Thursday, February 28, 2013
World Bird Sanctuary’s web page now includes great free resources!
If you haven’t visited our web page recently, check out our new free resources. We have added two new online games, a free music download, a link to the Peregrine Falcon Nest Camera, bat house plans, and nest box plans.
Test your memory skills while learning about the different kinds of birds. Every match you find will tell you more facts about your favorite birds. See how many matches you can find! You score points for finding all the matches as fast as possible. How high can you score?
Try to complete each of four different bird puzzles. Each puzzle is different every time you play. See if you can complete all four.
The Raptor Project performs the "Wonderful Birds Song"
FREE MUSIC DOWNLOAD: “WONDERFUL BIRDS SONG”
Now available for free download, the song that started it all 20 years ago! “Wonderful Birds Song” has taught bird basics in sing-a-long format and was the first song written by WBS’ Joe Hoffmann for the children’s Sing-a-long program. The “Wonderful Birds Song” has been heard by thousands of adults and children alike, both live and on the first “The Raptor Project” CD, “Save the Future”.
WATCH A LIVE PEREGRINE FALCON NEST BOX!
In partnership with Missouri Department of Conservation and Ameren Missouri, the World Bird Sanctuary is pleased to be able to bring you a live video camera on a Peregrine Falcon nest box.
The box is located at Ameren Missouri’s Portage de Sioux power plant in St. Charles County, Missouri. The wild Peregrine Falcon pair was successful last year, raising five youngsters. Nest box viewing will be made available on our web site once nesting behavior has been observed for the season. Last year the camera was on from March 12, when the first egg was laid, through June 15, when the last of the five babies fledged. Of course, the season is subject to several variables such as climate change, and is up to Mother Nature, herself.
BAT HOUSE PLANS
Download a free bat house plan.
Erecting a bat house on your property provides a safe roosting area for bats. This bat house plan was designed by Minnesota DNR Wildlife Manager Earl Johnson, so it’s called the “Johnson” bat house. You can download this bat house plan and build your own, or you can visit our website for links to information about where to buy one. Our website has more information about the benefits that bats provide for our environment. Speaking of bats, here’s a reminder of our special event celebrating the world’s bats, “Baturday,” which is Saturday, April 6, 10-2
NEST BOX PLANS
Download a free Nest Box plan.
WBS, working in cooperation with Ameren Missouri, has initiated a nest box placement program to insure the survival of many songbird species. Within the past twenty years the population of songbirds has decreased by 15 to 30 percent, depending on the location.
The construction and placement of nesting boxes is perhaps the most direct way that individuals and groups can become involved. This is an especially unique opportunity because it allows private individuals to truly participate in the protection of species, and in some instances, in the preservation of endangered species. Conservation is not a philosophy, but a way of life that ensures continued life for songbirds and other species.
We hope that you will enjoy these new free resources.
Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
As I sit here looking out my office window at the six inches of snow and ice deposited by last week’s winter storm, and I listen to the local weather forecasters telling us that another storm is on its way, it’s difficult to believe that Spring is just around the corner.
The display line at WBS waiting for spring
But then I take a peek at my March calendar and realize that the World Bird Sanctuary’s annual harbinger of Spring is indeed almost upon us. No—our harbinger of spring is not a four-footed furry little rodent that looks for his shadow. Our reminder that Spring is indeed here is World Eagle Day!
The crowds from a previous World Eagle Day getting a close-up look at a live Bald Eagle
Mark your calendars—World Eagle Day is March 24, 10:00 to 4:00!!
World Eagle Day is one of our most popular events. It’s a chance for everyone to get out of the house after a long cold winter and enjoy the outdoors with us. Be prepared to celebrate everything Eagle—from close-up encounters with eagles from around the world to having an eagle soar overhead close enough to feel the draft from its wingbeats.
Face painting will be just one of the many activities
There will be sing-a-longs, face painting, crafts for the kids, flight demonstrations by our free flying eagles, the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Bald Eagle, and much more. As a special treat this year Members of the Comanche Nation will discuss the unique importance of eagles to Comanche culture.
So, mark your calendars for March 24 and be prepared to have a blast welcoming in Spring at the World Bird Sanctuary.
OH YES—I almost forgot to mention—admission and parking are FREE for this event!
Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer
Sunday, February 24, 2013
In this blog I would like to introduce you to a fascinating pair of birds that I became familiar with while working at the World Bird Sanctuary. They are a stately pair of Sandhill Cranes named Menomenee and Shawnee and can be seen on the WBS exhibit line—just down the path from our Wildlife Hospital.
Menomenee and Shawnee - Photo by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
Menomenee and Shawnee came to WBS in August of 2011 from a rehabilitation facility in Wisconsin. They were hatched in the wild, so their age is unknown, but we do know that they are adults because of their plumage (feather color). Because they both have wing injuries they are unable to survive in the wild.
Shawnee full length photo showing markings (Photo by Gay Schroer)
Sandhill Cranes are very tall gray/light brown birds. They have long legs and long graceful necks and stand from three to five feet tall. They also have red plumage on the forehead and white cheeks that mimic the shape of their long beak. Sandhill Cranes are not sexually dimorphic, meaning that the males and females look the same.
The Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) is one of the most interesting and abundant cranes in the world! Their current population stands at about 650,000 and they are listed by the IUCN as a species of Least Concern.
There are three migratory subspecies that includes the Lesser, Greater, and Canadian subspecies. Then there are three non-migratory subspecies that includes the Mississippi, Florida, and Cuba Sandhill Cranes. These stately birds are native to North America and Siberia. They can be found in freshwater wetlands, grasslands and meadows. Their diet consists of many things including mice, snakes, insects, plants, and grains. These beautiful birds have an amazing wingspan ranging from five to six feet. The weight of these cranes can range from 6 to 14 pounds, depending upon where they are from and which subspecies they are.
Sandhill Cranes breed in Canada, Siberia, Alaska, and the northern United States. They become sexually mature anywhere from two to seven years old. Clutch size (number of eggs or chicks) is usually around two eggs and both parents will help incubate. They prefer to nest in the wetlands and use plant material to make their nest. The female will lay pale brown eggs with dark brown markings.
Sandhill Cranes with chick-Yellowstone N.P. by Gay Schroer, WBS Volunteer
Sandhill Crane chicks are precocial, which means they are covered in down, with eyes open, and are able to leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching. Another amazing fact is that they can feed themselves within one day of hatching! How many chicks can do that?!
Their lifespan in the wild is around 20 years and can reach up to 30 to 40 years in captivity.
Shawnee & Menomenee Unison Calling (Photo by Gay Schroer, WBS Volunteer)
Sandhill cranes have a few different vocalizations. One is a loud rattling kar-r-r-o-o-o with many variations of it. Another is the contact call, which is a low, soft pitch call that allows the birds to stay in contact with each other even when out of sight. Another call they make is a guard call which a very loud single call to alert other cranes that there is a threat nearby. The last one is a unison call, in which a pair will stand close to each other and synchronize their calls while tilting their heads up towards the sky. It is a sign that shows that the pair is bonding. This is my favorite call. Since Menomenee and Shawnee have been here at WBS, I have only heard them do this unison call twice. It’s an amazing sound and it seems that they do it more during nice weather.
Both Shawnee and Menomenee are available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program. To find out more information, call 636-861-3225. All adoption donations are tax deductible.
Shawnee and Menomenee can be seen on the exhibit line at the World Bird Sanctuary which is open daily from 8am-5pm. This pair is very unique to see. You should stop on by and visit them!
Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
Friday, February 22, 2013
Imagine how many cigarette butts end up in landfills, or get tossed as litter along highways, in parks, etc.
Cigarette butts account for 38% of the litter collected on roadways. Not only is littering a major ongoing problem, but until now there hasn’t been a way to actually recycle or repurpose cigarette butts.
Many people believe that cigarette filters are biodegradable. The fact is that they are not. They are made with a plastic that can actually leach toxic chemicals into the environment.
Now a company called TerraCycle can recycle this non-biodegradable waste into a variety of products such as industrial plastic pallets, jewelry, vases, guitar picks and tobacco composting. TerraCycle has the answer to many hard to recycle materials.
You can research the many products that can be recycled, including the aforementioned cigarette butts at TerraCycle.com. For cigarette butt waste, if you are age 21 or older, you can sign up to be a part of their Cigarette Waste Brigade®. TerraCycle will provide free UPS shipping labels for people to mail in the cigarette waste that you collect.
I am grateful that this issue has now been addressed and a company has offered an alternative regarding the specific issue of cigarette butt waste. I would like to encourage folks that smoke, or know someone that does, to look into this specific recycling program. I hope that recycling cigarette butts will catch on like wildfire.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Frigatebirds, also called Man of War birds or Pirate birds, are truly masters of the sky.
There are five species in this amazing family (Fregatidae)--the Magnificent Frigate, the Great Frigate, the Ascension Frigate, the Christmas Frigate, and the Lesser Frigate. They are large seabirds that are found in tropical and subtropical ocean habitat.
Frigatebird range shown in blue.
They were given their nicknames due to their aggressive behaviors toward others birds. While in flight, Frigates will poke and bite at other birds in order to steal their food. Even worse, Frigates will sometimes grab other seabirds in flight by their tail feathers and shake them until they drop their meal or regurgitate a recently swallowed meal! This is called Kleptoparasitism, parasitism by theft.
Great Frigatebirds chasing a Red-footed Booby in order to steal its food.
Frigatebirds have the ability to fly extremely well and have excellent aerial control. The reason for this is their wingspan. These birds have the longest wingspan for their weight compared to any other bird. For example, the largest species, the Magnificent Frigatebird, can have a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet and weighs only 3.3 pounds. In comparison, a bald eagle with that same wingspan of 7.5 feet would weigh 12 to 14 pounds.
A male Magnificent Frigatebird in flight.
Birds have an oil gland, called the uropygium, at the base of their tails. Birds spread the oil from this gland on their feathers to help their feathers stay waterproof. Frigatebirds only have a small oil gland and thus their feathers have little waterproofing. So they cannot dive into the water, let alone swim in it like some other seabirds. They will capture their prey by snatching it out of the water with their long beaks. They will also use their superb aerobics to catch flying fish out of the air.
These birds cannot walk well either, and will spend most of their time in the air, only landing to roost, breed and nest on trees or cliffs. They can stay in the air out at sea for more than a week! Frigatebirds are the only seabirds in which the males and females are noticeably different. Both have iridescent black feathers as adults, but females have a white underbelly and males have inflatable red throat pouches called gular sacs.
Breeding pair of Great Frigatebirds.
Frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous and the males perform courtship displays for the females. The females fly above as the males perch on the tops of trees. The males will inflate their red throat pouches, flap the ends of their wings and shake their head. When a male is chosen, the female will land by him and the male will respond by wrapping his wings around the female to protect her from other males. Click here to see a video of a male Great Frigatebird trying to attract a mate.
Male Great Frigatebird on display.
The Ascension Frigatebird is listed as vulnerable and the Christmas Frigatebird is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Christmas Frigate is only found on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Habitat loss, over-fishing, marine pollution, and entanglement in fishing nets are all causes for their decline. Also, the accidentally introduced Yellow Crazy Ant attacks and eats newly hatched chicks. This ant has devastated the wildlife and ecology on the island.
If you want to help endangered birds, the World Bird Sanctuary’s mission is to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments. You can help us fulfill our mission by simply visiting us and spreading what you’ve learned, becoming a member or friend, or adopting-a-bird, which feeds that bird for a year!
Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
Monday, February 18, 2013
More specifically, they lie regarding birds. For instance, I was taught at a young age that Great Horned Owls are evil by the wonderful animated film Rock-a-Doodle. This is of course untrue.
Only Tawny Owls, such as the very wet Peabody above, are evil…small, but evil (kidding).
Movies and television use birds and bird calls to help instantly set the stage or mood for a scene. Need to establish that the protagonist is stranded in the jungle? Use the call of the Laughing Kookaburra, even if the movie is set in Africa or Asia, rather than Australia.
Chadder, a Laughing Kookaburra who resides at the World Bird Sanctuary. You may be lucky enough to hear him call when you stroll down the path at WBS
A sense of foreboding is instantly created with the haunting call of a crow or the melodious hoot of an owl.
Perhaps the most famous bird call is that of the Red-tailed Hawk. Wait, you might be thinking, surely that mighty keee-yah screech of the Bald Eagle is more recognizable? Well, yes that keee-yah is world famous, and a great way to establish a sense of wilderness, might, or ferocity in a scene. That call however is not the cry of our national symbol, but the call of the often-overlooked Red-tailed Hawk.
Sequoia, a Red-tailed Hawk who can be viewed in the weathering area just beyond WBS 's Wildlife Hospital
The call of the Bald Eagle is more of a high pitched cackling keh-keh-keh, which may be terrifying when you are holding the bird for a program, but just doesn’t have the same mystique as the Red-tail’s call.
So long ago in Hollywood, the Red-tail call was used and over time it has been adapted and substituted for any number of birds including other species of hawks, crows, ravens, falcons and even vampires in the British television series Being Human (of course vampires are not birds, but it is one of my favorite effects in the show).
Bird voices not only show up in the wrong locations, but bird species as well. Remember that scene in The Proposal where the eagle swoops down and grabs the dog? You might have thought that that particular eagle looked a little strange and you would be correct. North America is home to two species of eagle, the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle.
That particular bird in the movie is neither. It is in fact a Wedge-tailed Eagle, a native of Australia. If you have visited the World Bird Sanctuary you may have seen Duncan our resident Wedge-tail (and the first Wedge-tailed Eagle hatched in captivity in the Western Hemisphere), who just so happens to be the sibling of the two Wedge-tailed Eagles in the film, Sydney and Darwin. The film uses Wedge-tailed Eagles not because of a subplot about vacationing eagles, but because it is illegal in the United States to use a native bird species for profit purposes.
Othello, an African Pied Crow and an audience member demonstrate how to recycle. Photo courtesy of BaronBoston Photo
This also explains why the Windex crows look nothing like the crows you might see in your backyard. They are African Pied Crows and if you have been to one of WBS’s bird shows at zoos, you may recognize them as our feathered recycling friends.
Lenore, a White-necked Raven
Sometimes an effort is made to disguise the non-natives. White-necked ravens are used to fill in for the native Common raven, but their necks are either powdered black or computer graphics are used. The dead giveaway is the beak. White-necked ravens have a larger, rounder beak that ends in a small white tip. Common Ravens have a beak that is narrower and completely black, more similar to that of a crow.
Poe, a Common Raven, can be seen in his enclosure on the path just beyond the wildlife hospital
There are of course countless other examples, and it is not just birds that are misrepresented in Hollywood. Come visit World Bird Sanctuary and you’ll be surprised how many of our residents look familiar, and how many don’t look or sound the way you always thought they would. Most importantly you will realize that no matter what The Rescuers: Down Under leads you to believe, you cannot ride on the back of a Golden Eagle…and not just because it would be illegal.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Goliath Tigerfish, Hydrocynus goliath, really does live up to its name.
It’s a pretty nasty looking creature that would be terrifying to run into while taking a leisurely swim. Being a freshwater game fish, the Goliath Tigerfish is native to the Congo River basin, the Lualaba River, Lake Upemba and Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
The Goliath Tigerfish is the largest member of the Tigerfish family. This monster fish is a fierce predator with dagger like teeth.
The largest Goliath Tigerfish on record was almost 5 feet long and weighed nearly 154 pounds. It can outswim and outpower all other African game fish. On average most Goliath Tigerfish weigh between 90 and 132 pounds.
The Goliath Tigerfish has been known to attack humans on very rare occasions, and many locals say that it is the only fish that is not afraid of crocodiles and in fact actually eats smaller crocodiles.
The Goliath Tigerfish has an olive colored back and a silvery underbelly, but if you see one of these beasts the color of the fish probably won’t be something you’ll be paying much attention to. The mouth full of 32 jagged razor like teeth, 14 or more being on the top jaw, will catch and hold your attention. The creature hardly has any lips compared to most fish, that have rather large lips, and when its jaw slams down on prey, it’s a clean, almost surgical cut. That, in combination with its muscular body, make it the perfect killing machine.
The Goliath Tigerfish makes a Piranha look harmless. This ferocious fish has been known to go after a 60-pound catfish and literally slice it in half. It has excellent eyesight and has the ability to sense low frequency vibrations emitted by prey, which makes escape almost impossible. The life span for this monster in the wild is unknown, but they’ve been known to live 10 to 15 years in captivity.
Due to the size and power of this fish, fishermen love the thrill of catching one. In order to catch this giant behemoth though, you will have to buy some heavy-duty equipment, such as sharp enough hooks to be able to penetrate the jaw. Once hooked you must be prepared to fight them for what seems like hours. They will strike just about any kind of bait that resembles fish, be it live bait or lures. If you’re lucky enough, your hook will set deep enough to survive the Goliath’s head thrashing. When it leaps out of the water fishermen have to be sure to angle down their fishing rod so that the tip doesn’t snap off. This is a fish that won’t allow you to make any mistakes.
Let’s hope that this fearsome behemoth never becomes established in U.S. waters by aquarists who find that it quickly outgrows their aquarium tanks. Fortunately, at this time the Tigerfish species is considered difficult to keep and is recommended only for advanced aquarists.
Submitted by Jaimie Sansoucie, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
Thursday, February 14, 2013
There are many times in life when you should take the time to say, “Thank you for making a difference!” Today, I am taking that time to properly thank my supervisor, teacher, mentor and friend, Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager.
Volunteer Sherry Seavers and Sanctuary Manager Joe Hoffmann with a patient
I have been volunteering at World Bird Sanctuary’s Cathyrn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital for 4 years, helping with the rehabilitation of injured and sick birds of prey. I began this journey afraid, insecure and unsure of myself. I was terrified at the idea of handling a trained or wild bird of prey. With Joe’s help, I was able to overcome that fear.
Throughout the years, Joe has taken great care in teaching many volunteers, including me. He takes the extra time and effort to ensure each of us can handle the responsibilities given to us at the hospital. We do everything from cleaning to feeding, administering medicine and handling birds of prey.
Joe challenges all of us at our own pace and knows when we are ready to grow and become stronger. One day he told me, “You are getting that eagle today,” and I nervously laughed. He told me, “You can do it! I will back you up! Everything’s going to be fine and you’ll do great!,” and in fact, it was!
This is something I never dreamed I would be able to do!
I nervously put on my protective gear, stood in front of that cage door, took a deep breath and went in! Joe backed me up and I was now holding a wild Bald Eagle for the first time. Tears just started pouring down my face, not only because I was holding a Bald Eagle, but because I never thought I would be strong enough to do that. The one thing I can always trust is Joe will always be there to ensure my safety. He does this with so many volunteers and it’s impressive to see people shine in a way they didn’t think possible.
I am very lucky to have such a great mentor that sees strength in me that I don’t see. I am still amazed at what I am capable of doing and I owe this whole experience to Joe. Without his constant dedication to the betterment of volunteers, I wouldn’t be the strong, confident and humble volunteer at World Bird.
Submitted by Sherry Seavers, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
On January 1, 2013 I started year two of my 365 photo project.
I started off the new year with a new camera; a Coolpix Nikon p510. This is a camera I had the opportunity to try at WBS’s Camera Days with Schiller’s Camera in attendance.
Every year my family has a tradition of going birding on New Years Day, trying to find as many birds as possible. I brought my camera along hoping to take some photos.
The first photo was taken in the morning. We were watching some feeders near Honeyeo Lake in New York. My Mom and I were looking at the birds in the bushes and heard the Chickadees making a ton of noise. Moments later a Northern Shrike flew thru trying to catch the Chickadees. It disappeared; then moments later it showed up again and landed in the tree above our car, allowing me to take several photos. This photo of the Shrike is my favorite.
The second photo was taken at Riverlands Refuge, in West Alton, Missouri. I had driven out to the Mississippi/Missouri Rivers confluence area looking for whatever birds I could find. I had just finished my short walk when overhead and behind me I heard a Bald Eagle calling. I turned to see two Bald Eagles interacting, a juvenile and an adult. I quickly shot a few photos and this is one of my favorites from that series.
The 365 photo project can be done in so many ways and is fun to do. I joined a site online that consists of others doing their own 365 projects and it is so much fun to see photos by people from around the world, and looking at all of their amazing photos.
I have learned a lot from doing this project, and since I get out often to take the photos, I see so much more than I would normally.
Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the world’s most successful birds of prey and is found almost everywhere in the northern hemisphere.
Probably because they can catch and eat so many kinds of animals, they can occupy many types of habitat. The Golden Eagle primarily feeds on small mammals, but is known for its ability to take much larger prey, such as newborn goats, deer, and livestock. With over 200 different species of prey known, the Golden Eagle is a formidable and opportunistic hunter.
Ordinarily the Golden Eagle is found on or near the slopes of mountains. They have a few different ways of capturing food. Most often they can be seen gliding on the thermals and updrafts created by the mountain slopes as they scan for prey. However they have also been documented pouncing on unexpected prey from a high vantage point, catching birds in mid flight like an accipiter, flying to great heights and tucking their wings and going into a stoop to gain speed and catch prey like a Falcon, and finally Golden Eagles will steal and feed on prey from other predators.
Regionally the Golden Eagle will hunt a wide variety of prey. In North America the primary food source consists of rabbits and ground squirrels, but are not limited to just small prey. During the nesting season the adult eagles must feed their young and are forced to hunt much more frequently to feed the nestlings. Another alternative is to take larger prey, and this drives the Golden Eagle to hunt prey items such as deer, goats, and small or young livestock (sheep/cows). The majority of the time the Eagle will dispatch the larger prey items with their incredibly strong and large feet and very long talons, and frequently will return to visit the carcass, taking manageable portions to their young.
In Europe the Golden Eagle has shown its true adaptability when picking out its prey. In the Southeast of Europe Golden Eagles have taken advantage of the abundance of tortoises. Similar to the Lammergeier, the Golden Eagle will pick up the tortoise, gain altitude, and then drop the tortoise and let gravity take care of the rest.
In the breeding grounds of a Caribou herd in the arctic tundra the Golden Eagle is one of the most frequent predators of newborn calves.
On the island of Gotland in Sweden, the Golden Eagle has become a specialist. Their primary food source in this area is Hedgehog’s, and they have developed the ability to peal the spiny backs off to avoid injury.
The most famous Golden Eagle prey items in my opinion are the mountain goats of Kazakhstan. There, Golden Eagles have been filmed swooping from the sky and picking up young goats to toss off the side of a cliff.
The Golden Eagle is foremost an opportunistic hunter that will prey on animals that it can overpower, but is not limited to only small prey due to the size of the Golden Eagle. This large eagle is for the most part the apex predator of the sky in its home range. The only place where they are not the apex avian predator is in Russia where the Stellar Sea Eagle claims that title.
The Golden Eagle is such a successful predator in part due to their opportunistic behavior, large size, and adaptability to different environments.
To get a close-up view of this apex predator, visit the World Bird Sanctuary where there are several of these magnificent birds on display every day.
Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator
Friday, February 8, 2013
As part of the Cardinal Winter Warmup on January 19, 20 & 21 Cardinal Baseball Fans were treated to the sight of a live Bald Eagle up close at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis, near the Arch.
The Cardinal Winter Warmup is a way for Cardinal Fans to shake off the winter blahs and get psyched for a new season of Cardinal Baseball.
Fredbird poses with fans, WBS Intern Eleanor Tecosky-Feldman, and Patriot the Bald Eagle
Fans showed up from Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Tennessee. These states have the Cardinal games broadcast on their local radio stations and are affectionately referred to as Cardinal Nation.
People showed up wearing Cardinal hats, Cardinal shirts, and little kids were wearing whole baseball uniforms. Red and white clothing on people from all over the Midwest filled the Hyatt Regency rooms, escalators, elevators, parking garages, valet service, restaurant and meeting rooms and all the hallways in between--all to feed their baseball fever in January.
The main auditorium was full of autograph seekers--hundreds of people--who pay a fee to get current players and previous players’ autographs. While waiting for the autograph lines to move the fans are treated to Cardinal baseball players being interviewed on the center stage of the auditorium, or it could be the owner or general manager being interviewed.
Meanwhile, in side meeting rooms, an author of a baseball book could be giving a lecture, or another baseball team’s general manager could be heard giving his take on players, previous trades, and the current state of baseball.
Fredbird, WBS Naturalist Mike Zieloski, and Patriot the Bald Eagle
For the past several years World Bird Sanctuary has been invited to bring a Bald Eagle to have on display in one of these side rooms. We are given a one hour or two hour time slot for people to hear the stories about our Eagles flying at Busch Stadium and learn fun and important facts about the Bald Eagle’s life in the wild and important conservation ideas that affect our National Symbol. I have personally attended three of the Cardinal Winter Warmups with our eagles. What a great event. Also families and individuals may come up for photos next to the Bald Eagle.
In other meeting halls vendors or private owners are displaying their Baseball Card Collections, pennants, used game jerseys, used baseball bats and impressive photos of previous cardinal game action and memorable moments--a great way to collect or sell memorabilia.
Another group called The Green Team had a display table in a large hallway. The Green Team is the group of volunteers that scour the stadium seating area between innings collecting recyclables so that those items do not end up in landfills. The Green Team is headed up by long-time World Bird Sanctuary friend Rick Frahm. Rick worked side by side with us at the Grant's Farm Bird show for many years. I personally spent two full seasons at Grant's Farm presenting the bird show alongside Rick. What a great guy to work with--always welcoming and professional. If you want to make an environmental difference as an individual or with your church group or school group as a member of the Green Team you can contact them at 314-345-9485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the proceeds from Cardinal Winter Warmup benefit Cardinals Care, the team's community foundation supporting kids. Thanks to the generous assistance of fans, players, staff, volunteers, and sponsors, Cardinals Care has distributed more than $18 million to area organizations since its inception in 1997. The Winter Warmup is the largest of several fund-raising efforts that supply grants to non-profit agencies in the St. Louis area. These grants help kids in health, education, mentoring and the arts.
Fredbird, Patriot the Bald Eagle, and WBS intern Eleanor Tecosky-Feldman
Come see WBS’s Bald Eagle fly at some Cardinal Home Games. The Home opener this year is Monday April 8th, 2013.
When you see the Eagle flying in Busch Stadium you will know that the Eagle is trained at World Bird Sanctuary by our lead Trainer Roger Wallace, other staff, interns and WBS volunteers.
Submitted by Michael Zeloski, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/EEC Manager