Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Effects on the Environment - #2 in a Series

In her first article World Bird Sanctuary volunteer Jennifer Jones talked about the negative impact pesticides have on our raptor population.  Here is the second in her series.

The second thing I want to speak about, that impacts many birds of prey and some other wildlife, can be found in our landfills. 

Landfills contain organic matter, and the biodegradation of that matter produces landfill gases.  These gases are composed mostly of methane.  Landfills dispose of this gas by using Methane Burners; these are typically tall round structures, or smokestacks, which protrude from the ground. 
A hawk whose flight and tail feathers have been singed off by the ignition of a landfill methane burner
Birds of prey hang around landfills because of the abundance, or smorgasbord, of food.  However, due to the lack of trees to perch on, these birds sit on top of the stacks.  The stacks have igniters that cause a sudden flame when the gas reaches a certain concentration.  When the igniter sparks the birds have no warning.  The noise startles it enough to outstretch its wings to fly, but by then it is too late, and the bird’s wings, feet, and face get burned or, worse yet, it causes death.  It is believed that only a low percentage of raptors are rescued due to low traffic volume in a landfill area.  They are just not found in time.

Birds that do survive have to wait until they molt, which could be up to a year, and in that time their muscles will atrophy due to lack of use.  So when their new feathers come in they still need rehab to build those muscles again.
 It will be many months before this bird is able to fly again, if ever
So what can be done?  Write to your local landfill operator and ask them to install structures that deny perching, and provide alternative, higher perches.

Landfills can also be a disaster for wildlife because of:
·      Six Pack rings which can cause strangulation. (We can do our part by cutting the rings before putting them in our trash)
·      Plastic wrap that can cause fatal intestinal blockage (wad it up into a ball and put it in a container before placing it in your trash).
     Discarded fishing line that can get wrapped around various body parts and cut off circulation, often leading to amputation or death.  Because of thoughtless fishermen, fishing line is also found around our lakes, ponds, streams and oceans.  Fishing line is why WBS received one of its permanently injured pelicans (cut discarded fishing line into small pieces to avoid this).

Submitted by Jennifer Jones, World Bird Sanctuary volunteer

Monday, June 28, 2010

Treehugger Bias

I really have to be inspired or moved by something in order to write about it, especially with an impending deadline.  

So, this blog is a little different from my usual, but I think it addresses something that many of us deal with, but don’t talk much about.

“Why can’t we all just get along?”  How many times have we heard or said that line?  I imagine that some of you, like myself, have been referred to a time or two as a “Tree Hugger”, or something of that nature.  I think I have heard them all:  “Nature Cookie”, “Granola”, “Hippie”, etc.  Generally it isn’t meant as a compliment, but an insult.  Personally, I take no offense to it,  but why the ill feelings toward “tree huggers” in general?
Living up to my label
It was a friend’s comment on Facebook that got me thinking about it.  Someone stated that they “hated” an individual for driving a hybrid, and called them a “tree hugging hippie” for doing so.  Really?  I fail to see the logic there.  What is there to hate about someone making a conscious decision to reduce their carbon imprint and conserve resources?

I think that those of us that are environmentally conscious are getting a bad rap, in general, for those few that take things to the extreme.  The radical extremists are not the majority, although they are the ones that usually get the most press.  Most of us want to do what we can as individuals to lessen our personal impact on the environment, and to protect it for future generations.  We recycle.  We conserve water.  We dispose of electronics, chemicals, used oil and prescriptions in a proper manner.  We drive vehicles that get good gas mileage. We care about our wildlife, rivers and streams.  I fail to see the harm in that, or why that should bring about insults and scorn from some folks.  We are all sharing the same space on this one inhabitable planet.
I fail to see the harm in trying to preserve this beautiful stand of Cypress trees
No, we don’t have to be radical, but I can’t ignore the negative attitude and connotation that has been attached to the “tree hugger” label.  Extinction and declining populations are reality.  Overflowing landfills are reality.  Human impact, water shortage and water quality are all realities.  Caring for the environment doesn’t mean that we ignore our human plights, like famine, disease, natural disasters and economic issues.  They are also realities.  We can seek to find a balance within ourselves and our priorities.

There is nothing wrong with doing our best to protect what we haven’t yet destroyed, and to do what we can to restore what we have already ruined.  If caring for wildlife, for nature and for the environment earns me the label of “tree hugger”, that’s fine by me.  Admittedly, I have hugged trees.  But the greatest reward for me is having the opportunity to work with the wildlife that inhabits those trees, and that makes me want to do what I can to help save both.  Have you hugged a tree today?

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Composting Challenge

It takes extra effort to be environmental, even for an environmental organization.  At World Bird Sanctuary, we constantly try to raise the bar and add the challenge for our visitors 

At the Sanctuary, we recycle. Give yourself a pat on the back if you do so at home. Recycling helps lessen what goes into landfills to yield products that can be used again.
Yard and kitchen waste amount to over 30% of the waste in landfills in the U.S.   At the World Bird Sanctuary, we have tried to cut back on what goes into the dumpster in order to conserve landfill space. Over the past several months, we have started ‘cooking’ in our brand new compost pile.  We are not cooking food, but with temperatures between 110-160F, our compost pile is cooking its contents very nicely.
 WBS's compost pile - the simplest form of composting if you have the space
Our compost pile is located on a concrete pad in the woods, away from drainage areas, so that excess minerals aren’t leached into the creeks and the river.  Initially, it started as a small experiment.  Soiled, saturated wood shavings, produce leftovers, rinds, and paper bits were combined at the site.  Weekly, more was added.  The pile was also turned on a regular basis.  More than anything, we wanted to see if it had started to warm up yet.  We didn’t seem to notice any change until a bucket of nitrogen from our pigeons was added.  (We did start the pile in the middle of winter.)

Ever since, when the pile is visited to add a bucket of peels, rinds and shavings, a wave of heat has been wafting off the pile.  I am surprised there is no smell.  This is the first objection most people raise when encouraged to compost their waste.  However, if maintained correctly, a compost pile should have no odor other than the smell of good clean dirt, and when turned over, the center of the pile will be nothing but smoking ashes.  Everything that has been added recently is indistinguishable a week later when we visit with more.  Encouraging other staff, volunteers, and interns to contribute has been made easier with a bucket placed in the kitchen where most of the food preparation takes place.

Making a compost heap is easy to do. I have even encouraged my family members to do so.  Start by collecting food rinds, peels, lint, hair balls, grass clippings, leaves, potato peels and anything else organic.  Locate a spot near your house to dump this collection.  Make sure it is close to a water source. My family chose the corner of the garden since it is currently fallow, and the resulting compost will be close to its final destination when complete. 
 A 3-bin compost pile with each bin in a different stage of "cooking"
Start by adding what was on the ‘goods’ list.  Make sure you keep your pile moist.  If it is too dry, it won’t break down.  It can be a problem if it is too wet too.  The pile should be the consistency of a damp sponge.  Make sure there is a mix of ‘browns’ and ‘greens’ with a ratio of 30 to 1.  Greens are fresh plant matter or animal byproducts that supply nitrogen, and moisture to get things going.  Examples are grass and plant clippings, coffee grounds, egg shells, produce rinds, tea bags, wool, hair, etc.  Browns are carbon rich, dry, dead plant material that add bulk and fluff so the composting microbes can breath.  Examples include pine needles, sticks, sawdust, dead leaves, dry straw, shredded newspaper, dead plants, rice, and wood.  However, don’t add diseased plants, weeds, meat, cheese, bones, charcoal, ashes, fecal waste of dogs, cats, and humans, or fats.

What if you live in an apartment or townhouse?  Many options are still available; vermicomposting, Bokashi buckets, and tumblers.  Tumblers can be purchased at a hardware or garden store.  A tumbler is composed of a rotating drum and ranges from $60-$100 depending on durability.  
A simple tumbler which can be manually rolled around in the back yard, some come on stands with handles to rotate them
Bokashi buckets start at around $115 a year for initial start up supplies (two buckets and a bag of Bokashi).  In this set up, kitchen scraps are sealed in an air tight bucket with a layer of composting microorganisms that ferment and accelerate the breakdown of organic matter.  Allow the bucket to ferment for a week or two then dig a hole and bury it in the garden.  It is an immediately usable source of nutrients for plants.  

Vermicomposting is less work than outdoor composting with less mess, making it an easy way to get rid of kitchen scraps.  The catch: husbands will enjoy stopping by to take your vermicomposter’s hard workers fishing.  Worms are used to create compost in a vermicomposter. But on the flip side, the container they live in can be stored in a closet or kitchen cabinet so temperatures stay between 40-90F.

So, what method will work for your lifestyle?  With several environmental holidays (and Fathers” Day) right around the corner, challenge your friends, family, neighbors and classmates to give the gift of composting.  Your trees and flowers will say “thank you.”

One of the best parts of composting is that once you have set up the system that works best for you, your garden mulch is now free, and it’s better for your plants than any mulch you can purchase at your local garden center.

Don’t forget, World Bird Sanctuary is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

Submitted by Christina Lavallee, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making a Special Event Even More Beautiful

Most churches today no longer allow the throwing of rice after a wedding ceremony because of the mess it creates. 

Many wedding couples have opted for bubbles and balloon releases instead.  However, there are problems associated with these two options.  Bubbles, although lovely, can stain the clothes of wedding party members and guests, and foul camera lenses.  Balloons have proven to be harmful to wildlife. 

There is another option—the release of a small flock of WBS Homing Pigeons!  Not only are the birds beautiful, they symbolize the couple’s willingness to let go of their old lives and begin a new relationship as a couple.  Friends and relatives find this to be a very touching moment at the end of the ceremony.

People often tell us how special it was having the birds at their wedding.  Sometimes the Bride and Groom hold a pair of birds and release them as part of the ceremony, like a recent wedding at the Missouri Botanical Garden. One couple released the birds from Alton, IL, to have the birds fly back over the Mississippi River to the World Bird Sanctuary. At other times family members or friends have contacted us to set up the bird release as a gift to the wedding couple. Most brides like to release the birds after the formal wedding ceremony, just outside the church.  Others have released the birds outside the reception hall. Our Wedding service area in Missouri is St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County and just over the Missouri border into Illinois.

Stacie Stillinovic, a previous World Bird Sanctuary intern, wanted to give a unique gift to her sister for her wedding. Stacie asked WBS staffers if she could have these beautiful birds released outside Assumption Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri, following her sister's wedding on November 7th, 2009. We enthusiastically agreed. The pictures of the birds, kids, family, friends, and the church grounds and steeple show what a beautiful touch this can be for an already beautiful event. The pictures were provided to Michael Zeloski by Stacie Stillinovic.

Contact World Bird Sanctuary at 636-225-4390 extension 0 to schedule the birds for your wedding day.

Written by Michael Zeloski, World Bird Sanctuary

Friday, June 18, 2010

It’s Turtle Season

Every year in the month of May there’s an increase in the number of Turtles being seen on the roads. 

Since I am in the field every day I cannot begin to tell you how many turtles I see on the road, and the number I see hit by cars.  I understand that on some roads you can do your best to try to avoid them.  However, sometimes there is no way to avoid hitting them without destroying your car in the process.

In many cases the simplest solution is to stop the car, get out and move the turtle off the road.  It only takes a few extra minutes, and you will be saving a life.  When you move a turtle move it in the direction it appears to be going, if this can be done safely for you and does not put the turtle in more danger.  Never risk your life for a turtle!  If you stop maybe someone else will see you, and will stop and do the same thing the next time.

Usually, the largest numbers of turtles are seen on the road first thing in the morning.  A majority of the turtles that are on the move and crossing roads at this time of year are the females that are heading for nesting grounds.

While reading about turtles crossing the road I found some excellent information on the Humane Society website about what you can do to prevent Vehicle/Animal Collisions.  Following is an excerpt:

“Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. Not only will this help you to avoid harming or killing wildlife, but it will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slowly moving vehicles.

“Be Alert!

“Be especially watchful for wildlife at dawn, dusk, and in the first few hours after darkness falls. Many species of wildlife are most active at these times.

“Edges of roads that border agricultural fields or natural habitats are places to be particularly watchful for wildlife.

“Assume that animals do not know to get out of your way. Young animals, in particular, do not recognize cars as a threat.

“Lower your dashboard lights slightly. You'll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

“Every apple core, french fry and smelly sandwich wrapper tossed out of a car attracts wildlife to roadsides—often with fatal results. Never throw litter from your car.

“Remember that where there is one animal crossing, there may be more young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a mate.

“Try to slow down, especially after dark. Many animals needlessly become victims simply because people drive too fast to avoid hitting them. Speed poses a risk to human safety as well.”

Every time you see a turtle on the road think about this--a box turtle can live 50 years in the wild.  By ensuring that one female turtle lives you are giving the 5 or 6 eggs that she lays each year a chance.  In the future at least one of those babies will survive to adulthood and will take her place to continue the species for future generations to enjoy.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Effects We Have on the Environment - #1 in a Series

World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer Jennifer Jones has written an article about how some of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives can negatively impact wildlife, and gives us some alternatives that we can easily implement.  Following is the first in a series of Jennifer’s suggestions.

In today’s modern world we find many new ways to try to improve on our daily lives and activities. However, these improvements can sometimes have a negative impact on not only our health, but our environment as well.  I would like to give you a few examples of these in this and subsequent articles, and then some suggestions on how we can improve ourselves to save not only our lives but those in the wild as well.

In my experience as a volunteer with the World Bird Sanctuary, I have come to know of at least 3 things that affect our birds of prey alone.  I will talk about 2 of those in this series.

The first is how we kill rodents.  How many of you use poisons to kill mice?  These poisons are not good.  They are not only inhumane but they also cause accidental secondary poisoning.  Mice or rats that have been poisoned can take up to 72 hours to die.  So these mice or rats are the ones that are easily caught by owls or hawks, since  they are the ones that are moving the slowest.  It takes only one poisoned mouse to kill a barn owl.  One wrong choice and that bird is gone! 

Estimates vary as to how many rodents a Barn Owl consumes in a year’s time.  Several  University of California studies indicated that an adult Barn Owl can consume 1 to 2 rodents per night.  Using this number, that would put rodent consumption at close to 6000 mice per year for a Barn Owl family consisting of 2 adults and 5 or 6 young. This study was conducted in the Berkely, California area.  Studies by other organizations in other parts of the country indicate that the number of rodents consumed in any given area was determined by the abundance and type of available prey. 

Many of you do not live in areas where barn owls are found though.  So, what is the best trap to use instead of poisons? The good old-fashioned snap trap, which is a much more humane method.  A snap trap usually kills the mice instantly, or within a few seconds, instead of hours or days. Or—if you can’t bear the thought of killing even a rodent, perhaps a live trap would be a better solution for you. Take them far away from the house and set them free.  The birds will love you for it. 

The Barn Owl was just taken off the endangered list in the state of MO.  Let’s keep it off that list.  The Barn Owl is still endangered in many other states.

Submitted by Jennifer Jones, World Bird Sanctuary volunteer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rookie Files: Riley

Each year as May approaches I get more and more excited, knowing that we will soon be headed back to the Milwaukee County Zoo to do another bird show. 

Our crew consists of some old as well as some new faces (both human and animal) and of course a couple of rookies.  Perhaps most exciting for me is the fact that Riley, our American barn owl, will finally be making his first appearance in shows. 

Riley spent the summer last year becoming accustomed to strange new people and places. He was one of our most popular teaser birds, or birds we take to the sidewalks around our theatre to get people excited about the show. People were very excited to see him sitting on the glove or on his perch in the weathering area, and the characteristic barn owl “upside down head” (when curious about something, raptors will turn their heads upside down to see the object better) was always a crowd pleaser.
A 42 day old Barn Owl baby displaying the "upside down head" posture 
Riley was hatched at the World Bird Sanctuary to two of our breeding barn owls, Athena and Sonar. He is a little over a year old and very curious. Like all barn owls he has fantastic hearing, thanks in part to the shape of his face. A barn owl’s face is shaped like a satellite dish, and those hundreds of tiny feathers that make up the disc help to funnel sound directly to the ears. This adaptation allows barn owls to hunt in complete darkness; in fact they can hear a mouse scurrying up to ninety feet away!
 A 63 day old Barn Owl displaying the typical Barn Owl heart shaped facial disc
Barn owls are also excellent hunters because they can easily sneak up on their prey. “How,” you may ask?  Their feathers of course!  Owl feathers have a soft fringe along the leading edge of their outer wing feathers, sort of like the teeth of a comb. They have even smaller fringes on the trailing edges.  This muffles the wind as it passes through the wing, allowing owls to fly silently and sneak up on their prey. That mouse will never know what hit it!

Barn owls are fantastic predators, but they are also a prey that can be a prey species. Great horned owls and barred owls, especially, will eat this species. In order to compensate for this, barn owls have one of the highest reproductive rates for a bird of prey. They can lay up to fourteen eggs in a clutch, or group of eggs, and some years they will double clutch. That’s a lot of little barn owls in a nest!
 A basketful of curious Barn Owl babies
Luckily for Riley, he did not have to worry about sharing a nest with so many siblings. Since we knew he was going to be used for education he was largely raised by humans. In order to acclimate him, we took him home with us at night. He learned how to hide from predators behind my TV, hunt my remote control, and fly by jumping from my dresser to my couch. He was a quick study when it came to sitting on a perch, though he preferred trying to climb up the sides rather than jumping, and loves sitting on the glove (in fact, he prefers it to his perch). Riley loves to explore, to the point of causing his trainers worry when he tries to squeeze out of his pens (he is very squishy) and his first experience with snow resulted in him trying to take a bath in it (he found this did not work out as expected).
 Riley checking out the snow
This summer, Riley will perform in shows, showing off his excellent sense of hearing and hunting skills. So if you’re in Wisconsin, feel free to look us up! And if you’re not in Wisconsin, why not plan a road trip? Everyone should be Milwaukee bound!

Submitted by Leah Tyndall, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Day at the Education Training Center (E.T.C.)

A lot goes on behind the scenes at the World Bird Sanctuary that most guests and volunteers don’t even realize.

Between the three buildings and many more outdoor mews (bird housing), live a myriad of birds. Many of the birds are used in programs, but not any that you might see at a school event or camp outing such as the programs presented by the education department. Instead, these birds move out of state every summer to educate guests at zoos, theme parks, aquariums, and more.
Osiris, one of our veteran zoo show performers
Other birds at the lower site are pairs of birds that have been together for years, producing some of the out of state bird stars. Many of the breeding birds have gotten older though, and are producing fewer offspring. However, these birds are still called upon by the rehabilitation department when a baby owl or other raptor is found out of the nest. The largest species of owl, the Eurasian eagle owl, has helped to foster barred owl and great horned owl chicks brought into our rehabilitation department, teaching these wild birds how to be an owl before they are released back into the wild.
A Barred Owl baby
Behind the scenes is also home to many of our education ambassador eagles that participate in programs in January and February at the Eagle Day events presented throughout Missouri and the Midwest, and the “flying team” of eagles we affectionately refer to as “Bubbas.” The ‘Bubbas’ have flown at Busch Stadium, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Crown Valley Winery and for the Chicago Bears, just to name a few. These eagles were also the birds that were flown last January to early April in Buder Park on the weekends.
Clark, one of our flying Eagles, training at Buder Park
In the morning, all the raptors on anklets and jesses go outside for the day to weather. This gives them the opportunity to sun bathe, eat, splash in their water bowls, and watch the wildlife. The rest of the morning staff time is spent preparing food and feeding all the 60 birds that call the E.T.C. building home, in addition to the 60 plus babies in the breeding barns, and the display birds on the ‘line’ at WBS’s public site.
 One of our Bateleur Eagles sunning in the weathering area
With the responsibility of over 80% of the World Bird Sanctuary’s animals’ food prep, freezers are kept stocked with donations of rabbit, venison, rats, mice, chicks, chickens, and fish. The wide variety of diets fed include food for parrots, omnivores like Pied Crows and White-necked Ravens, raptors like eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, falcons, and even chickens, rats and a snake. And no, the live rats are not food!  After the tables and dishes are washed, the humans grab a quick lunch before continuing with the clean up.

The raptor room, where most of the raptors spend the night, has to be cleaned of all the meals that have gone through their digestive systems. Any spare time includes special projects for the birds' upkeep, from rewrapping perches to changing shavings or freshening waters.
Osiris, our Egyptian Vulture, practicing a natural behavior peculiar to this species--breaking an egg with a rock!
Many birds are trained to do specific behaviors for shows and need to be worked to keep them in shape. An afternoon can easily become an all day task just working the birds for their food. This training comes under the heading of enrichment and keeps the birds from getting bored.
One of our Seriemas demonstrating this species' snake catching and "slamming" technique
A couple of hours before ‘lights out’, bowls are pulled from the parrots and the rest of their papers are cleaned, and baths given to these rainforest denizens. This gives the parrots time to splash—a behavior they would do on their own in the wild. Once the parrot room is cleaned, all the raptors that went out in the morning are returned to the clean raptor room to begin the cycle again.

It is good to be busy rather than idle. Our thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who have discovered the secret garden of the E.T.C. We really couldn’t do it without you. The birds appreciate it as well!

Submitted by Christina Lavallee, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Friday, June 4, 2010

A “Dirty” Job

As I was doing my laundry, my thoughts quickly turned to the past work week, and the fact that we really do have a dirty job.  

In this line of work, you never want to let your work clothes slip through the laundry without a proper inspection for stains first, followed by pre-treat, pre-treat, and more pre-treat.  As they say, “Stuff happens,” and it happens a lot.
 Cleaning up the birds' stalls  is an every day "must do"
Often times, this leads to humorous stories shared by all in the staff kitchen.  For instance, I let my fellow Naturalist friend, Dana, borrow my coat to go up to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital to feed the red-shouldered hawk she’s been working with.  I remember jokingly telling her not to get any “shmoo” on it.  I know, “shmoo” is not a real word, but around here, we all know that it is referring to any form of grossness that has unfortunately transferred itself upon an unsuspecting person.  Unbeknownst to me, I left work that evening with a ridiculously large “shmoo” smear down the arm of my coat, which had then spread all over the side as well.  Normally, I wouldn’t have thought that much of it, as my coat is washable.  However, I failed to notice it until after I got home, and after I had gone into two stores and walked around for an hour, all the while, talking on the phone.  Good times!  I wonder what people were thinking?

There are tons of stories like that, which every staff person or volunteer could share.  We have all stuck a knee, hand or elbow in a poo pile, been pooed on by a creature of some sort, and had hawk or vulture drool slung in our face.  There are many unpleasantries I could describe that would probably be too much for a “G” rating.

Food preparation is one of the most challenging elements in the daily “Avoid the Schmoo Olympic Games”.  Our raptors are not vegetarians.  They are strictly carnivores.  What do they want?  Meat!  We try to replicate close to what their diet would consist of in the wild:  rats, mice, rabbits, venison, fish, quail, etc.  All of this has to be “prepared” by our loving hands and scissors.  A messy job, I can assure you!  There are endless stories about food preparations going awry. The goal is always to go home without any “casualties” to your clothing.  More often than not, that mission fails!

There is no question that we have a dirty job.  And we really get into our work.  It’s a real challenge for a “germaphobic”, such as myself.  The unpleasantries are a part of the package when working with animals.  Let’s face it, they aren’t potty trained, and they do not use utensils to eat with, other than the ones with which Mother Nature provided them.  After working with the birds and other animals for five years, I still experience things on a daily basis that totally gross me out.  Again, with the “G” rating, I can’t go into it.  Just trust me! 
 Billie caught in the act of cleaning up "schmoo"
So, after a long day of cleaning up poo, cutting up raptor food, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning and sweating it up with the best of them, we go home, hit the showers, pre-treat the laundry and get ready to come back and do it all over again the next day.

Our work is never boring, and no two days are ever alike.  And when even the grossest and filthiest of tale telling workdays is over, I still say that it is worth it in the end, and I consider it a privilege to be able to do what I do for an organization that I truly believe in.

The World Bird Sanctuary is always looking for volunteers.  If you are ready to dig into the daily duties of helping care for our birds of prey and other wildlife, we would love to have your help.  If a “dirty job” is not your cup of tea, there are other opportunities available that don’t involve dirty work.   If you would like more information about volunteering at the World Bird Sanctuary, you can download an application at or send an email to

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Come out to the World Bird Sanctuary this coming Saturday, June 5, 2010 and help us celebrate National Trails Day.

This is a fun event for the whole family, with trails of differing lengths for all levels of hiking.

*            Our Hickory Trail is 1.5 mile long with hilly terrain, and will take approximately 45 minutes.

*            We have a new trail that is not even named yet.  This trail is slightly less than 1 mile, with hilly terrain, and will take approximately 30 minutes.  We will be accepting naming suggestions for this newest trail.

*            For those of you who are already experienced hikers and want a bit more of a challenge, there is the Castlewood Loop Trail.  From your starting point at the World Bird Sanctuary the entire loop is 6.5 miles long, and will take approximately 2.5 hours to navigate.  This trail is mostly flat terrain.

There's no telling what you might see along one of our trails.  Naturalists will be available along the trails to do nature interpretations or answer questions.  

A snack station will be available at the World Bird Sanctuary starting point, with snacks and beverages available for purchase by participants.  There are no water stations once you get onto the trails, so be sure to bring plenty of beverages to keep hydrated.

There will also be volunteers available to help out or introduce you to orienteering.

Bring your cameras for a very special event—a Photo Scavenger Hunt!  There will be a prize drawing for participants who complete the Scavenger Hunt!

Be sure to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes as trails are not paved.

DEPARTURE POINT:  The World Bird Sanctuary
EVENT HOURS:  9 am – 1 pm

Subitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer