Saturday, January 30, 2010

Owl Prowls

In the winter a young owl's fancy turns to thoughts of love!

Come join us before it's too late.  Owl Prowls consist of a short classroom presentation during which you will meet some of our resident owls and get a really close look.

You'll learn some of the amazing facts about these denizens of the night--such as, which owl can dispose of 25,000 mice in a single year?  Which owls might I encounter in a Missouri woods?  Which owl is concerned about your cooking habits?

During the classroom portion of this program you will learn how to hoot, and then we will proceed outside, along with a veteran naturalist, to walk the sanctuary's trails in the dark and listen for the local wild owls who call this area home.  Every so often we will stop to listen, and then hoot, to see if we can get one of the area's lovesick owls to hoot back.

Owl Prowls will be over for this mating season at the end of February, so don't miss this opportunity.

There are still openings on the 2/5, 2/20, 2/26 & 2/27 Owl Prowls

Owl Prowls begin promptly at 7:00 pm and last 1-1/2 - 2 hours.
Cost:  $9/adult and $7 per child under 12.  Discount for groups of ten or more

Reservations required.  Call 636-225-4390, Ext. 0

Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy walking shoes, as we will spend about 1 hour outside.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary volunteer/photographer 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eagle Flight Training

Have you ever seen an eagle in flight really close up and at eye level?

Clark getting ready for a landing

That's what's happening every Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm at Buder Park--and it's FREE!  Our staff is currently training Lewis and Clark, the two eagles that fly at the Cardinal baseball games.  We've decided to invite anyone interested to come and watch.  Not only is this an opportunity for the general public to get a good close look at these magnificent creatures in flight--it's an insight into just what goes into the training of one of these magnificent birds of prey.  

Volunteer Daniel Cone releasing Clark for a training flight
So--if you're tired of sitting inside watching football games, come and join us for some free family entertainment.
World Bird Sanctuary staff member and trainer Roger Wallace getting ready for another perfect landing by Clark

As you enter Buder Park stay to the right.  The birds will be flying in the first small field on the right hand side.  

After you've had a chance to see the eagles strut their stuff, be sure to visit the other animals that call the World Bird Sanctuary home.  We're just up the road from Buder Park at the opposite end of the outer road.  Admission to the Sanctuary is free and we have many other exciting residents on display.

Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bird Watching Can Take You Many Places

Bird watching is a very simple hobby, and one of the fastest growing in the U.S.  

The only equipment you need to pursue this popular hobby are two simple tools.  The first is a pair of good binoculars.  The second is a field guide to birds for the area where you plan to pursue your hobby, such as the Eastern or Western United States. 

Eastern Towhee photographed at my bird feeders in Valley Park, MO
For me, bird watching has always been part of my life.  I saw my first Barn Owl in the wild by the time I was a year old.  In school I generally did projects about birds or that were centered on birds.  This love of birds led me to work for the World Bird Sanctuary for almost 10 years now.  Here at WBS I work with the field studies department doing various bird censuses and nest box studies.

This, past year I have had the chance to do some traveling, not only for work, but also personally, and I’ve had the opportunity to see some amazing birds. 

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl photographed at the King Ranch in Texas
Last spring I took a long weekend and traveled to Southern Texas.  My parents and I had some exciting bird sightings.  The first was very soon after my parents picked me up at the airport.  We headed out to find the Aplomado Falcon.  We arrived at the nesting platform, and sitting way off in the distance on the platform was an Aplomado Falcon.  I was so excited!  That was the last falcon I needed to complete my list for the United States falcons! 

Later that day we found the Masked Duck.  The Masked Duck is a species that is considered a rare sighting in the U.S., and is normally found in Central America and parts of South America.  I also saw more Swainson’s Hawks Migrating through on that trip than I have ever seen before in my life. This was probably the start of their migration into the U.S.

This past November I took a cruise in the Caribbean, including Panama and Costa Rica, and had some fun sightings.   While sailing past the eastern side of Cuba, we were miles out to sea, and an Osprey flew over the ship, heading away from the island.  Then, as we were sailing into Aruba, but still hours away from shore, a Peregrine falcon flew over my head and, I believe, landed somewhere on the ship, because once we got to Aruba a Peregrine suddenly was over my head again. 

I kept my binoculars with me aboard ship, and on all of the stops, to be prepared for whatever bird life was present.  The best day for birding was going through the Panama Canal.  We arrived just before sunrise and were going into the canal as the sun came up.  This is the best time of day for birding, as lots of birds are beginning to move and call at that time. 

We saw more Black Vultures in the canal than I have ever seen before in my life.  Two of the best sightings were a White Hawk way off in the distance and Mealy Amazons.  Both were special since I work with, or have worked with, both of these species here at WBS.  Of course one of my all time favorites for the trip were sightings of three species of toucan and two non-bird species--two and three toed sloths.

Collared Aracari photographed at Gatum Lake in Panama
Birding is so easy, and really opens your eyes up to the world around you.  I find that since I do lots of bird watching I also see more wildlife in general.  Bird watching is just one of the easiest hobbies that you can do every day, and the only work needed to improve your skills is to “Just do it!”. 

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Rookie Files: Chikara

This past summer when I went to the Milwaukee County Zoo to participate in my first season of zoo shows I was not the only rookie. 

Human-wise I was, but many of our birds had never done shows before, or it had been a few years since their last show season.  While we weren’t the only show with newbies, we definitely had the most.  This created some interesting challenges and lots of excitement, but all of our rookies did an excellent job.

One bird new to shows was Chikara, a two year old trumpeter hornbill.  Trumpeter hornbills are named for their call which sounds a little like the warbling of a trumpet.  I personally think it sounds more akin to a crying baby mixed with a trumpet, but that would make for a silly name.  They are found in the forests of Africa where they eat a diet of fruits, vegetation, insects and the occasional small rodent.  Hornbills usually kill their prey by smacking it against a tree branch with their hollow bill or crushing/squishing it with the tips of their bill.  These bills all have a bumpy growth called a casque, and males typically have a larger casque than females.  They live in family groups of three to five, but can be seen in flocks of up to 50 birds if it is not breeding season.

Hornbills are unique in their nesting habits, in that the female and the eggs are actually sealed inside.  Before the female is ready to lay her eggs, the pair selects a cavity with a small opening. The female wiggles inside and together she and the male build a wall of sticks, mud, and even insects that have been squished into a paste. They leave a tiny opening through which food can be passed, and once the chicks are hatched and ready, the wall is broken down

During the show Chikara demonstrated the incredible acrobatic flights that trumpeter hornbills are capable of in order to catch their prey. Chikara entered onto the stage through a hollow tree, flew to her trainer and then waited. The trainer tossed a grape straight up into the air and Chikara flew up in a gorgeous corkscrew vertical and caught it in midair before flying to a perch and being escorted off stage. This behavior simulates the trumpeter hornbill’s ability to catch insects (in this case a tasty grape) while flying. On a few rare occasions Chikara also demonstrated the little known ability to sit on a perch, stretch out her neck and catch prey as it falls in front of her. We often referred to this as ‘cheating’. However as long as our throws were good and we had plenty of grapes (her favorite, and she accepts no substitute) Chikara performed her correct show behavior beautifully.

Being a prey species whose natural instinct is to flee, as well as being new to performing in front of crowds, Chikara had a few times when she had to be coaxed back to her trainers. She also began the season with a fear of seagulls, which was most unfortunate since the zoo’s parking lot was often filled with them. Over time she became accustomed to the large crowds, gull shadows and even loud applause. Of course no one can really blame her for being scared by a man in a giant hot dog costume; I personally was also ready to bolt when I first saw him.

 Now that the season is over Chikara is enjoying her six month vacation in the Education Training Center. She spends her vacation days flying between perches, getting attention from her caregivers, training for next season, and eating all of the grapes that she can squish--which is a lot of grapes!

Submitted by Leah Tyndall, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Keeper

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bald Eagle Training

Have you seen our Bald Eagles fly at Busch stadium?  Have you ever wondered how we make that happen?

Now you can find out!

World Bird Sanctuary invites the public to watch Bald Eagle Training
World Bird Sanctuary is inviting members of the public to watch the process of a bird being trained to fly.  We are currently training a Bald Eagle to fly, and these training sessions are conducted at Lower Buder Park, Valley Park, every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm.  These flights will be continued until the end of February 2010 – they may be extended into March.

These eagles are being trained to fly at big events and shows.  Roger Wallace, Eagle Trainer and expert Naturalist, will be conducting the Bald Eagle training sessions at Lower Buder Park.  Members of the public are invited to come and observe these training sessions to gain insight into how these magnificent birds are trained to fly to their trainer at big events and shows.

The Bald Eagles that are trained to fly are birds that were received by the World Bird Sanctuary because they are not able to be successfully released back into the wild.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in Bald Eagles and/or animal training to learn more about the training process.

Observing these training sessions is free.

Submitted by Catherine Redfern, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Development

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love Notes

It's that time of year again--Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and we have just the gift for your special someone.

Give your sweetheart a permanent symbol of your undying affection.  Our inscribed bricks can be ordered with a variety of symbols, including hearts, a ring, cupid, a dove, a diamond, an engagement ring, wedding bells, flowers, and a number of other symbols that might have some special meaning to you.  They can be ordered with a donor certificate for gift presentation on Valentine's Day.

To order your brick Click Here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Where Does It All Go?

Have you seen the landfills that are right in our own backyards?  They have nicknames, “Garbage Mountains”.  There’s one within eyesight of WBS, and it’s just about to reach maximum capacity, as are many others.  I have seen the one near Gateway International Raceway in Illinois. It’s massive, and reaching capacity, as well.  Then what?  Where will the garbage go then?  Good question. 

We can do something in the meantime.  Do you or your family recycle?  It takes a little extra effort, but it is every individual’s responsibility to do their part to try and leave the land better than they found it.  Recycling is one of the easiest ways to do just that.  You might not give it much thought, but that soda can, shampoo bottle, pickle jar, etc., all adds up.  It’s shocking to me when it’s time to haul my own recycling and I see how quickly it has added up, just in my little domain.  It’s even more amazing when I get to the recycling center and see the mass of rejected items that have been saved from the landfills. 

It is great to be a part of an organization such as the World Bird Sanctuary, which is continually striving to educate people and encourages them to make environmentally friendly choices.  We have the opportunity to inform people of all ages about endangered species, recycling, saving habitat, clean water, conserving energy, and more, every day.  We are doing what we can to make an impact, but it takes everyone doing their part to make a difference. 

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Saturday, January 16, 2010


For almost 30 years World Bird Sanctuary eagle counters have flown over a section of the Mississippi River counting all the Bald Eagles we can see.

When we started, back in the early 1980’s, the Bald Eagle was an endangered species.  Back in those days, if we saw 200 Eagles in the 134 miles of river we fly over it was considered a very successful flight.
To help attest to the tremendous comeback the Bald Eagle has made, for the last 5 years if we don’t see at least 1,000 eagles on the same section of Mississippi River we are disappointed.  On almost the same January day in 2009 we set the record of 2,154 for most Bald Eagles seen on our census flight.  To say the least, I was disappointed on 5 January when we saw just 395 eagles.  Does this low number mean the Bald Eagle is starting to slip back toward being an endangered species?

The answer to that question is a resounding NO, at least for now.  Of course we biologists always keep ourselves aware of current trends of populations of most plants and animals in the world.  There are many that are endangered and need the help of humans to provide correct spaces so they can rebuild their populations.  Most plants and animals on endangered species lists are there because of humans, so at the very least we must do all we can do to help save them.

The Bald Eagle was an endangered species because of habitat loss and the pesticide DDT.  This insecticide killed mosquitoes, and it was invented because of all the diseases mosquitoes can transmit to humans.  We thought we had the answer to conquer diseases like Malaria, but DDT had a terrible side affect.  Millions of tons of it was sprayed, especially over swamps and other bodies of water that could harbor mosquitoes and their larvae.  Through a process called biological magnification the pesticide worked its way up through the food chain.  Bald Eagles eat mostly fish, and each fish the eagles ate gave a dose of DDT to the eagles.  DDT affects the way calcium is deposited on the egg as it develops inside female Bald Eagles, and it caused the eggshell to be so thin that the egg couldn’t withstand the bird’s weight, so Mom would crush the eggs just trying to incubate them.  When there are no young eagles to replace the aging and dying adults, you have a problem.  To make a long story short, the problem was found by biologists, DDT was taken off the market in the early 70’s, and our national symbol started its comeback.
     So the question still remains.  Why such a low number of eagles on our latest census flight?  The answer is the weather.  If anyone hasn’t noticed we are having the coldest weather since December 1998 and January 1999.  Since early December the temperature has continued to drop, and with the frigid cold we’ve had over the last 10 days the Mississippi has frozen almost all the way across from Alton, IL to all points upstream.  The bulk of the eagles have had to travel further south to find open water to continue fishing.  Also, Bald Eagles will feed on carrion, or dead animals, which is, by the way, why Ben Franklin thought the Bald Eagle shouldn’t be our national symbol.  Anyway, all animals that die now freeze solid very quickly, so our eagle friends can’t even “stoop” (in Ben’s eyes) to feeding on carrion at this time.
     Don’t let the weather stop your Bald Eagle watching.  The majority of the 395 eagles we saw were just downstream from the locks and dams we fly over.  Even during the coldest weather the turbulent water created by the dams will not freeze, so the dams at Alton, IL, Winfield, MO, Clarksville, MO, Hanibal, MO and Quincy, IL still have eagles for you to see. 

If you want to see Bald and Golden Eagles from just a few feet away you can visit World Bird Sanctuary headquarters in Valley Park, MO.  With permission from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, over the years we have acquired many eagles that have injuries making it impossible for them to live in the wild.  Bald Eagles can take cold weather about as well as any penguin, so you can visit WBS on a sub zero day and envy how comfortable the eagles are without having to wear 3 sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, long underwear, a Goretex jumpsuit, triple insulated boots, a down parka and a furry hat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Raptor Kids

What has 20 legs, hoots like an owl, and howls like a wolf?  Why it's the Raptor Kids of course!

Is that a hoot or a howl?  Find out at our Spring Concert later this year
Shortly before Christmas the ten youngsters who make up the Raptor Kids chorus assembled at the Music Masters Recording Studio to record their portion of the new, soon to be released, CD by our ever popular in-house musical group, The Raptor Project.

Rehearsing one of their songs with Joe and Roger
The youngsters range in age from fifteen to nine years old.  Some of them were old hands at this recording business, since they had already performed on the group's first CD, "Save the Future".  However, some were new to the group, and this was an exciting new experience.

Being coached by Roger
After being coached by lead singers Roger Holloway and Joe Hoffman on the use of the headsets, and where their part fit into the songs, they began the job of becoming real recording artists.  Now, this wasn't your usual run-of-the-mill recording session!  How many recording studios get performers that hoot like an owl, howl like a wolf, and sing about frogs and possums?

The kids taking a break between songs
Even though they had been practicing their parts at home, and already knew the words, they soon found out that being recording stars could be hard work.  However, they know that when the CD is finally released late this spring all their hard work will be worth the effort.

Greg Trampe, owner, producer, engineer of Music Masters, showing the kids how the sound mixing equipment works.
Watch this blog for information about a special concert to kick off the release of the new CD later this Spring.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

Monday, January 11, 2010


Anyone who works with animals will tell you that the most difficult part of the job is when you lose one of the animals to whom you've become so attached.  No matter the circumstances, it never gets any easier.  This morning it is with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to Dewey, our magnificent Bateleur Eagle.

Dewey was received at the World Bird Sanctuary in 1986 as a confiscation.  We determined by plumage at the time we got her that she was a 1985 hatch.  That would make her 26 years old--a ripe old age for a bird of prey of her size.

Once we knew Dewey was going to be a great education bird, she was sent to Busch Gardens, Florida, where we had just started our bird show.  For the next 17 years Dewey was in every show we presented at Busch amazing 68,000 shows, give or take a few!!  In fact, Dewey got her name from the Anheuser-Busch wine cooler, Dewey Stevens, which was very popular at the time we acquired her.  

Most recently Dewey free flew at our Little Rock Zoo bird show, but she started free flying at the Milwaukee County Zoo in the spring of 2003, just after our Busch Gardens, Tampa show closed.  She was also in shows for many years at Grant's Farm here in St. Louis.  Whenever she first appeared on stage you could always hear a collective "wow" from the audience. 

In addition to all of the above day to day appearances, Dewey has also been seen by literally millions of people when she was featured on the Rain Bird float in the Tournament of Roses Parade – twice!

With many birds of prey you cannot distinguish between males and females because the plumage is very similar.  Back when we acquired Dewey she was all brown, which is the color of all juvenile Bateleurs.  The only way to tell whether or not Dewey was a boy or a girl was to surgically sex the bird, which involves anesthesia and a qualified veterinarian.  However, with Bateleur Eagles the adult female has silvery white coloration across the top side of the secondaries (the large wing feathers closest to the bird's body), as you can see on the beautiful picture of Dewey below.  Since we didn't really need to know if she was a male or female, we just waited until she acquired her adult plumage at age 7. 

Dewey always seemed to prefer women to men, and loved to bathe and sun herself.  If you were lucky enough to catch Dewey while she was sunning, you would have seen the beautiful wing coloration of the female of the species.

Dewey will be sorely missed by staff and audience members alike.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer in collaboration with Jeff Meshach, Assistant Director

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Journey to the World Bird Sanctuary

One of the questions frequently asked by audience members is, " did you come to work for the World Bird Sanctuary?"  Following is staff member Sara Oliver's story.

My Journey to the World Bird Sanctuary

I was fortunate enough to begin working full-time for the World Bird Sanctuary in October 2009.  To give a little background on myself, I grew up in Orange County, New York, graduated from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife science, and then moved to Hillsboro, Missouri (where my husband’s family lives) in May 2009.  Two weeks after we moved, I headed to Florida to fulfill a summer field position where I trapped Santa Rosa beach mice, applied radio collars to them and tracked their movements.

While in Florida, I lived on Eglin Air Force Base on Santa Rosa Island where many beautiful Ospreys would nest or perch in dead trees right along the road!

When I returned to Missouri, I began to volunteer at the World Bird Sanctuary’s rehabilitation hospital where I met some very sweet birds, like Tigger the tawny owl, and some very intimidating birds, like Spike the common black hawk.  The first time I carried her on my glove, I was in awe of how long her legs and neck are.  She reminds me of some prehistoric creature.  When I was hired, I began working in the Education Training Center, the lower site that is not usually open to the public.  A month later, I moved to work at the Nature Center and occasionally the Visitor’s Center.

I first became interested in animals after I joined a 4-H rabbit club at age 11 where I learned how to raise and show pedigree rabbits!  Not known to the average person, there are 46 recognized breeds of rabbits in the US.  I would bring my bunnies to rabbit shows where they would be judged based on a written standard.  This became a big hobby of mine throughout middle and high school.  I steered towards the study of wildlife in college and interned at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Tennessee the summer before my senior year.  There I was able to handle my first bird of prey, an injured eastern screech owl.  Thereafter I learned to handle barred owls, red-shouldered hawks, great horned owls, and cooper’s hawks.  None of these birds were glove-trained as many of them are at the World Bird Sanctuary.  A few of the non-releasable birds would stand on my casting glove for a while, but they did not wear anklets, jess’s and leashes.  At WBS I was thrilled to learn how to carry a trained bird on my arm while walking.  It is so nice to be able to admire the birds of prey so close on my arm when they are calm and comfortable!

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Sara holding Max, a Tawny Eagle

Friday, January 8, 2010

News From The Field

A walk through the woods, or checking our nestboxes on the power line cuts, can often be a real wildlife  adventure. 

Taking a quiet walk through the woods can be anything but when confronted by some of it’s smaller denizens.  During your next “quiet walk”, if you hear something that reminds you of a herd of elephants it is most likely either a squirrel or a box turtle.  You would think that something that noisy would be a large animal, like deer. However, deer are generally rather quiet unless surprised.  In that instance, both you and the deer are likely to have a heart attack from the interaction.

Since box turtles are low to the ground they plow through the leaves and make quite a lot of racket.  In the quiet of the woods that sound seems to amplify.  I always have to think twice when I hear the loud rustle of leaves in the woods--especially when I cannot see the source of all the racket.  Squirrels also make a ton of noise for such a small animal.  One would think that being a small animal they would not make much noise, since other animals prey on smaller animals.

A quiet walk can result in coming across a Pileated woodpecker, our largest woodpecker (with the exception of the Ivory Billed woodpecker which was thought to be extinct until just recently). When this large bird flies away it makes a call that almost sounds like it is laughing. No wonder this bird was the model for the Woody Woodpecker cartoon!

Off in the distance you may hear something that sounds like ”who cooks”, “who cooks for you all”, or even a terrible racket that sounds like a group of monkeys in the trees. This would be a Barred Owl. However, if you hear the high pitched sound like air being sucked in, then you may have a baby Barred Owl in the area. Birds are so much fun to encounter! They can be so noisy that the sound is almost deafening, or so silent you would not know they are present unless you are looking. It’s amazing how much you can see and hear if you just take the time to slow down, stop, and listen every so often. The woods are alive with sound.

A quiet walk through the power cut can results in butterflies and more butterflies, frogs, toads, hatched snake eggs, snakes, dragonflies, damselflies, and beautiful prairie flowers.  Always a fun find for naturalists are the blackberries and black raspberry bushes, and spending time picking and eating berries, yet leaving enough for wildlife. 

However, when you are walking quietly, you may find yourself getting just as startled by the wildlife.  For example, this summer as I was walking through the power cut in high grass I suddenly had a female turkey explode from right under my feet.  I am not sure who was more startled the turkey or me!

A quiet walk through the woods can be very relaxing, sometimes exciting, and can result in some amazing finds.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary, Field Studies Coordinator

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Smarter Than the Average Bird

A few days ago, as I arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary to catch up on some paperwork,  I noticed a couple headed toward the hospital carrying a large cardboard box securely bound with rope.  

Staff member, Roger Holloway, unwrapping  the mystery package while Mr. & Mrs. Iven look on

For most people, at this time of year, this would mean someone was getting a belated Christmas present.  However, at the World Bird Sanctuary, that usually indicates one thing--an injured bird being brought in for treatment!  Since I never go to the Sanctuary without a camera, I decided to tag along and see what sort of surprise was in the box.

The couple carefully carrying the large box were a Mr. and Mrs. Iven from Sullivan, MO.  They had been startled by a loud banging at their front door, but when they went to see what all the commotion was about, there was no one there.  There was, however, a large dark bird in the front yard who seemed to be dragging one of it's wings.  It was a turkey vulture.  They then noticed that there were large bird footprints in the snow in front of their door.  Now, anyone who works with birds of prey will tell you that turkey vultures are VERY smart--BUT REALLY!!  KNOCKING AT THE DOOR?

After they got over their surprise, they managed to capture the bird by throwing a large towel or blanket over him, and then proceeded to try to find out what to do with him now that they had him.  They contacted the World Bird Sanctuary's Office of Wildlife Learning who put them in contact with Roger Holloway who manages our Wildlife Hospital.

By the time Mr. and Mrs. Iven arrived with their Special Delivery, our staff was waiting for them.  The Iven's thought that the bird may have been shot, since they had heard the sound of gunfire in their rural area a couple of days before their discovery.

However, upon an initial examination by staff member, Roger Holloway, and our vet, Dr. Stacey Siebel-Spath, it appears that this was a young bird, who at some time in the past had sustained an injury to it's elbow.  The injury seems to have healed on it's own; however, it had not healed correctly and the bird was unable to achieve full extension of the injured wing, inhibiting it's ability to fly.  Since we have had such a mild fall and early winter it was probably subsisting on carrion that it was able to find in the fields, or on roadkill; but now that winter is upon us and snow is covering the ground it would probably not have survived much longer on it's own since it was already in a weakened condition.

The bird was admitted to our Wildlife Hospital for further evaluation.  Mr. and Mrs. Iven were given a case number for the bird so that they could call and check on his progress if they so desired.  It may be quite a while before we know the prognosis for this (apparently) very intelligent bird.

This is how a great many of the more than 300 birds we receive at our hospital each year arrive.  Our thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Iven for caring enough to drive in from Sullivan so that this amazing creature could have a second chance at life.

Stories such as this one are all too common in our wildlife hospital.  The World Bird Sanctuary's Wildlife Hospital has an amazing success rate.  This past year we released over 50% of the 300 plus birds that were admitted.  That's 12% higher than the national average.  We couldn't do it without the generous support of our sponsors and donors.  On average it costs up to $1,000 to treat a bird admitted to our hospital, depending on the severity of their injuries and the time necessary for rehabilitation.   Some, such as the Tundra Swans recently admitted, will cost much more.  Please consider making a donation to help treat these and many more patients in the coming year by clicking on the Donate button.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, Volunteer/Photographer for the World Bird Sanctuary