Saturday, February 27, 2010

Exciting News!

What has two legs, fur, wings, and flies--and is now on permanent exhibit at the World Bird Sanctuary's Nature Center?
Batty and Scar clustered together in a typical formation for this species
.....and the answer is....Batty and Scar, our two Straw Colored Fruit bats!

Batty and Scar were given to WBS by the Milwaukee County Zoo at the age of two years.  Up to that point they had not been handled much, except for check-ups.  When they arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary our first goal was to gain their trust so that they would become comfortable in the presence of humans.  With many hours of patient training they have now become accustomed enough to human activity that they will be comfortable in our display area in the Nature Center.
Batty showing off her large ears and alert eyes
Why do we have bats, you may ask?  As the only mammal that truly flies, they are an excellent example of the differences between birds and mammals.  This information is incorporated in many of our education programs--especially for the younger children.

Look for "the boys" the next time you visit us.  Even though most bats look alike, if you are sharp-eyed enough, you may even be able to tell them apart, since Scar gets his name from a small scar on his lip.
Scar  in a typical "bat-like" posture, showing the seldom seen tongue and teeth of a bat
Batty and Scar are both available for adoption.  For more information on adopting one or both of the boys, call 636-861-3225.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Rookie Files: Dr. Who

Doctor Who, also known as the Whonado and Whobeast, is a female Eurasian Eagle Owl.  

She was almost two years old and was definitely one of the bigger training challenges this summer.  When we first start training a bird it is best to start at a young age.  Since this is when they would be learning life skills from their parents in the wild, it is the easiest time to teach them the behaviors that they will need to know as a show bird.  Since we had few education programs at zoos the summer after Who was hatched, this was not the case.
 A Eurasian Eagle Owl flying directly overhead is a breathtaking experience
Doctor Who was hatched at the World Bird Sanctuary in our propagation building.  Once she reached her full size at three months she was put into free loft, basically given her own room (complete with all the trimmings of a few perches and water bowl).  Who lived the bachelorette lifestyle for about a year and a half until we received some happy news.  We were going to be doing four zoo shows for the 09 season!  Even more exciting was that each show would be flying an eagle owl…except, we only had two flying eagle owls ready for shows.  After a lot of patient training the Doctor was ready to head out to Milwaukee as our new show bird.  Once there we began working on her show behavior. We started out simply, with short hops from the glove to a stump.  It took longer for Dr. Who to grasp "simplicity" than most other eagle owls we've trained.  Over time we extended the distance between the glove and stump and later between two different stumps, until Doctor Who could comfortably fly where we directed her.
A Eurasian Eagle Flying just above his head is something a youngster is not likely to forget soon
During the show Doctor Who flew to a perch on the side of the stage and then flew between a series of stumps for a reward, before hopping to a trainer’s glove and being walked offstage.  Obviously not rocket science, but it is a tad more complicated for an owl.  Despite the fact that many people think owls are highly intelligent, in reality they do not have very large brains.  Those beautiful eyes they use to help them hunt actually take up two thirds of the space inside their skull, which does not leave a whole lot of room for a brain.  Their eyes are also so large that there is not enough room for the muscles used to turn the eyes, causing owls to always look in one direction. This fixed vision is compensated for by having the ability to turn their heads three quarters of the way around or 270 degrees.  They can do this because they have fourteen bones in their neck, whereas all mammals including humans have only seven.
 A Eurasion Eagle Owl demonstrate's it's ability to turn it's head 180 degrees--it could go as far as 270 degrees if needed
Like all new stars Doctor Who had some caveats; she was not a morning bird (no flying before noon, period) and she was very picky about her personnel.  For the most part the Doctor did her routine well, she loved her tasty rat treats and we had a very long section of script for her.  Generally her only issue was pausing for long periods of time in order to stare at the audience, but this allowed us to show off her characteristic orange eyes and her large size.  One day she made the discovery that she did not have to remain on her current stump or hop to her trainer, but could in fact fly back to the previous stump…and sit…and stare…and sit a little more.  Of course since there was no longer a reward on the stump she eventually learned this was a futile exercise.  Because of this training hiccup, many in the audience that day became owl experts.

Now that the show season is over, Doctor Who is back in free loft.  She spends most of her time doing what she does best; sitting on her perch, occasionally playing with her chew toy, and eating her dinner…which, like all stars, must be hand delivered to her room.

Submitted by Leah Tyndall, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gilbert and Baton Rouge

When I first met Gilbert and Baton Rouge, our gorgeous King Vultures, I couldn’t stop staring at the beautiful coloration on their heads!  
Baton Rouge, our magnificent King Vulture
I had never imagined such beauty in a vulture.  Before I started working for WBS, I had always thought of vultures as a generally unattractive and gross group of birds.  Seeing these King Vultures for the first time began a change in the way I thought of all vultures.  For example, I noticed that when the sun shines on our new turkey vulture, Kinsey’s feathers, they are not only charcoal black, but blue, green, and purple too!

King vultures have a variety of colors on their head: red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, black.  In addition, the majority of their body is mostly white with a light rose tint, very unlike the other vultures in the new world, which have mostly very dark feathers.  King vultures range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, inhabiting forests in tropical lowlands. In Mayan mythology, the King vulture is portrayed as a god bringing messages between humans and the other gods!

I am particularly interested in the parenting behavior and courting/mating rituals of animals.  King vultures have quite an elaborate mating ritual, involving a pair circling around each other, wings flapping.  When mating, they can be very loud, with unique snorting and wheezing sounds.  They do not build nests but lay their eggs in stumps, logs or tree crevices.  They normally lay only one egg, and both parents incubate and care for the young.  The parents will store food in their crop and regurgitate it into the chick’s mouth.  As the baby gets older, the parents will regurgitate it onto the ground. Yum!

Since King Vultures are a tropical species and require heated quarters during the winter, they are not on display in areas normally open to the general public.  However, if you come to our Open House in the fall you will be able to see them at our lower site which is open to the public during this one special weekend of the year.  Or, if you are fortunate enough this summer to attend one of our shows at the Milwaukee County Zoo, be sure to look for one of these beautiful birds during the performance.

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Straw Colored Fruit Bats

I’ve previously written about enrichment, and thought we could explore this fascinating subject further. 

One of the biggest things when doing enrichment is to take the animal’s natural history into account. What would that animal do in its natural environment to find shelter, food, escape predators, find water for drinking or bathing, or just general care of oneself?

For example, with our straw colored fruit bats, they have many of the basics but we switch up their enclosure to include enrichment. To begin with, they have a pen enclosed in wire so they can climb on all six sides (which they can speedily traverse.) They also have a couple of towels (which simulate leaf fronds) under which to shelter from “predators” and “light”, and from the diurnal birds that live in the same building with them. The towels are moved to different locations, at different heights and are hung over different textures of grapevine, branches, sisal and chain. This encourages exploring behaviors.
The food is cut up and placed in a cup, but not always. Whole pieces of fruit are “shish kebobed” and hung randomly about and from variable items.  They also ‘work’ for their food. They are hand fed treats for training sessions. They are learning basic behaviors and some husbandry behaviors (so they can help us in their care.)

Bats are crepuscular to nocturnal which means they are active not only around sunrise and sunset, but even at night. When a bat is out foraging (or looking) for food, other animals are also looking for food. What other nocturnal animals are carnivores (meat eating) that might fly to catch their prey? At the Sanctuary we have a lot… Owls! Lucky for the bats, they have several ‘leaf fronds’ (in which they seem to be constantly surrounded) to hide under in case of approaching predators.

The bats are some of the most active animals we have. However, their activity begins as keepers do final checks on the birds. We turn off half the lights. Even before those lights are turned off, the bats are climbing all over the sides and ceiling of their enclosure with flights to their food and back. Watching them fly gives goose bumps. It is something special to observe, especially after working around birds all day.

Bats have many adaptations for the places in which they live. Straw colored fruit bats eat plants, including fruit. In their natural habitat, they would find ripe fruits by listening to the advice of Toucan Sam: follow your nose. With an excellent sense of smell, food can be hidden in their enclosure but also novel smells can be added in random places to encourage continuous exploration of their surroundings. When the bats make appearances at programs, kids notice their big ears, asking questions on echolocation. This type of bat has no need to echolocate since they are not following insect prey. However, Little Red Riding Hood learned big ears were ‘all the better to hear you with’, including predators that might sneak up on an unsuspecting bat resting during the day. Finally, observe the eyes on these bats. Being fairly large, they take in much more light when in low light situations than diurnal animals.

Submitted by World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Keeper, Christina Lavallee

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cherry Breaks the Ice

Yesterday, I gave one of my friends, Stephanie, a tour of the Education Training Center, where the birds live when it is not show season.  I could tell by her expression that she was apprehensive about the birds.  I understood her point of view because, as an intern last fall, I myself was very averse to the crows.  I loved the raptors, but I did not want anything to do with the crows. 

Crows have an undeserved negative reputation.  After all, they frequently appear as sinister characters in literature and film.  But now that I have spent some time working with them, they have become one of my favorite types of birds. 

I became particularly close to Cherry, the African Pied Crow when we worked together at the Little Rock Zoo Show.  Her intelligence and playfulness impressed me and changed my outlook on crows.  Now I like to spend time after work sitting with Cherry.  As each workday draws to a close, Cherry stands by her door and watches me expectantly.  When I go into her mew and sit on the ground, she jumps into my lap and lets me preen her feathers. 

When I saw that Stephanie was a little uncomfortable around the birds, I knew that Cherry could help break the ice.  I brought her over to Cherry’s mew and I said to the bird, “Hey Cherry!  Can you growl?”  Cherry turned her head to the left, then to the right, puffed out her throat feathers, opened her beak, and said, “Grrrowl!”  Stephanie laughed and applauded for her.  I was glad to help someone see crows in a new light.

Submitted by Leah Sainz, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Keeper

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last Chance!

If you haven't already been to one of our Owl Prowls, this is your last chance for this season!

The next two Saturdays, 2/20 & 2/27, are our last Owl Prowls until next Fall.  So, if you're tired of sitting in the house, and want to get into the out of doors, this is a perfect opportunity.  Come join us as we walk the trails of the World Bird Sanctuary property at night, listening for the owls that call the area home.

The program starts out in our Nature Center, with an informative presentation by one of our Naturalists about the lifestyles and amazing hunting abilities of these creatures of the night.  Before we proceed outside we will have the opportunity to learn how to hoot like an owl.  Then we will head outside to practice our new found hooting skills.

Don't miss the opportunity to take part in this unique experience!  Reservations are required for this program.

To reserve a spot call 636-225-4390, Ext. 0
Program fees:  $9/adult and $7/child

Programs begin promptly at 7:00 pm and last approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Be sure to dress for the weather and wear warm, comfortable walking shoes.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Heads Up!

How many of us ever really look up?

Earlier this week, as I headed up the hill from the Nature Center at WBS, I could hear Liberty (one of our resident Bald Eagles) sounding his alarm call.  I was quick to look to the skies to see if there were any “intruders” about.  I was startled by none other than a mature bald eagle perched atop a tree right by our Visitor’s Information Center.  Now when I say startled, I mean it scared me!  One of those “Whoa!” moments.  Well, I must have startled him with my excited exclamation, and he took to the sky.  As I watched him head toward the river, I saw another adult bald eagle join him in the air.  Spectacular!  As I watched the pair soar effortlessly, to my amazement, I saw yet another mature bald eagle in flight.  As the trio glided through the air, I watched in awe, as one eagle locked talons with another, spinning and spiraling out of control, just for a moment.  They separated for seconds, and then locked talons again.  All the while the third eagle continued to fly nearby.  I was unable to take my eyes off of them until they drifted completely out of my sight.  I was too excited to contain myself.  As soon as I returned to the Nature Center, I was telling the story with great enthusiasm (and animation).

I have the rare privilege of seeing and working with eagles and other birds of prey on a daily basis.  Still, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing these “masters of the sky” in all their glory and splendor.  It never gets old.  I look forward to eagle season all year, every year, and I am fortunate that I don’t have to go very far from home to see them.  Even if I did, it would still be worth it.

Today I had the opportunity to go out eagle watching with Cathy Spahn, Field Studies Coordinator.  We saw around four-dozen eagles in all, most of them in Alton, Illinois.  The numbers pale in comparison to last year’s record counts, but I speculate that the weather is to blame.  With the “warming trend”, as open water is made more available, it is predicted that we will see the local eagle numbers on the rise.

Coming back from Alton, Illinois, as we crossed the Mississippi River, with the Gateway Arch in sight, we saw a pair of adult bald eagles flying overhead.  Magnificent!  As I made my way down Highway 141 toward the Meramec River, much to my surprise, I saw a pair of mature bald eagles soaring right above a shopping center.  Both sightings made me wonder how many people drive right underneath these wondrous displays, and never look beyond what is right in front of them.  Now, I am not suggesting any kind of “creative driving” here, but if and when you can, give a “heads up” and an occasional glance to the sky.  You just might have the opportunity to witness something absolutely breathtaking.

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Odd Birds in Rehab

The Wildlife Hospital at World Bird Sanctuary has been very odd lately.  

Most of the birds we admit are usually birds of prey, but recently swans, pelicans and great blue herons are filling up our clinic cages. 
 Trumpeter Swan and his mate - victims of a poacher
Unfortunately, the pair of trumpeter swans that were shot by a poacher in December did not survive. Even with a tremendous investment on our part, both monetarily and emotionally, we were unable to save them.  This is one of the pitfalls of working in animal rehab.  However, each time we are able to release one of our patients back into the wild we are reminded why we do what we do.  

 Osprey recently admitted to the hospital
Even the birds of prey that we are receiving are ones that we don’t see that often.  A number of Bald Eagles have made it in to the hospital, including one that was caught in a trap and died from a gangrenous infection where the trap had severed the toe.  We’ve even admitted an Osprey, which was in a fight with a Bald Eagle.  He is eating well and looks set for release in the next 6-8 weeks.

I am glad that we are here for them – at World Bird Sanctuary we are all odd birds!

Submitted by Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager, World Bird Sanctuary

Thursday, February 11, 2010


What do cereal boxes, tennis balls and termite mounds have in common?

They are all enrichment items for the birds. What is this enrichment you may ask?  Enrichment is a way to keep the birds from being bored.  Even though we are around the birds all day long, the staff can’t spend every moment with our ‘favorite’ birds.  Instead, we can give them toys to play with.

One of the most popular "toys" at WBS--Move over WII!
Most of the birds are similar to young children, some have short attention spans and are easily bored or on the flip side of the coin, are geniuses.   But never fear, an empty cereal box is here.  After the holidays or birthdays rather than play with the present, many kids like to play with or in the box the gift came in.  Now, downsize it for a bird.  Parrots love to chew and shred the cardboard from the boxes we give them.  Other parrots will crawl into their new ‘cave’.  The crows and ravens enjoy trying to get their food out of a cereal box.  Afterwards, they proceed to shred the boxes and use the cardboard pieces to hide any uneaten food.  (Parents, it is kind of like watching children hunt for Easter eggs and baskets and then devouring all the chocolate.)

So how do tennis balls and termite mounds fit in?  Every bird manipulates their ‘toys’ differently. Some birds pick up balls, others carry them around, and a few bury them.  Balls can come in different sizes like tennis balls, wiffle balls, and playground balls.  Toys can be hung from the perch or the top of the pen.  One of our Trumpeter Hornbills likes to poke at his while he is sitting on his perch.

Our Trumpeter Hornbill practicing his ball handling skills
The red-legged seriemas are sometimes a challenge.  Recently a staff member and volunteer constructed a device into which we can place crickets.  The toy looks like a termite mound and has internal piping. When the crickets want to come out they can. There are many holes in the termite mound so the crickets can find their way out of any hole, on their own time. The seriamas learned really fast how patience gets them the tasty treat. They also learned it was a great perch from which to watch.
If you're a Seriema, watching this "termite mound" can keep you busy for a good part of the day
Enrichment is more than toys.  It can also be in the presentation.  An open box versus closed, open from the side, upside down, or upright.  A box for one bird might not have the same excitement value unless it is tied to the side of an enclosure.  This can also be used on kids in food preparation.  The food they don’t enjoy eating, say cauliflower, can be changed to a tasty treat by adding cheese on top, or by mashing it so the consistency is similar to mashed potatoes.  It is even a good way to fool adults.  Trust me on this one.  I saw an older gentleman duped into eating his veggies in this fashion.

Looking for other ways to entertain your children (or adults)?  Stop by the sanctuary to visit the ever changing exhibits, programs and more.  Maybe you’ll see a red- legged seriama calling from his or her termite mound perch.

Submitted by Christina Lavalee, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Keeper

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last Trumpeter Swan Update

In early December World Bird Sanctuary received two Trumpeter Swans that had been shot.  These swans were a mated pair, and their bond was seen by all of us working with the swans in our wildlife hospital.  The female was the more seriously injured of the two, and her wing bones were pinned back together in the hope that it would heal well enough for her to be able to fly.  The male’s break was wrapped and immobilized, and although his injury was less serious than the female, great care had to be taken with him, too. 

On 26 January, the Trumpeter Swans went back to the vet to see how their wing injuries had healed so that they could be assessed for release back to the wild.  The pins in the female were removed, and the male’s wrap was removed for the last time.

Unfortunately the pair was deemed unreleasable.   The bullets didn’t kill them, but the damage proved to be enough so the birds could never fly again.  This was a huge disappointment to all of us at WBS, but especially to our hospital staff and volunteers, who worked so hard on caring for these wonderful and magnificent animals.  However, the decision was made to acquire the necessary permits to be able to keep the swans and create an exhibit in which the swans would live as captive birds.  Our hope was that, as a mated pair, they would produce babies for us, and with permission we could release the babies back to the wild. 
On Tuesday 2 February the female swan underwent surgery to amputate the end of her injured wing, where the bones had died and needed to be removed.  Despite the best efforts of the medical team working on her, she did not survive the surgery.  Shortly after, the male swan stopped eating.  Despite the efforts of our rehabilitators who tube fed him and tried many techniques to encourage him to eat on his own, the male swan passed away on Saturday 6 February.

This has been a devastating turn of events for all of the staff and volunteers who worked so hard on keeping these birds alive and viable for release.  When release was not an option, the focus turned to getting them well enough to be outside in an enclosure where they could breed so that their offspring could be released.  Also, being outside would allow visitors to our site to be able to enjoy them.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a physically and emotionally demanding job for staff and volunteers.  Anyone who has put their heart and soul into keeping a bird alive will know the joy of seeing them released back into the wild.  They will also know the extreme disappointment and devastation that comes from doing everything they can to keep an animal alive, and realizing that sometimes it is not meant to be.  We are very appreciative of all the interest and support from our staff, volunteers, supporters and members of the public during the treatment of these swans.  The loss of these swans is felt by all of us at World Bird Sanctuary.

Spring Fever!

Okay, so the weather outside could still be described as frightful, or at least not very pretty. 

It seems a little early for thoughts of flowers and sunshine, but last week a little ray of light happened in my window.  I received a copy of the first mix, or edited version, of the Raptor Project’s upcoming CD, “All Along the Watershed.”  As one of the “Hot Wings” backup singers on the album, I couldn’t wait to hear how all of those long hours in the studio back in December had come together. 
Dana checking out the mixing board
The process of putting together all the individual pieces of a song and an album is really amazing.  Technology allows so much freedom in the ability to mess with one chord or to move something around, little things that in the past would have caused you to have to do that section again (and AGAIN…)  Not that there weren’t a fair amount of redo’s!  For many of the individuals in the band, it was the first time in a studio, making the situation, at times, a little overwhelming.  Standing there in front of your peers, headphones on, staring into the big dark window separating you from them…yikes!  You want to sound perfect every time, hit the nail right on the head, be brilliant!...well, let me tell you, THAT doesn’t always happen.  Luckily, our group is very supportive of each other and great with brainstorming new things to try, so even if you splatter a note here and there, it at least ends in laughing, not crying!
Roger in the studio laying down one of his tracks
There were several recording days in the studio that I couldn’t attend, as I was busy doing programs and such in the Education Department, so there were also chunks of music that had been laid down that I had never heard until yesterday.   There were moments that took my breath away.  There were moments I laughed out loud.  And, I have to admit, there was at least one song that sounded so different with all the components put together, I actually didn’t know what song it was until the singing started.  What an amazing transformation!

So, where does spring fever come into this tale of transformation, you might be asking?  Transformation is what spring is all about, after all, and our much-loved and nurtured album will be making its debut on Saturday, May 1, 2010.  More information about its coming-out-party festivities will be made available as the date nears.  In the meantime, I hope this ray of light whets the appetites of new and old fans alike.  You can expect more funny tales about fabulous animals and more songs that get stuck in your heads for days!  (Those are the parents’ favorites, I know!)  As for me, I have to shove off and finish painting, so that our CD can have a cover as excellent as what’s inside!

Submitted by Dana Lambert, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming soon to a feeder, lake or field near you!
 Cooper's Hawk - photographed along Illinois Route 3
Scheduled for February 12-15, 2010, The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages birdwatchers of all ages throughout North America to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.  Anyone can participate.  All it takes is a minimum of 15 minutes on one day or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event.  Its’ free, fun and easy and it helps the birds.

 Harlan's Red Tailed Hawk - Northern Illinois
Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they like over the four day period.  They then use the highest number of birds for each species seen at one time.  Then report your findings to .

White Pelicans - photographed in Illinois at Two Rivers
In 2009, Missouri reported 129 species.  In St. Louis 67 species were reported on 205 lists entered.  The top ten birds spotted on checklists were Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, American Robin, European Starling, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Downy Woodpecker, and White-throated Sparrow.  All of this information helps with showing bird populations information, timing of migrations, how diseases are affecting populations and whether certain species are in need of conservation attention.  This data, combined with other citizen science projects like Christmas Bird Counts, Project Feeder Watch, and ebird, help scientists gather important data about winter bird populations.

To learn more about this fun beneficial project please visit

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

Friday, February 5, 2010


Lovebirds can celebrate Valentine’s Day with World Bird Sanctuary's selection of unique, meaningful gifts

Chocolates are always a hit, but they last such a short time, and does your love really need those extra calories?

We all love flowers, but in a week they’re just a memory.

Diamonds are forever.  Diamonds are also very expensive!

Why not spoil your loved-one with a special Valentine’s treat – a lasting, meaningful, and affordable Valentine’s Day gift from World Bird Sanctuary will warm their heart while making a meaningful difference to birds of all kinds.

Choose from one of these many special ways to say “I love you”

Adopt-a-Bird - choose from a large selection of adoptable animals.  Donation fees range from $50 to $150 -- or$300 for a breeding pair--our own real life lovebirds.  Our adoptable animals range from cute and cuddly to large and majestic.
Tigger, our lovable Tawny Owl,  Hazel, our Velveteen Rabbit, and Lewis one of our majestic free flying Bald Eagles -- only three of our many adoptable animals

Friends Membership - become a World Bird Sanctuary friend with benefits that range from discounts at our gift shop to invitations to special "friends only" events.  Friend membership levels for a couple start at $50.

Return to the Wild - Give your sweetheart the once in a lifetime memorable experience of releasing a rehabilitated bird of prey back into the wild.  For $150 you can surprise the love of your life with a Return to the Wild gift certificate.

Engraved Brick - Surprise your Valentine with an engraved brick expressing your sentiments, to be installed in our amphitheater--an everlasting expression of your love.

Bricks can be ordered with your own personalized message and may even contain one of our stock symbols, such as a heart, flowers, ring, etc.  Prices range from $125-$425 depending on the brick size and engraving desired.  Donor certificates for presentation are also available. 

Additional questions about any of the above?--Contact