Friday, April 30, 2010

Wildlife Hospital Crisis Averted

Kathryn G. Favre Foundation for the Betterment of Animals sponsors World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital.

Following recent appeals to our community for support for our Wildlife Hospital, the Kathryn G. Favre Foundation has generously stepped up with a gift of $40,000 to the World Bird Sanctuary wildlife hospital.
  Representatives of the Kathryn G. Favre Foundation present a $40,000 donation to World Bird Sanctuary wildlife hospital.  From L-R: Bobby Zitzmann (Kathryn G. Favre Foundation), Jerry Zitzmann (Kathryn G. Favre Foundation), Joe Hoffmann (WBS Sanctuary Manager), Walter Crawford (WBS Founder & Executive Director), Roger Holloway (WBS Director of Interpretive Services and Facilities), Charlie Amen (Kathryn G. Favre Foundation), Mary Haislip (Kathryn G. Favre Foundation), Jeff Meshach (WBS Assistant Director)
“We are very appreciative of the investment that the Kathryn G. Favre Foundation is making in the World Bird Sanctuary, and our Wildlife Hospital specifically.  The Wildlife Hospital will be named the Kathryn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital in an expression of our appreciation for this gift,” said Walter Crawford, Founder Executive Director of World Bird Sanctuary.

Jerry Zitzmann, Trustee of the Kathryn G. Favre Foundation explains Katy’s commitment to animals, “The Foundation was started by Katy Favre who had a great love for animals.  She wanted to ensure that her legacy would fund causes dear to her heart – animal welfare.”  In explaining the decision to help the Wildlife Hospital, Jerry said, “Katy had a soft spot for birds and the majesty of Birds of Prey.  We thought that this would be a wonderful way to honor Katy.  Nothing broke her heart more than to see an injured animal – I know she would be proud of what we are doing today.”

“The Missouri Community has inspired us with their support.”
At the beginning of March Mr. Crawford issued an appeal in the media for support for the wildlife hospital.  “If we did not receive the $40,000 needed to keep our hospital doors open, we would have to close the wildlife hospital on June 1st,” said Mr. Crawford.

“The Missouri Community has inspired us with their support,” explained Mr. Crawford.  “We have had children as young as 6 years old giving us their life savings of $6, and children giving us $1 bills – which was to be their ‘treat’ money when they visited the Sanctuary gift shop.  Scout troops, preschools and individuals have engaged in personal campaigns to help us raise the money that we needed to continue our important rehabilitation work.” 

The World Bird Sanctuary focuses on sustainable funding.
The Wildlife Hospital admits and treats approximately 300 sick, injured or orphaned birds of prey per year, and has released more than 4,000 birds back to the wild!  We do not charge for hospital admissions.  We have been able to achieve this over the last 35 years with no state or federal funding, instead relying entirely on donations from members of the public to keep its doors open.

“With the recent economic recession and other humanitarian disasters requiring funding, we have seen a reduced capacity to give within our regular support base.  However, as a result of our appeal, we have received just under $25,000 in individual donations, ranging from $1 to $500 each.  This money will be held for use by the wildlife hospital to ensure that should the national financial crisis continue, we will have a reserve to help get us through.  It will be used to secure sustainable funding for the hospital,” said a grateful Mr. Crawford.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Camera Day

On Sunday, May 2, 2010, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., World Bird Sanctuary, Schiller's Camera & Video, and Nikon Camera are hosting Camera Day for those who love nature photography.  

Bring your camera and creativity for taking photographs of World Bird Sanctuary's birds of prey posed in natural settings.

Professionals from Schiller's Camera & Video, and Nikon Camera, will be available to answer questions, demonstrate, and tell you about the latest innovations in cameras, lenses, and binoculars.

Don't miss this opportunity to talk to the experts.  And, Whooo-knows, Camera Day could be the day you finally get that "perfect shot."

Concessions will be available during the event.

Submitted by Marion Ernst, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Publications

Friday, April 23, 2010

What’s in a Name?

 World Bird Sanctuary staff, volunteers, and interns have been coming up with names for our resident animals for over 30 years. 

Currently we house approximately 150-200 animals and, of course, we have had many animals come and go throughout those 30 years.  Wow, that is a lot of names! 

So… how have we chosen names for our birds and other animals over the years?  They have come from a wide variety of sources and for many reasons.  Here are some examples:

Caution, our Eurasian Eagle Owl, was named Caution because the animal crate he arrived in had Caution written on it.  This meant “Caution Live Animal” but seemed like a great name.

 Kinsey, the new Turkey Vulture in the Education Department, was in need of a name when beloved volunteer John Kinsey passed away.  John was bald and so are Turkey Vultures, so we thought it very appropriate to name this bird after John.  He loved all the birds and would have gotten a smile off a vulture being named after him! 

We named one of our Bald Eagles Liberty, as it seemed an appropriate name for our national symbol. 

We often look to the animal and its personality to help us choose a name.  For example, Batty our Straw colored fruit bat has a more nervous jumpy personality, and his brother Scar has a scar on his lip from an injury he had when he was a youngster at another facility.

Twig, our Eastern Screech Owl, has his name because Screech Owls try to make themselves look like a branch or twig as camouflage in the wild.

We look at the practicality of a name…  Will it be easy to say in a program and not be misconstrued as another word, ie, anything that rhymes with an inappropriate word is generally not acceptable.  Is it a name that is easily pronounced?  Is it a name children will be able to relate to?

We look at cultures, habitat, or behaviors that are common to the animal…  Often we look to other languages for a foreign word, for a characteristic, or just the type of animal it is.  For example Ookpik, our snowy owl got his name because it means Snowy Owl in Inuktitut; Luna the Barn Owl because luna means moon.  Turnpike, the American Kestrel, was named such because kestrels commonly live and hunt near highways and turnpikes.  Chad, the Augur Buzzard, was named after the country in Africa because Augur Buzzards are from Africa.

Currently we are asking you, our supporters, to help us name the new Harris Hawk in our Education Department.

Here are some suggestions about this specific bird and species for use when searching for a name for this little guy:

Based on the bird’s size we know that it is a male.  For a male he has fairly large feet similar to a female Harris Hawk.  He has somewhat of a stubborn streak.  At times he is quite sheepish, while at others he tries to exert dominance.  Harris Hawks are native to the Southwestern United States and live in the desert.  Harris Hawks are unusual because they live in family groups and hunt in packs like wolves.

Here are some examples of past Harris Hawk names:  Rifle, Tequila, Saguaro, Dallas, Malone, Mesquite, Solstice.

I hope these will help get your creative juices flowing for this very important project!  Don’t forget, the person that submits the winning name will have the honor of being his first adoptive parent!  The naming contest ends April 30th.

To submit a name, just send it as a comment on this blog.

Submitted by Teri Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

Thursday, April 22, 2010


A landmark bird passes away!

Julie, our beautiful Golden Eagle passed away earlier this month.  Her true age was unknown, but she was received at the World Bird Sanctuary in 1977, which would put her age at over thirty-three years old.  Of particular significance is the fact that Julie was the World Bird Sanctuary's very first eagle.  Hers is a legacy that lives on in the form of the many eagle displays and eagle programs presented to thousands of people each year by the World Bird Sanctuary.

Julie was found in a field in Abilene, Texas, suffering from a gunshot wound.  We are not sure about the particulars of her rescue.  However, she ended up at the Albequerque Zoo, where it was determined that she was unreleasable due to wing damage sustained from the gunshot.  She was received at the World Bird Sanctuary in May of 1977.  Julie is a prime example of the difference a good rehab facility can make.  The fact that she has survived and produced offspring over the past thirty-plus years is due to the excellent care she received following her gunshot wound.  

In 1996, after several unsuccessful attempts to pair Julie with different males, she was placed in a breeding mew with Denali, a handsome male Golden Eagle.  Apparently she had finally found her perfect mate.  They have been a couple ever since.  Two of their three offspring were released into the wild.

Julie will be missed by all who knew and cared for her over the years.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary volunteer

Monday, April 19, 2010

Corporate Challenge

Would you like your company to support the environment and be publicly recognized for this commitment?

An injured Barred Owl being tube fed as supportive therapy until he is strong enough to eat on his own.

The World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital Corporate Challenge
The World Bird Sanctuary has launched a Corporate Challenge to help fund the Wildlife Hospital.  The Hospital has been serving the wider Missouri community for over 30 years, providing medical care and rehabilitation services to approximately 250-350 sick and injured birds of prey each year.    Most of the cases that are admitted to the Wildlife Hospital have received an injury or are poisoned as a consequence of direct or indirect human encounter – collisions with buildings or vehicles, entrapment in sports nets, traps or fishing line, and being accidentally or purposefully shot.

A very young Red-tailed hawk who's nest was blown down in a storm being treated for an injured wing.

The World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital does not charge for admissions and receives no state or federal funding.  The hospital relies entirely on donations from individuals and organizations to keep its doors open.  This is where your corporate gift can earn you goodwill. 
A Great Blue Heron being treated for a wing injury.

Your customers and employees pay attention to what you’re doing in the community.
Corporate support is critical to the success of the World Bird Sanctuary, but sponsoring the World Bird Sanctuary is a great business decision for your company.
·      84% of Americans say they are likely to switch brands, when price and quality are equal, to help support a cause.
·      75% of Americans say a company’s commitment to causes is important when they decide which products and services to recommend to others.
·      Employees whose companies support causes are 40% more likely to say that they are proud of their company’s values and nearly 25% more likely to be loyal to their employers.
(Source: 2002 Cone Corporate Citizenship Study)

A family watching through our viewing window as a bird is treated for it's injuries.

Your Corporate Membership to World Bird Sanctuary makes a difference! 
You can help World Bird Sanctuary to continue to successfully treat and release sick, injured and orphaned birds back to the wild.  We are a credible organization with 30 years experience of creating successful environmental protection and education strategies.  Your corporate membership will help us continue serving the communities of Missouri and beyond by providing high-quality and successful raptor rehabilitation services that will help us to better determine and understand the problems facing wildlife in our modern world.  Raptor rehabilitation allows us to learn more about and understand the importance of ecosystems and our obligations to the next generation.  It also affords us the opportunity to use the information in the continual improvement and development of our successful environmental education programs that encourage students to improve the quality of the wildlife habitat that surrounds them and to take accountability for managing the earths’ resources in a sustainable manner.

A pelican being examined by our volunteer vet who gives so generously of her time.

Your Corporate Membership in support of our Wildlife Hospital shows the St. Louis community that you care.

Gold Membership
Brick with company name and sponsorship year engraved on brick to be laid in our amphitheater steps.
8”x8” brick
Certificate of Membership indicating membership tier to be displayed at organization.
Listing on corporate membership page of Mews News newsletter.  Printed 3 times per year with distribution of 6,000.
Listing on corporate membership page of WBS website.
Yes - with logo
Number of issues of each issue of Mews News per year.
6 per issue
18 issues per year
Electronic issue of Mews News that can be uploaded to company’s internal staff website for viewing.
Organization name and logo displayed at annual on-site public events.
Open House (3rd Sat 
& Sun in October)
World Eagle Day (3rd 
Sun in March)
Use of World Bird Sanctuary logo on your organization’s website, annual report and press releases for one year.

If you would like to register your company as a World Bird Sanctuary Corporate Sponsor, or if you would like World Bird Sanctuary to contact your employer about becoming a Corporate Sponsor, contact Catherine Redfern at or at 636-225-43901 ext. 102.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lance Welling

In memory of Lance Welling
November 3, 1939 – April 3, 2010
Earlier this month we said goodbye to Lance Welling, reliable volunteer and friend to many at World Bird Sanctuary.

Lance was encouraged to volunteer at World Bird Sanctuary by his sister-in-law, Patti Sonntag, who has been a volunteer at World Bird Sanctuary for many years.  In February 2002 Lance joined “The Tuesday Crew” .  From then on, he diligently worked at World Bird Sanctuary on many projects – most of them electrical – with his close friend Don Marcinkiewicz.  Lance and Don would quietly go about their work, every Tuesday, come rain, shine and even snow.  Lance’s volunteer duties extended beyond World Bird Sanctuary – he was also a committed volunteer for the St. Vincent DePaul Society and a dedicated usher at Mass on Sunday afternoons.

Lance is remembered by family and friends as a loving husband, a helpful and involved dad and a caring friend.  He was an enthusiastic softball coach, a gourmet shrimp fryer and champion pretzel consumer!  Most importantly, as fellow Tuesday Crew members Don and Bill will testify, Lance was a legendary fisherman.  In fact, the only time he never showed up for ‘work’ at WBS was when he was away on one of his much-loved fishing trips.

It was an honor to have Lance on our team and we will remember him for many years to come.  Every time we turn on a light switch in the Wildlife Hospital, every time we enjoy the cool respite of the overhead fans in the Administrative Offices, every time we hear the extractor fans hard at work in our food preparation kitchens, and every time we walk up the lighted steps from the Nature Center when it’s dark outside.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Migration Blitz - The Birds are Coming!

It’s that time of year when many of our feathered friends return to our region for the summer.  After wintering in warmer climates as far south as Argentina, many of the songbirds return to Missouri and areas further north to build their nests and raise their young.  In anticipation of this event the World Bird Sanctuary Bird Banding Team is planning a Migration Blitz.

Many migrants come back to the mid-West to nest and raise young.

The team usually meets every Thursday for 5-6 hours to capture and band birds on the World Bird Sanctuary property, capturing all their vital information before releasing them back into the woods.  However, from Saturday 24 April to Saturday 8 May, the Bird Banding Team will be meeting every day from 5am to 11am to capture birds and their details on World Bird Sanctuary property.

The Field Studies team arrive early, coffee and cake in hand, and begin setting up their mist nets.  These fine mesh nets are set up around the World Bird Sanctuary property, and capture birds as they begin flying through the woods to forage for the day.   The birds are quickly removed from the soft net and taken to a measuring station.  Here, their species, sex, weight, length, wingspan and other details are recorded.  If they are not already banded, a light numbered band is placed around their leg.  If they already have a band, this band number is recorded.  The bird is then released back into the woods where it was captured.

The information captured by the team is sent to the National Bird Banding Laboratory, where it is processed.  This central database matches up band number recorded and gives bird conservationists a good indication of where birds migrate to, what their populations look like, and if there are any concerns facing the welfare of any particular bird species.

The Migration Blitz culminates with International Migratory Bird Day – a worldwide celebration of birds.  At World Bird Sanctuary we will be hosting many fun and exciting activities where you and your family can learn more about why it is important to protect them and their flyways.

Members of the Banding Team teaching students about the importance of gathering information through bird capture, banding and release.

This is a fun and exciting time, and experienced and new volunteers are welcome.  If you would like to help the Bird Banding Team with the 2010 Migration Blitz, and don’t mind a few early mornings – they would love to see you!

To volunteer, you can email crew leader Linda here: wbs bird migration @ (remove spaces from email address when you compose your message).   You will then be contacted by a member of the Bird Banding Team to schedule your visit.

Catherine Redfern, Director of Development, World Bird Sanctuary

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of our longtime veteran performers, Harriet the Black Vulture, passed away earlier this month.

Harriet was hatched at Busch Gardens, Tampa, on 5/15/90.  Surprisingly, she never worked at our show there, but has worked at just about every other venue we've had, including:  Sea World of Ohio, St. Louis Zoo, Milwaukee County Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, and Denver Zoo to name just a few.

According to all who have worked with her, Harriet was a real trooper in every sense of the word.  She was one of our most dependable performers and has had a long and illustrious career.  She will be missed by all.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Different Kind of Hunting

I would like to share with you the experience I had when I went hawking with Kenny, one of our  volunteers.

Kenny allowed me to accompany him on one of his hunting trips.  Kenny is a licensed falconer here in Missouri and has trained several Red-tailed Hawks to hunt in harmony with him and his dog. 

When we set out in the morning, the sky was bright blue and the air was invigorating and crisp.  As soon as we arrived at the hunting field, Kenny’s Jack Russell terrier Caffie leaped out of the truck and immediately began sniffing through the tall grass for rabbits.
 Our own Sequoia--even at rest she is always on the alert for even the slightest movement
When Kenny removed his red-tailed hawk, Sadie from the crate, I got to see her for the first time.  She was a tall and majestic red-tailed hawk, with especially large feet.  Sadie quickly spotted a good perch and flew to the top of an old fence post that ran near the perimeter of the field.  When she landed, I could hear the jingling bells that are tied to the back of the falconry equipment Sadie wears as she flies.  The bells would help us to keep track of Sadie’s location.
 Sequoia scanning her surroundings--not much escapes this gaze
I watched Sadie scan the field for rabbits, and so I did the same.  Kenny pointed out a small patch of shrubs that showed evidence of rabbit activity.  The trunks of some of the shrubs had teeth marks in the bark.  On the ground amongst the shrubs, I could see rabbit holes.  I shook the shrubs with the walking stick Kenny gave me, trying to scare a rabbit out of the hole.  No luck, so I kept walking.
Sadie scanning the field for rabbits.
I continued to walk around the field, occasionally hitting my stick against piles of brush, patches of shrubs, or anywhere I thought I might scare out a rabbit.  As we moved about the field, I kept one eye on the ground scanning for rabbits and the other eye on the hawk.  I loved watching Sadie choose and fly to a new perch that would offer a better vantage point.  Sadie had chosen a high perch in a line of trees that bisected the field.  Suddenly, I spotted a rabbit darting across the field a little to the right of Sadie’s perch.  I pointed and shouted, “Yo! yo! yo! yo! yo!” the call that Kenny had told me to make if I spotted a rabbit.  But Sadie had spotted this rabbit even before I did, and she was already flying down towards it.  The falconer’s term for a raptor that has taken flight after prey is a “slip.” 

As she closed the distance between herself and the prey, the rabbit doubled back along its path.  Sadie was not fooled.  As quick as a gust of wind she turned in the air and pounced down on the rabbit.  “She’s down!” I shouted.  Kenny and I started walking back across the field, towards the direction that I had seen Sadie take the rabbit, with Caffie bounding ahead of us.  I couldn’t see Sadie anymore, and I was worried that she might hide in the tall grass.  But soon I spotted her between two small hills, mantling over the prey (mantling is when a raptor tries to hide its prey with its wings and body). 
Sadie mantling over her kill
Once Sadie had eaten her fill of the prey, Kenny put her back on his glove and we began to walk back towards his truck with the rabbit in hand.  I felt privileged to witness a raptor catch its prey, one of the most spectacular sights in all of nature. 

Submitted by Leah Sainz, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Friday, April 9, 2010


Mark your calendars for May 1, 2010!

What's the occasion?  It's a party of a different kind!  Come find out what all the hooting, howling, squawking and ribbeting is about.  The kids will love it!  The adults will too!

More clues to be published soon.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Haiku – Red Tailed Hawk

This Haiku by our own Laura MacLeod speaks for itself.

City buildings high
Perching, hunting, watching all
Rarely noticed hawk

Submitted by Laura MacLeod, World Bird Sanctuary Education Coordinator

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Start of the 2010 Field Studies Season

 In early March World Bird Sanctuary began its sixth season working with Ameren, looking at the control methods they use for maintaining their rights of way.

I started the season by cleaning out the nestboxes, removing old nests, mice, and debris from the winter.  I have also been working on repairing and replacing nest boxes.  Local boy scouts working on completing their Eagle Scout service projects make all of our nestboxes.

As of March 10, I was starting to see bluebirds displaying near the nestboxes.  On March 23, I saw the start of nest building by a few bluebirds as well as chickadees and titmice.

I’ve had many enjoyable finds signaling the start of spring, including sightings of flocks of Snow Geese flying over, the first Killdeer, and Eastern Phoebes.  Then there is always the first butterfly, bee, spring peepers, turtles and flowers.  All first finds make the start of the field season enjoyable.

The start of field studies also means fun encounters with wildlife.  My most memorable encounter this season was on March 24 about 1 pm at Robertsville State Park.  I had stopped there to enjoy lunch on a beautiful 65° spring day. Birds were calling and a nice warm breeze was blowing, while off in the distance Barred Owls could be heard calling. 

When I finished lunch I had about a minute or less drive to my parking spot so that I could check the boxes in the park.  I had just driven under the power lines when I saw a good size gray bird on the ground off the shoulder of the road.  I quickly came to a stop and pulled out the binoculars and there was a beautiful Barred Owl with something in his foot.  I approached slowly in the truck.  The owl flew up to a branch about five feet into the woods.  I drove up slowly, rolled the window down, and pulled out my camera.  I took several photos of this Barred Owl.  It just sat there and looked at me.  I pulled into the parking spot and enjoyed more looks at this beautiful bird.  

The Barred Owl remained in the woods while I worked around the truck.  I walked out and took care of several of the boxes, went back to the truck, and the owl was still sitting in the woods watching the truck and me.  I have to say this is definitely one of my most memorable experiences with a wild Barred Owl.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Falcons, Knights and Minstrels, Oh My!

Springtime is on its way, believe it or not!

With spring comes warmer weather, a chance to get outside (without wearing heavy coats and mittens) and fun events and festivals.  One of my favorite festivals to attend is Rennaissance Faires.  If you’ve never been to one, think of the “Free Credit” ads - except the real thing is much much better!
 Audience members watch as a barn owl soars over their heads
Renaissance Faires combine the exciting history of 16th and 17th century Europe (jousting, kings and queens, knights and minstrels) with many modern-day conveniences (restrooms, ATM’s, pizza and beer).  This combination can make for a very fun day, especially if you visit the falconry show!

Falconry is an ancient sport that dates back more than 4,000 years ago.  But usually when people think of falconry, they think of the Renaissance period.  During those days, falconry was so popular that people would often carry their birds with them on a regular basis.  In 1387, there is even a recorded instance of a complaint where nuns were bringing their hawks and hounds into the church and it was disturbing the sanctity of the services!
Laura MacLeod demonstrates the amazing capabilities of raptors with the help of one of our talented barn owls
Falconry took a major hit, though, when hunting with guns became popular.  It was considered more efficient and trendy than falconry.  However, falconry has survived through the ages and is still around today.  You just have to look harder to find it.  One of those places is the Renaissance Faire.

Come join us as we take you back to the ancient days of the Renaissance.  See beautiful birds soar over your head and learn about their roles both in modern and ancient times.  World Bird Sanctuary participates in two local faires.  One of them is the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Festival, located in Wentzville, Missouri and the other one is the Kansas City Renaissance Faire in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  We hope to see you at one or both this year!

The Greater St. louis Renaissance Festival runs for four weekends from May 15 until June 6, including Memorial Day.  For more information on this fascinating event click here.

The Kansas City Remaissance Faire takes place in September and October—more on this one later.

Submitted by Laura MacLeod, World Bird Sanctuary Education Coordinator