Sunday, September 29, 2013

Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding Friend Program

 Are you a Friend of World Bird Sanctuary? Do you love owls? Are you interested in learning about bird banding? If you said yes to these questions then we have an opportunity for you!

Last fall World Bird Sanctuary joined Project Owlnet.  Project Owlnet  is  an organization that works to monitor owl population trends by mist netting and by banding migrating owls, especially Northern Saw-whet Owls.  The results are compiled and used to determine when and where these migrant owls are moving. 

Aspen - WBS's resident Saw-whet Owl

For the first time in the history of our site World Bird Sanctuary trapped and banded Northern Saw-whet Owls in 2012.  In fact over the course of the owl banding program the team trapped, banded and released a total of seven Northern Saw-whet Owls.  Our team is going to be at it again this year and would like to invite World Bird Sanctuary Friends to join them and learn more about this important program.
To experience the trapping and banding of wild Northern Saw-whet owls you must be a Friend of WBS.  Not a Friend? It is easy to join us in our mission.  Just click on this link to join!

Details about the Northern Saw Whet Owl Friend program:

Friends must pre-register for this fun program by calling 636-225-4390 ext: 106.

Limited space is available on the following Thursdays:
October 24
October 31
November 7
November 14
November 21

Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Age: 10 and up

Due to space constraints this event is limited to one Friend and a guest of their choice.

Please feel free to bring your camera but be aware for the owls’ safety flash photography is not allowed.

Due to the nature of owl migration there is no guarantee that you will see a wild Northern Saw-whet Owl.

This program is weather dependent and may be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Every effort will be made to reschedule.

Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. This program will be indoors as well as outdoors.

For the safety of the owls no flashlights please, World Bird Sanctuary representatives will provide any necessary lighting.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Project Owlnet Report - 2012

Last year (2012) the World Bird Sanctuary’s Bird Banding Team embarked on a new and exciting project!  Following is team leader Linda Tossing’s report on the outcome of this new venture.
“World Bird Sanctuary – Project Owlnet – 2012
Aspen - WBS's resident Saw-whet Owl
“After visiting a Northern Saw-whet Owl (NSWO) banding station in Omaha, Nebraska during the 2012 Inland Bird Banding Association’s conference in Omaha, NE, the World Bird Sanctuary’s Banding Team asked the following questions:
“1.    Are there NSWOs in St. Louis, MO, especially in the Meramec River Valley? 
“2.    When do they migrate through? 
“3.    Are there NSWOs that winter in the valley?
“So we set out to answer some of these questions!   First thing we did was to get some training!  Representatives from the WBS Banding Team went to visit Dana Ripper and Ethan Duke of the Missouri River Bird Observatory, Marshall, MO.  We spent two nights with Dana and Ethan learning where to place nets, what equipment we needed, the procedures to band the NSWOs and what records to keep.  In the process, we banded 6 NSWO’s.   We also learned how much the weather impacted the results, and the importance of the wind direction!
“So the team came back and started conducting research.  We joined Project Owlnet, which is an organization that works to monitor owl population trends by mist netting and by banding migrating owls, especially Northern Saw-whet Owls.  The results are compiled and used to determine when and where these migrant owls are moving. 
“Along with WBS, there are two other banding stations in Missouri which are participating in the Project Owlnet - Missouri State University – West Plains (MSU-WP) operates one in St. Joseph and the Missouri River Bird Observatory (MRBO) has one in Marshall.  With our participation, we have the western, mid-state and eastern parts of the state covered.
“Based on information from Project Owlnet, we developed our plan!   We determined what was needed for equipment and then started collecting items such as special nets, a caller that played the male Saw-whet’s call, banding pliers, black light and bands!  We used the funds from a recent Inland Bird Banding Association Grant to purchase some of the equipment.  Cabela’s generously donated the caller. Then we started writing our banding protocols for the project (which were finalized at the end of the project!).   
“A north-facing site on a ridge overlooking the Meramec River was selected.  This site had some understory critical for migrating owls.   We set up 5 nets with the caller that continuously broadcasted the male Saw-whet call.
“The schedule was set to start November 12 and run nets 5 nights a week until December 9.  We would have 23 days of banding sessions in the required 30 day period.  “We started our sessions ½ hour after sunset and kept the nets open for 4 hours. Our first night of banding was Monday, November 12 and our first check of the nets at 6:13 PM brought us our first owl!  We were very pleased that we ended the night with 2 owls – we couldn’t believe our good luck!
“So, we answered our first question! – Are there Saw-whets in St. Louis, MO, in the Meramec River Valley?   During our banding sessions, we captured owls on November 12, 13 and the 25 - a total of 7 new birds and 1 that we had previously captured (otherwise known as a recapture in banding lingo).  We learned that weather did indeed drive our results.  We had birds on nights with northern winds and colder temperatures. 
“After November 25, we had no more owls.  Given the MRBO and MWSU’s results, we feel we missed the early part of the migration (the answer to our second question).  We can suppose the terrain and understory of our banding site is not appropriate for wintering grounds (our third question).  Northern Saw-whet Owls prefer coniferous trees for winter cover.     However, more research is needed for conclusions. For 2013 we are adjusting our schedule and will start earlier!  We look forward to this year’s results!”

Thursday, September 26, 2013


It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that one of our longtime residents, Myakka the Bald Eagle, has succumbed to a combination of old age and, we suspect, the debilitating effects of lead poisoning. 

In 1985 Myakka’s family nest was on the Myakka River in Florida.  His parents had three eggs in the nest.  Often in the wild when there are more than two chicks one will be pushed out of the nest by the larger siblings.  Therefore, Myakka’s egg was removed and hatched at the G.M. Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma as part of an effort to re-establish a wild population of Bald Eagles in Alabama.

After a successful release Myakka was injured in the wild by a gunshot.  He took three shotgun pellets--two to his left wing, which eventually healed completely.  At a rehab center in Minneapolis it was discovered that he had sustained permanent damage to one eye from another pellet, and because of that pellet’s position in Myakka’ head, it could not be removed.  In the wild this would have been his death sentence.  At the end of 1986, when his injuries had healed sufficiently he was transferred to the World Bird Sanctuary.

Even though he still carried the lead shot that caused his eye injury Myakka was a real trooper.  He integrated well into the routine of becoming an ambassador for his species, and over the years educated millions of people about the threats to his kind from human activities, and some of those activities’ thoughtlessness.

We believe that his demise was brought about in great part by the lead shot which he had carried since his injury.  Even though his injury had occurred many years ago, the lead was still in his system and we believe it finally had broken down enough to carry its poison to vital organs.  

Last week he began having trouble with balance and coordination, and then began to experience severe seizures—classic symptoms of lead poisoning.  When it became apparent that nothing we could do could help him it was decided to humanely euthanize him rather than let him suffer. 

Myakka will be sorely missed by one and all.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Audience Questions

“You have the coolest job.”  “I want to be just like you when I get bigger.”  “You must love coming to work every day.”  “I love seeing the birds!”  These are just a few of the comments World Bird Sanctuary bird show presenters hear every day.  And I must tell you, it never gets old!

Cupid the American Barn Owl flying into trainer's glove - photo by Lisa McCabe

However, there is something even better than compliments.  And what’s that, you may ask?  The questions!  From my two years’ experience working with birds at World Bird Sanctuary’s Milwaukee County Zoo bird show and five years of working in a zoo, I have found that questions from the general public about animals can be broken up into 3 categories.
Buford the Bald Eagle out in the public display area - photo by Erica Fenske

General Animal Questions.  These common questions are usually about age, species, or name.  Every once in a while though you get the really good ones--the ones that challenge you as a trainer.  With only two years under my belt, I get challenged every day.  But the wonderful thing about being challenged is that it gives me an excuse to ask even more questions!  If someone asks me how many feathers are on a bird’s head, I ask my supervisor how many are on their entire body.  If someone asks what a bird eats, I ask specifically what species.  No matter how much I learn there is always something more to learn!  I ask questions every single day and as much as I can to improve myself, so I can improve how I do my job.

How Can You Do This?  As weird as it sounds, I enjoy answering these.  No matter which species you work with, you sometimes get a “non-zoo person” who can’t fathom the idea of animals in captivity and find our career choices as “wrong.”  You can’t help but be frustrated at first, but that is why we do what we do.  Having the animals on display only fulfills part of their duties as ambassadors of their species.  We are here to fulfill the other half by explaining to people how they are doing it.  No, we don’t take perfectly healthy animals out of the wild.  No, they are not miserable.  Yes we take the best care possible of them and give them the best lives they could ever imagine.  Explaining these concepts, one person at a time, makes me feel like I am making a difference in the world.  And, hopefully if we educate enough people, we can help animals everywhere.

Scarlett the Red Shouldered Hawk - photo by Erica Fenske

How Do I Get a Job Like This?  Now THIS is my favorite question.  I love when children/young adults ask me this question because I wish I had asked it more myself when I was their age!  It shows that people care and more people out there want to serve our purpose--to educate the world about these amazing and beautiful creatures.  By now I have my basic response--get a science related college degree, do lots of volunteer/internship work, and most of all, have lots of determination.  Even though it is such a basic response, no one ever walks away looking discouraged, and that is the best feeling in the WORLD!  Yes, flying a Bald Eagle is a pretty amazing feeling, but knowing I might have just inspired someone to help eagles fly longer in the wild is a much cooler feeling!

So all in all, always ask questions.  And if you don’t know the answer, ask even more questions.  Questions are limitless and no one should ever stop asking!  A very wise teacher once told me that, “Any day that you don’t learn something new is a wasted day.”

Submitted by Erica Fenske, World Bird Sanctuary Seasonal Zoo Show Staff Member

Monday, September 23, 2013

Only Two More Hikes Remaining This Year

Have you booked your family onto World Bird Sanctuary's family-friendly guided nature hikes yet?

Join us for a leisurely 2-hour hike through our oak hickory forest to see what kind of nature is in our woods.
If you feel like you're being watched--look up
An expert naturalist will lead you on your hike – where you may see birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.  Learn about trees, rocks and who knows what else!

Each hike will be a new experience depending on the season and creatures we encounter.

Time: Hike starts at 9am.  Registration at 8.30am.
Dates: Every fourth Saturday of the month from April until October.
Dates Remaining:
September 28th
October 26th
Red-bellied Woodpeckers inhabit our woods
Cost: $9 for adults; $7 for children under 12.  Groups of 10 or more - $7 per person regardless of age.

Reservations Required: Call 636-225-4390 ext. 0 to make your reservation and find out what nature is in your woods!

Dress for the weather and don't forget your binoculars and cameras!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Field Studies Report July 2013

It sure has been hot outside.  I hope everyone is staying hydrated.  I know I sure am.  In spite of the heat, however, the birds are keeping busy.

It has been an amazing season.  Since March over 300 birds have been banded and I expect many more in the next week or two.  I have gotten better at getting to nests before the chicks strike out on their own.  Only 48 birds have fledged before a band could be placed on them.  In general, the baby birds are big enough to be banded ten days after hatching, and will fledge (that is, fly away from the nest) within the next week.  However, there are a few factors that can shorten, or lengthen this time scale.  Well-fed babies can fledge several days earlier.  On the flip side; if the parents are having a hard time finding food for them, it can take much longer for their young to fledge.
Baby Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebirds and the House Wrens are neck and neck in their dominance in the field, with the boxes almost evenly split between the two.  The Eastern Bluebirds are now on their third clutch while the House Wrens have just started their second clutch.   That is to say, the Eastern Bluebirds have started a nest and raised chicks three separate times.  Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Tufted Titmice finished up the season after just one clutch.

Sadly, all things must come to an end.  The 2013 summer season is starting to slow down.  Soon the birds will begin preparing for the winter and the nesting season will end.  There are many more nests out there now, but this may very well be the last clutch of the year.

The Eastern bluebirds and House Wrens are both migratory species.  Bluebirds will finish up their last clutches, then head into the woods and begin fattening up for the winter.  Most will migrate south; a few will tough it out here.  In contrast all the House Wrens will move to warmer climates at the first hint of frost.  You aren’t likely to see them messing around in the cold.

Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Tufted Titmice will hang around throughout the winter.  Both are clever foragers and know what it takes to survive the winter.  Now is the time to be cleaning up the feeders and getting them ready for the really heavy winter bird feeding months.

It has been an excellent year for the Ameren Mo nest box study.  I have been able to collect a lot of valuable data.  The success rate is excellent and with this good weather and plenty of bugs to eat the birds couldn’t be happier.  As you all know the purpose of this study is to keep an eye on the environment in the Ameren Mo right-of-ways, and it looks like the environment is in good shape this year.  We are very thankful to Ameren  Mo for their support and concern for our feathered friends.

Submitted by Neal Cowan, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Supervisor

Thursday, September 19, 2013


“Peent” is the vocalization of the Common Nighthawk.

Recently I stumbled upon the nest of a Common Nighthawk while on a rooftop of an office building.  I knew that I had found a Nighthawk nest site because the mother was dragging her wings on the ground and running erratically away from the site trying to draw me away from her babies. Once I realized what she was up to I paused and looked to the ground to try and find the nest site and just a few feet to my left sat two eggs near a discarded piece of wood. After a few photos of the nest site I left quietly so as not to disturb her. In the weeks to come I frequently visited the site to see and observe the development of the young and their mother.

 The female Nighthawk trying to decoy me away from her eggs 
The behaviors of the Nighthawk are very different from most birds. The physical appearance of the Common Nighthawk is described as a small bird with long slender wings, large head, and a small bill but with a large gaping mouth when opened and lined with bristles to help capture prey. The coloration is filled with different shades of greys, browns, and white and is designed to camouflage and break up their appearance.
Often times Nighthawks are seen near baseball fields, well lit parking lots, and any area with bright lights at dusk and again at dawn where they feed on up to 600 individual flying invertebrates a night.

This bird species has one of the largest migration patterns of any North American Bird. Nighthawks travel South in the winter to as far as Chile and then travel back as far north as Alaska in the summertime.

The breeding season is in mid spring to early summer, and the males will court females by flying upwards of 700 feet and diving to the ground, opening their wings, sometimes just feet from the ground. As the males open their wings they create a deep booming noise that is similar to the noise of a car passing by at a high speed.

Nighthawks blend in very well with the gravel they choose for their nesting area 
Normally only producing 2 pale colored eggs speckled with grey, the females will typically nest in an open area with no nesting material--on gravel roof tops, in urban settings, and in open fields or near water in more uninhabited areas.

Nighthawk chick and an unhatched egg—even from a few feet away they're almost impossible to see 
I have to say that keeping an eye on the two little ones was truly a gratifying experience. Astonishingly a very short experience--from the time the eggs were laid to the time the two were making short flights on the rooftop was only 30 days.

The last time I saw the babies was about a week ago. I had walked around an air conditioning unit and spooked them so they took off and caught the wind and were out of sight in no time.   

Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary  Naturalist/Trainer

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why Do Birds Talk?

When a World Bird Sanctuary bird show concludes at Stone Zoo in North Boston, people often come up and ask us questions about the birds. 

Members of the corvid family are know for their ability to mimic human speech
One of the questions I am frequently asked is why parrots, like Nemo, our African Gray Parrot, talk.  Well…they can’t really talk, but have the ability to mimic sounds they hear.  To answer this, we must start a little earlier than the training process.  Actually many bird species such as corvids (crows, jays ravens), starlings, mynas, and lyrebirds have been observed mimicing human speech and also many other sounds, but many of the birds in our show, such as raptors and chickens, cannot learn to mimick. 

So why can't Clark, our Bald Eagle, talk?  Well, it turns out that not all birds are vocal learners and not all birds have the necessary degree of control of their syrinx for mimicry.   In fact, vocal learning has only been found in songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds.  This means that these birds are not hatched knowing the same songs and sounds they make as adults, but pick them up from their environment, much as humans are not born knowing languages such as English or German.  Most birds learn these sounds from their parents or neighbors. 

Additionally, birds do not have vocal cords, but rather make sounds using their syrinx, which is located at the point where the trachea divides into two bronchial tubes.  There is great diversity in the structure of the syrinx, especially between orders of birds.  This difference allows for a varying degree of complexity and control over the sounds a bird can make.

Now that we know why some birds cannot talk, the next question is why would birds ever learn to talk at all?  Well, it all starts with good mimicry.  Many young male songbirds will learn the songs of their neighbors, called song sharing, in order to help with the establishment of territory and attraction of a mate.  Males will often respond to a rival male with the same song, or a song they both know.  In some birds, the larger the repertoire of sounds, the more likely they are to find a mate. 

Still other birds such as the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, have been found to preferably learned the alarm calls and mobbing calls of the other species in their area over all other sounds.  Learning the context of calls can be an advantage in this situation since these calls can then be used to recruit other nearby species to help scare away a predator.  

Mimicry can be used as a way to fit into the flock.  For example, Yellow-naped Amazon Parrots form regional dialects between flocks, which are unrelated to genetics.  This means that new parrots joining the flock must learn that flock's dialect.  It can be seen how being a good mimic could be advantageous in fitting in and being accepted by the new flock.
Parrots and Macaws are some of the bird world's best mimics
Parrots are naturally very social animals and use their calls and body language to communicate with their flock.  When we keep parrots in our homes, we as humans become their flock.  Parrots will naturally imitate the people they live with and try to establish a means of communication, just as they would the birds in their wild flock.  When a parrot imitates a word, most people are initially excited that their bird said something they understand and give the parrot attention.  This reinforces saying those words more often.  But this does not mean the parrot is talking.  He is merely repeating a noise that gets attention.  The reaction reinforcing the behavior does not have to be from a human either. Nemo, our African Grey Parrot, loves to mimic Locust, our Red-legged Seriema, because she also gives a (very loud) response.

Once a word is in Nemo's repertoire, we reinforce not just saying specific words or sounds, but saying them after we give the corresponding specific cue phrases.  Some of these cues and response words are put together for Nemo's “fairy tale” (a routine we’ve trained Nemo to do during his part of the bird show).

Nemo the African Grey Parrot is one of our most prolific "talkers"

So, our parrots can correctly respond to cues, but can they actually talk?  Well, not much that we know of, but only because we haven't taught them the meanings behind any of the words they say.  For example, when we ask Nemo, "what does a kitty cat say?", he responds with "Meow".  But, since Nemo has probably never seen a real cat meowing, he won't make any connection between the animal "cat" and the sound "meow", but he knows that when we give the cue phrase and he says "meow" he gets a treat. 

 In order for a bird to learn the meaning of a word and really "talk", they must have some context in which the word applies and be able to interact with it in order to really understand the word's meaning.  One African Gray parrot named Alex is now well known for his demonstrations of word comprehension to the scientific community.

While Nemo has never been taught what words mean, he seems to have figured out the meanings of a few words himself. When changing his water, Nemo often makes the sound for water without being cued.  One day during the middle of a show, Nemo told Josh, another show trainer, "Wagner next."  Wagner, our Red-tailed Hawk, was next in the order of birds in the show! Possibly a coincidence, but it just goes to show that we honestly don't have any idea how much Nemo really understands.

Submitted by Michaela Henneberg, World Bird Sanctuary Trainer, Stone Zoo, Boston

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cooper’s Hawk Journal 2013

If you follow our blog, you know that last year my husband and I were privileged to watch a pair of Cooper’s Hawks court, mate and raise three youngsters in and around our back yard. 

Much to our delight they returned again this year.  Following is a journal I kept of their activities and my observations.

2/14 -            A lone Cooper’s Hawk spotted in a neighbor’s tree behind our house.

2/16 -            Cooper’s Hawk makes a kill in our back yard

2/17 -            Two Cooper’s Hawks spotted in a neighbor’s Pin Oak Tree (across the street) – My husband thought he saw them carrying nesting materials into the tree
The two adult Cooper's Hawks mating
3/16 – The hawks have been courting in the Pin Oak across the street since 2/17 and are now nest building in a crotch high in the tree.  My granddaughter and her friend have been watching them every morning as they wait for the school bus.  Every afternoon when she returns from school I get a Cooper’s Hawk activity report.

Watching our bird feeder during the snowstorm
3/24 – World Bird Sanctuary had to cancel World Eagle Day today due to a severe snowstorm moving into the area this morning.  We’re supposed to get 8-10” of snow.  We already have two inches and the storm shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, I hear thunder.  Went outside to take photos of the snow covered trees and saw one of the Cooper’s Hawks come through the yard and land in the Pin Oak next door.  He’s sitting watching our feeder.

Last year's nest--once the trees leaf out it's almost invisible
April-June – Hawks have abandoned the new nest in the Pin Oak across the street and returned to last year’s nest.  I see them going into and out of the tree—but can’t see the nest because of the dense foliage.

June-July – The parent Hawks are still flying to and from the tree, but we have seen no sign of the fledglings.  Maybe they are in another neighbor’s yard in all the thick foliage.

Week of July 1st – Have seen the two adults in the tree next door exhibiting breeding behavior again (this is the same branch where they mated earlier this year).  Have seen no babies yet and am beginning to think that they may have lost the nestlings due to weather or predators.  A second nesting would be highly unlikely, but they don’t seem to think so.

7/7 – Saw three fledglings in our yard today.  They are already well coordinated and flying well, so guess they must have spent those first couple of weeks in the heavy tree cover two yards down.  They are still a little wary of me, but curious.
The youngsters visit our birdbaths during the hot weather
Week of 7/12 - Have begun seeing the three youngsters in our yard on a regular basis.  As the weather has turned hot they have been coming to our birdbath in the afternoon heat.

7/17 – The youngsters have now broken down into two groups—the two females and the lone male.  He is wary of his two larger siblings lest he become a meal.  The male seems to frequent the yard more in the morning, while the two girls hop about our patio and take baths in the afternoon.  They have all been watching the feeder and hunting in the back yard.  Our granddaughter and a grandniece who is vacationing with us have been enjoying watching their antics.
This low branch is only about 5 feet off the ground, so we were practically at eye level
7/19 – This morning the male landed in the Star Magnolia and is watching the bird feeder.  I decided to fill the feeder and see if he would tolerate my presence.  He doesn’t seem to be bothered by my presence as long as I don’t appear to be stalking him.  He was only fifteen feet away from me on a branch just five feet off the ground!  I guess they’ve watched me fill the feeders and become accustomed to my movements, so I went back inside to get my camera.  After taking a batch of photos I came back inside and called my niece to come out and try to get a photo before she returns to Florida.  As long as you casually stroll out to the feeder it doesn’t seem to bother him.  Our niece was so excited to have this opportunity!  She’d never been this close to a wild raptor before. 

            We leave for the Lake and a week’s vacation this morning.  I wonder if the hawks will still be here when we return.

7/27 – Back from the Lake, but no hawks spotted yet.  I have a feeling that once we left and the feeders were not being filled their free lunch wagon disappeared, and they’ve moved on to other sources of food.  This is probably for the best as they need to learn to hunt more difficult prey if they are to survive the winter.

Mid August – The hawks have definitely moved on.  We occasionally will see one in the vicinity, but not inhabiting the yard on a regular basis as they were before.  Even though we miss watching them on a daily basis, we know that developing a wider hunting range is in their best interest. 

Hopefully, this same pair will survive the winter and use their tried and true nesting area again next year.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

Friday, September 13, 2013

Save $100 by Registering Now

Have you made your reservation?  Time is running short to take advantage of the $100 early registration discount!

World Bird Sanctuary will be hosting its hugely popular Avian Training Workshop October 31-November 3, 2013.

Learn to free fly a raptor

If you've considered attending the World Bird Sanctuary Avian Training Workshop in the past but couldn’t work it into your schedule, now is your chance to plan ahead.   There's still time to arrange your schedule and take advantage of the early registration bonus!  Save $100 by registering before October 1st!

What is an Avian Training Workshop you may ask?  

The WBS Avian Training Workshop is an intensive 4-day workshop, which covers all aspects of housing, training, feeding and caring for raptors, parrots, corvids and many other species.  The workshop includes both classroom and hands-on training.

Do a gross necropsy on a raptor

Subjects covered in the classroom section include:  
*  Establishing your own program--permits, insurance, facilities, staff & volunteers
*  Working with and training your bird--manning and positive reinforcement, desensitizing
*  Choosing the correct species to work with
*  Transportation--crates, permits, driving, flying, shipping
*  Housing--mews, jumpboxes, A-frames, flight cages, climate, hotwiring enclosures, substrates
*  Perch types--bow, platform, screen, etc.--which perch works best for which species
*  Diets--food types, frozen vs. live, storage, prep, raising food colonies, vitamins
*  Training your birds for flying--weight management, base weights, target weighs, flyer food

Help train a new behavior with a Raven or Crow

Everybody's favorite--the hands-on section:
Our staff believes the only way to learn is through the hands-on experience of doing things yourself.  At our workshop you will have the opportunity to actually do the following:
*  Make jesses, anklets, leashes
*  Practice imping feathers
*  Experience coping and trimming of a raptor
*  Participate in simple public speaking games and learn how different elements make you a better public speaker
*  Fly a Harris' Hawk and/or Barn Owl with WBS staff
*  Help train a new behavior with a Raven or crow (continues throughout the workshop)
*  "Be the Bird" in our training game
*  Participate in emergency medical care and do a gross necropsy on a raptor

The workshop also includes an extensive tour of WBS' facilities and opportunities to see birds and housing up close.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  Workshop has a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 20.

WHEN:  Thursday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 3

EARLY REGISTRATION:  Sign up by October 1st - Cost - $650/person
LATE REGISTRATION:  Sign up after October 1st - Cost - $750/person

$100 non-refundable deposit required by 10/01/13 for early registration, balance due by 10/15/13.

Registration fee includes lunch each day.

Transportation to and from St. Louis, hotel accommodations and breakfast & dinner are the responsibility of each participant.

To download a registration form CLICK HERE

Further questions?  Contact Teri Graves, 636-225-4390, ext. 0 or email

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Arnie!

Arnie Schrier has served World Bird Sanctuary for many years, both as a volunteer and as a Board Member.

Arnie retired from the board and from his weekly volunteering at World Bird Sanctuary in 2012.  In 2013, Arnie’s family honored him and his unwavering service to WBS by purchasing an engraved brick for his 85th birthday as part of WBS’s “Buy A Brick” program.

Sentiments expressed on WBS bricks are only limited by your imagination

On Sunday, September 1st, Arnie, his wife Thelma, and his children and grandchildren visited World Bird Sanctuary to view the brick, a fitting tribute to his dedication to our mission.

Arnie and his family came to view his brick

Arnie will be recognized by our long-term visitors as the helpful and smiling face that greeted visitors at the Visitor Information Center (the VIC) – the first stop on a visit to World Bird Sanctuary.  Arnie would let visitors know what there was to see and tell them about some of the birds they could see at the VIC.  In addition to chatting with visitors, Arnie put birds out into the weathering area in the morning, diligently scrubbed their overnight quarters, and then made sure they were fed and put to bed safely for the night before leaving.  Skyler, the Lizard Buzzard, who has since passed away, was Arnie’s favorite – and the two would “chat” back and forth while Arnie was going about his work at the VIC.

Arnie visiting with his old friend, Patriot the Bald Eagle

After an absence of over a year, it was wonderful to see Arnie back at WBS again.  We think that the engraved brick – a gift from Arnie’s family – was a great way to commemorate his 85th birthday and honor the work he has done for World Bird Sanctuary.

Thank you, Arnie – we hope that you will visit us again soon!

You can find out more about our engraved brick program here (

Submitted by Catherine Redfern, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Fundraiser