ve thought that 2 loons would create such a media frenzy? Well, I guess they are our state bird. Oh, and they are coming from the oil spill region. Combine those two topics and you have coverage on all 3 major networks!
We’ll be picking up the loons at the airport this evening, and some of the media will be covering events live. Sorry we don’t have more details right now, but we’re still trying to gather all the details. Check out the Pulse tomorrow for an update on the loons’ health, photos and links to the film clips.
I can tell you that 1) the birds are not oil contaminated and 2) they’re coming from rehabbers in Florida who were working with the birds.
More to come tomorrow!
The coyote pup we got in last week was successfully reunited with his mother and brother only a few days later! We wish the family well!!
A young coyote pup, who was separated from his family, was brought to the clinic by one of our volunteers. The volunteer is trying to locate the family and hopefully we’ll be able to reunite this little guy with his family.
Every spring the bird house on my garage is occupied by a pair of Black-capped Chickadees. Three years ago we installed a small camera inside and have been keeping an eye on the birds’ nesting habits each spring. This week, two orphaned infant chickadees were brought into the WRC, and since they were roughly the same age as the chicks in my birdhouse, I put them into the nest (when the parents weren’t looking) with their new family. Since we have the camera hooked up to the t.v. we were able to observe the parents feeding their two new children just like the others in the nest. Black-capped Chickadees are one of the more difficult species to raise in captivity so this was a very happy ending…or beginning, from the baby chickadees’ perspective!
Yesterday I released 5 Canada goslings into a new family at a small lake in Hugo. The wonderful thing about adult Canada Geese is that they are great at taking in young that aren’t their own, even if they have their own babies. Mallards and other types of waterfowl are not this flexible about accepting other young, and will actually harm the new babies. That is why we keep them at WRC in our waterfowl nursery until their adult feathers are in and they can fly. We try to foster out Canada goslings as soon as we can after they are admitted.
This particular family only had one gosling of their own that was about a week old. The new 5 took off into the water, one of the adults swam over honking, and the young quickly lined up and followed him/her to the other adult and their baby. They all proceeded to swim off into the sunset!
Fortunately, the Great Blue Heron that was admitted a couple days ago was bright and chipper after a few days of rest and antibiotics. Its leg and wing injuries healed nicely, and it was able to put full weight on both legs again. We’re happy to say it was released on Saturday afternoon on Round Lake.
Yesterday, a Great Blue Heron was brought in to the clinic. It was found with a fishing hook embedded in the soft tissue of the left wing. The bird was stunned and unable to ambulate normally due to another injury to the left leg.
We took 3 x-rays to determine if anything was broken or if more fish hooks were embedded. Fortunately everything looked good. These gorgeous animals are very high stress and need to rest in a calm quiet atmosphere while they heal. We hope that after a few days of antibiotics, rest and good fish meals, this fellow will be ready for release.
Is it true that blonds have more fun? This spring, for the first time in our new building, three “blond” ducklings were admitted to the Waterfowl Nursery. The first one came in with six other mallards – all of which were normal colors. The other two came in with seven other normally-colored mallard ducklings.
Are they just a color variant, like black Eastern Grey Squirrels? They are not albino – their eyes are pigmented normally. Are they hybrids, with a domestic duck in their genetic make-up? It will be very interesting to see how these ducklings turn out.
The wildlife portion of my job became hands-on yesterday when we received 5 bluebird eggs that were just in the process of hatching (we do not incubate eggs). Three hatched prior to our Noon staff meeting and we knew we needed to find a wild foster parent for them. As insectivores, bluebirds are incredibly difficult to raise in our Avian Nursery – they eat as many as 1,000 bugs a day!
In the past, we’ve successfully fostered them out on monitored bluebird trails, so as soon as the staff meeting ended, I was on the phone to see who had newly hatched bluebirds.
After locating a gentleman in Northfield, I headed out the door with four newly hatched bluebirds (the 5th egg was still intact). As I pulled the box from the trunk of my car, the 5th egg began hatching. I captured a short video of it:
And it never did clear that last bit of egg from its head. I removed it before placing it in the foster nestbox.
Since we don’t want to overwork the parent bluebirds, we divided the nestlings into 3 different boxes, all on a trail monitored by a recent college grad for a Carleton biology professor. They’re in good hands and back in the wild. Many thanks to everyone in Rice County for their help, especially John and Simeon!
Hope you enjoy the video and photos…
2 of the tiny nestlings:
Simeon placing nestlings in one box:
Simeon and John at second nestbox: