Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Get ready to rock with Babaloo!


It’s here!!  Our first Birds In Concert of 2013 is going to start off with a bang!  Our first featured guest artist is the hugely popular Babaloo.
Babaloo--Not your run-of-the-mill performer
Where else but WBS could you enjoy free family entertainment that includes not only a concert, but live birds of prey and other animals?

Ready for something different?  Then join us this Thursday night, August 1, for a high energy, often hilarious, musical comedy act for kids (and parents) of all ages.  Be warned—this is not your usual run-of-the-mill kids’ crooner.  Babaloo’s show is fast-paced, totally interactive, full of fun props, hilarious tunes and wacky stunts.  Everybody gets into the act!  
Everybody gets into the act!
This prize-winning pied piper packs more fun than seems possible into every show, and he performs over 300 shows per year.  The Children’s Music Web Awards named him “Best Entertainer”, and he placed 1st and 2nd in the world’s largest songwriting contest.  St. Louis Magazine voted him “The region’s best family entertainer” and he’s a selected touring performer for the Missouri Arts Council and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Date:  Thursday, August 1, 2013
Time:  7:00 – 8:30 pm
Admission and Parking:  FREE!

Snacks and beverages may be purchased from our concession stand—or bring your own picnics and blankets.  Since Babaloo usually draws a full house you may want to bring blankets or folding chairs to take advantage of lawn seating.

Following is the full schedule of artists and dates for Birds In Concert 2013:
August 1 – Babaloo followed by The Raptor Project
August 8 – The Raptor Project performs songs from their CD’s
August 15 – The Raptor Project followed by The Reserve featuring Javier Mendoza and Jim Peters
August  22 – The Raptor Project followed by Fowl Play
August 29 – The Raptor Project followed by The Rebounds

Birds in Concert is sponsored by:













For the safety of our guests and animals--please no pets.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why I Love WBS


Not to be outdone by her younger brother, following is a post from guest contributor, 11-year-old Isabelle B. 

I love going to the World Bird Sanctuary because there are so many interesting things to do there and you learn so much about birds from all over the world.

Isabelle poses in front of our Raptor silhouettes
Some of the things I like to do there are look at all of the birds they have set out, and go to the open houses and “Bat”urday.

One of my favorite memories is from International Migratory Bird Day 2012, where I got to release a Scarlet Tanager, and International Migratory Bird Day 2013, where I got to release a Warbler.

My personal favorite bird is a Eurasian Eagle Owl named Xena.

Whenever the WBS has an open house I WANT to go because they have so many birds on display, and have a show where they fly owls and eagles.  And that is why I LOVE the WBS.

Submitted by Guest Contributor Isabelle B. – 11 years old

Friday, July 26, 2013

Make Your Reservation Now


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

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 plenty of 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.


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

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 workshop@worldbirdsanctuary.org

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tomorrow Only: Help the WBS Wildlife Hospital when you shop at Whole Foods Market!

Shop at Whole Foods Market Town & Country or Whole FoodsMarket Galleria tomorrow, Thursday, July 25th, when 5% of the total sales from each store for that day will be donated to World Bird Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital!

Bald Eagle Meet-and-Greet at Whole Food Market

  • Enjoy a unique shopping experience at Whole Foods Market’s Community  Support Day at World Bird Sanctuary:
  • Meet owls, hawks and eagles from World Bird Sanctuary – see exactly how your support makes a difference!
  • Meet the staff who run the wildlife hospital – find out what it takes to treat an injured bird and prepare it for release back to the wild!
  • FREE entry for a Return to the Wild gift certificate – you can win a Return to the Wild and feel the joy of returning a previously injured bird back to the wild!
  • Purchase a bird house for your garden – made by Bob Sayer, who salvages wood from construction sites that would otherwise be destined for the landfill.  Instead, it becomes a new home for birds in your yard!
  • Find out about the fun, free, family-friendly events at World Bird Sanctuary.
  • Enjoy a children’s sing-a-long at various times throughout the day (at Town & Country store only).


An injured Red-tailed Hawk is treated at the World Bird Sanctuary wildlife hospital
 It costs approximately $50,000 per year to operate the Kathryn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital at World Bird Sanctuary.  Your support of Whole Foods Market’s Community Support Day will go directly to helping treat and care for the 400-450 birds admitted to the hospital per year.
  
We wish to express our thanks to Whole Foods Market for supporting World Bird Sanctuary through their Community Support Day program, and through their ongoing efforts to encourage us all to shop in a more environmentally sustainable way.


We hope to see you at Whole Foods Market tomorrow, Thursday, July 25th, where your shopping will make a difference to the birds admitted to World Bird Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital.

Date: Thursday, July 25th
Time: 11am – 7pm
Place: Whole Foods Market Town & Country and Whole Foods Market Galleria

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Only Four More Nature Hikes Left This Year!


Hey!  There's Nature in My Woods!  Time to go find it!

Have you booked your family onto World Bird Sanctuary's family-friendly guided nature hikes yet?  
An old stump may surrounded by May Apples may be host to small forest creatures
Join us for a leisurely 2-hour hike through our oak hickory forest to see what kind of nature is in our woods.

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:
July 27th

August 24th
September 28th
October 26th
Sharp-eyed hikers may spot a Chipmunk scurrying through the undergrowth
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!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mystery Duck


While working at the Stone Zoo near Boston, my fellow coworkers and I have grown very fond of a small flock of ducks the zoo has on exhibit with their Sandhill Cranes.

Two of our "Mystery Ducks"

For a few weeks we weren’t exactly sure what species of duck they were; they were very small and covered in light and dark brown plumage. The only thing we were certain of, was that they were in the diving duck family because they were constantly diving and searching for food.  So, with our continuing interest in trying to find out what species of duck we were watching, we started our research.

Since most of us took ornithology classes in college, it wasn’t hard for us to work together and break down the steps in identifying wildlife. Since we already knew they were basically all brown and a part of the diving duck family, we needed to figure out what species of diving duck inhabited the northeastern part of the United States.

They were immature Hooded Mergansers - photo by Michaela Henneberg, World Bird Sanctuary Trainer, Stone Zoo, Boston

We only found a few species that matched the description of the ducks we were observing.  These ducks had a very broad crest that kind of looked like a fan and a serrated bill that was all black.  Their crest was so distinctive, we were able to pinpoint that we were dealing with Hooded Mergansers--the smallest of the three Merganser species occurring in North America.

Probable male - photo by Michaela Henneberg, World Bird Sanctuary Trainer, Stone Zoo, Boston

After we finally figured out we were observing Hooded Mergansers, we started noticing that some of the birds in the flock were starting to change plumage. A few weeks later we noticed that three of the birds’ eye colors were changing from brown to yellow.

Immature male Hooded Merganser
So, I continued my research and found that male Hooded Mergansers don’t reach sexual maturity until their second breeding season.  Once they reach their full adult plumage, the males will have a large white crest surrounded by black, and their neck and back will turn all black.  Also, their breast and belly becomes all white and the iris becomes bright yellow, while their feet become a dull yellow.

Mature male in breeding plumage

Female Hooded Mergansers remain a grayish brown with a reddish-brown crest, and their upper bill is black-edged with a mix of orange, while their lower bill is yellow.  Unlike the males, the females’ legs and feet are greenish in color and their iris remains brown.
Probable female - photo by Michaela Henneberg, World Bird Sanctuary Trainer, Stone Zoo, Boston

All in all, we have determined that three out of the six ducks we have been observing will be males for next year’s breeding season and they will be a beautiful sight for families to see.

Submitted by Josh Kuszmaul, World Bird Sanctuary Stone Zoo Assistant Supervisor

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Support our Wildlife Hospital when you Shop at Whole Foods Market next Thursday!

Shop at Whole Foods Market Town & Country or Whole FoodsMarket Galleria on Thursday, July 25th, when 5% of the total sales from each store for that day will be donated to World Bird Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital!

Bald Eagle Meet-and-Greet at Whole Food Market
 Enjoy a unique shopping experience at Whole Foods Market’s Community  Support Day at World Bird Sanctuary:
·         Meet owls, hawks and eagles from World Bird Sanctuary – see exactly how your support makes a difference!
·         Meet the staff who run the wildlife hospital – find out what it takes to treat an injured bird and prepare it for release back to the wild!
·         FREE entry for a Return to the Wild gift certificate – you can win a Return to the Wild and feel the joy of returning a previously injured bird back to the wild!
·         Purchase a bird house for your garden – made by Bob Sayer, who salvages wood from construction sites that would otherwise be destined for the landfill.  Instead, it becomes a new home for birds in your yard!
·         Find out about the fun, free, family-friendly events at World Bird Sanctuary.
·         Enjoy a children’s sing-a-long at various times throughout the day (at Town & Country store only).

An injured Red-tailed Hawk is treated at the World Bird Sanctuary wildlife hospital
 It costs approximately $50,000 per year to operate the Kathryn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital at World Bird Sanctuary.  Your support of Whole Foods Market’s Community Support Day will go directly to helping treat and care for the 400-450 birds admitted to the hospital per year.
  
We wish to express our thanks to Whole Foods Market for supporting World Bird Sanctuary through their Community Support Day program, and through their ongoing efforts to encourage us all to shop in a more environmentally sustainable way.


We hope to see you at Whole Foods Market on Thursday, July 25th, where your shopping will make a difference to the birds admitted to World Bird Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital.

Date: Thursday, July 25th
Time: 11am – 7pm
Place: Whole Foods Market Town & Country and Whole Foods Market Galleria

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scarlett The Red-shouldered Hawk


During WBS’s zoo show season, when we present educational bird shows at zoos around the nation, I always try to like all the birds equally, but it is inevitable that I end up liking a few more than the others.  It’s true the other way around also, with some of the birds ending up liking other trainers more than me.  I find that for me it is usually the corvids (crows and ravens) I end up liking the most, probably because of their high level of intelligence, social behavior and problem solving skills. 


However, this year (at least so far) I was a little surprised to find out that the bird I am most drawn to is Scarlett, our new Red-shouldered Hawk.  I shouldn't be too terribly surprised that I like Scarlett so much.  After all, hawks are my favorite raptors.

Scarlett came to World Bird Sanctuary from the Cincinnati Zoo.  She is still young, only four years old, and it is her first time flying in front of audiences.  In fact, it’s not just HER first time in front of audiences, but as far as we know, the first time in the history of the entire United States of America that a Red-shouldered Hawk has been free flown in a bird show.  So I’m not just excited about her flying, but I am very proud of this whole Milwaukee County Zoo bird show crew (Leah Tyndall, Erica Fenske, Matt Levin and myself) for making history. 

Scarlett about to land on trainer Erica Fenske's glove

Red-shouldered Hawks generally live in forested areas where they can perch in the sub-canopy and look for food.  They have broad wings and usually soar with their tail fanned out.  It almost looks like they are “reaching” with their wings as they fly.  They also flap their wings vigorously during flight, much like an accipiter (for example, a Cooper’s Hawk is an accipiter).   Scarlett almost always flies with her feet hanging down while she vigorously flaps, going from trainer to trainer across the stage. 

Scarlett often makes distinctive calls throughout the day.  Anytime she sees one of the trainers, and sometimes just random people, she will make the “kee-rah” call for which her species is so well known.  Red-shouldered Hawks are known for being very territorial, so I imagine that she is letting us know we are invading her space. 


Much like Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks are opportunistic feeders.  This means that they will eat anything that they can catch.  This often includes rats, squirrels, moles and voles.  But they will eat things like snakes, frogs, lizards, small birds and toads if they catch them. 

With winters being milder lately, probably due to global warming, Red-shoulder hawks are making their territories further and further north.  In fact they can even be found up here in Wisconsin, while only twenty years ago you would barely even see them back home in Missouri. 

So all in all, I don't think it is just Scarlett that I am liking so much, but also her personal story, as well as Red-shouldered Hawks in general.

Photos and Text by Mike Cerutti, World Bird Sanctuary Assistant Supervisor, Milwaukee Zoo Show

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why I Love WBS


I love going to World Bird Sanctuary because it’s fun and cool.

It’s fun because you get to learn about big, cool birds like Vultures, Great Horned Owls, Barn Owls, and Andean Condors. It’s cool because you get to see these birds up close.
Some of my favorite things to do at World Bird Sanctuary are: hear the parrots talk, look around the gift shop, pet the bunny, and see the bird shows.

Some of my favorite memories of World Bird Sanctuary are: going to the Fall Open House and releasing a Scarlet Tanager and a Warbler after they were banded at International Migratory Bird Day.

Whenever we go to World Bird Sanctuary I love to see the Bald Eagles, and Batty and Scar, the fruit bats.


The World Bird Sanctuary is important to me because it’s cool and it has helped me learn what I can do to help protect birds, how to make a birdhouse, and how important birds are.

Submitted by guest writer Simon B. – 8 years old

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Holy Grail


Do you like snakes?  Love snakes? Afraid of snakes?  Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, I encourage you to read further. 

I am going to tell you all about one type of snake that has warmed my heart ever since I met him.  I hope you will become at least partial to him after I have given you many reasons why snakes are great!  I will discuss this species native history, and some interesting facts that you may not know about snakes and this specific species.  Let’s slither right in!

This special snake is a Royal Python (Python regius) named Monty (get it? Monty Python and the Holy Grail?)  Anyway, he is such a handsome colored snake that he will definitely grab your attention when you look at him.  Below is one of the many pictures I have taken of him since I have been working at the World Bird Sanctuary.


Royal Pythons are native to central and west Africa in mixed grassland, savanna, and forest areas.  They are terrestrial, which means they are ground dwelling animals.  They spend all of their time on the ground.  Their main diet consists of small mammals, but they will also prey upon small birds and eggs.  Monty is fed 4-5 large mice every two weeks (we have frozen mice that we thaw before we feed them).  Even though the mice are dead, he still constricts the mice when I feed them to him, then swallows them whole, head first. 

These stocky pythons usually have large dark brown markings with lighter brown spots dispersed throughout the body.  The belly is white with larger scales than the rest of the body.  The multicolor of the body does vary depending on geographic range in Africa.  With these snakes and others, it is the females that are larger and have longer tails than the males.  Below you can see Monty’s unique markings.
 
Females will typically lay 1-11 leathery-shelled eggs in a clutch (a group of eggs).  The female will then consistently coil around the eggs to protect them until they hatch, which takes from 44-54 days.  After hatching, the neonates, or hatchlings, will be independent but may stick around the female for a few months.  In the wild, Royal pythons live up to 10 years old.  In captivity however, their age can increase dramatically to 20-30 years on average.  According to the Philadelphia Zoo (Pennsylvania, USA), they had a Royal Python live to be 50 years old!  Monty was hatched in 2000, making him 13 years old this year.  He is also around 5 ½ pounds (~2500g) and 3 ½ feet long.  The typical range is 5-15 pounds and 3-6 feet in length. 

Royal Pythons are also known as a Ball Python because they will coil into a ball to hide.  The term “royal” refers to the ancient legends of African rulers that wore live pythons on their bodies as a part of their apparel.  One famous example is the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra of Egypt.

 
Snakes have the mistaken reputation of being mean, ugly, scary, slimy creatures that will bite at anything given a chance.  This is simply not true.  I think snakes are very beautiful and interesting animals.  They can be timid just like other animals out there.

If you have never felt a snake before, then you must request to if you come to visit us.  They are very smooth and dry.  I was amazed the first time I touched Monty! 

Sometimes when I hold him, I put him on my shoulders and he moves around gently to explore.  He sticks his tongue out while he moves around to smell his surroundings.  That’s right!  I said smell!  You may be thinking “I don’t smell with my tongue—how can Monty?” This is how it works: when they stick their tongue out, they are picking up molecules in the surrounding air.  Next, they bring their tongue back in their mouth and then touch it to the roof of their mouth.  Snakes have a sensory organ called the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of their mouth, and this helps tell them what is going on around them. 

And, no—Monty has never bitten me and has never constricted me tightly.  I just love showing him off to people because he is such an awesome snake!

Monty is available for adoption in our Animal Adoption program.  To find out more information, call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

This summer Monty can be seen at the Monsanto Environmental Education Center at the World Bird Sanctuary, which is open daily from 8am-5pm.  Monty is a very handsome snake.  You should stop on by and visit him! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sensory Tote Bags


Did you know that WBS has resources designed with the visually impaired in mind?  It is called a Sensory Bag and can be signed out from the Visitor’s Center.  This special educational tool is designed to be taken along with you as you tour our site. 




With so many things to see at WBS, we wanted to do something special for those who are not able take in the sights.  A former intern took on the challenge of creating a guidebook in Braille that can be taken along with you on your walk down the exhibit line past our Wildlife Hospital.  This book has educational information and facts about most of the birds that are on exhibit.


In this Sensory Bag are also several items that can be handled, though special care must be taken to ensure that none of the items get damaged in the process. 

Even our sighted guests love to feel the talons of the various birds


To learn more about birds of prey and other species, there is a container of three different bird skulls, seven talons from birds of prey, envelopes that contain American Kestrel and Screech Owl wings, feathers and a mammal bone.  There is an informational guide sheet about the natural items in the Sensory Bag and information about birds of prey. 


There is also a Backyard Birdsong Guide that features an Audio Field Guide so that you can listen for and identify the different songbirds you may hear on your walk.

Another great teaching aid with more “hands on” items is our Touch Table located at the Visitor’s Center.  This table has several natural items from several different species of animals, including deer, bear, turtles, emu, turkey, raccoon and more. 

We hope that these tools will enhance the visit of those with visual impairments and that it makes their visit more memorable and of course, educational.

Just return the Sensory Bag to the Visitor’s Center at the end of your visit.

Story and photos submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fishing, Families and Fun


World Bird Sanctuary has been receiving Trout from Bennett Spring Trout Hatchery near Lebanon, Missouri, for over 30 Years.  We receive the culls or the fish that have recently passed.

We feed the Trout to our Bald Eagles, Condor, Vultures and our White-tailed Sea Eagle--great nutritious food for our birds.
Every year WBS brings birds for display at this popular event

The staff at Bennett Spring has been gracious enough to work with us all these years and our way of saying thanks is to bring birds to display for their Kids’ Fishing Day.
This youngster gets a really close look at an Eastern Screech Owl

At this great event each child is allowed to catch four Trout.  I consider myself lucky to have been able to participate in these days.  I've attended, with WBS birds for display, on three occasions.  I love the festive atmosphere of fishing, families and fun.

Bennett Spring Trout Hatchery and State Park is such an amazingly beautiful park—and what a great place to catch fish  …and do we catch fish.  Yes Yes Yes!
The young fisherwoman in the foreground sports a turkey feather in her hat while fishing for her four trout

For this special Kids’ Fishing Day event the Missouri Conservation Department stocked the “kids only” fishing area with 2,200 trout—30 of them lunkers.  In addition, they stocked the rest of the park with 1,500 fish.  Kids were welcome to fish in any portion of the park, but hatchery staff wanted to give the kids a more than fair chance of catching a fish.
The children may fish anywhere in the Park, but have a specially stocked area set aside for kids only

In addition to Bennett Spring State Park, the Missouri Conservation Department holds a Kids Fishing Day every May in the other State Park Trout Hatchery streams.  The Kids’ Fishing Day Event is held at Bennett Spring State Park, Maramec Spring State Park, Montauk State Park and Roaring River State Park. 

For this and other events check the Missouri Conservation Department’s calendar of events http://www.missouritrout.com/events.html

Thanks to the Missouri Conservation Department for allowing the World Bird Sanctuary to be a part of this and other events and for donating their surplus fish to feed our birds.

Story and Photos submitted by Mike Zieloski, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cousteau - The Regal Eagle


If you love eagles, then you are reading the right blog!  In this one I will discuss a very special eagle that I have come to know since I have been working at the World Bird Sanctuary.  His name is Cousteau and he is a White Tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

Meet Cousteau, a White-tailed Sea Eagle

These impressive eagles can be found in small areas of Europe and northern areas of Asia.  Even though they do not have any natural predators, human activity, such as poisoning, stealing eggs, loss of habitat, and decreased food sources has forced them to become protected by organizations such as the Mull Eagle Watch in Scotland and the International Migratory Bird Act.

Adult and juvenile White Tailed Sea Eagles are visually dimorphic.  This simply means that as the juvenile ages, its plumage (feather color) changes.  Juveniles have very dark brown plumage and adults have lighter brown plumage with a completely white tail.  This process takes from 5-6 years to complete. 

As with most birds of prey, the females are about a third larger than the males. White Tailed Sea Eagles weigh from 9-12 pounds and are 27-36 inches in length.  Their wingspan is the same as the Bald Eagle’s--6-8 feet wide.

After the White Tailed Sea Eagle has become an adult, it will search for a mate.  Females normally lay 1-2 eggs, sometimes 3 eggs per clutch (a group of eggs or chicks) in a nest in a tree.  The chicks will fledge (leave the nest) at 13-14 weeks of age, but still continue to stick around the parents begging for food even though they can manage on their own.  Their diet consists mainly of fish, but will also include mammals, reptiles, birds, and carrion (dead animals).

In this photo you can see the white tail from which this species takes its name 

Cousteau was hatched in captivity at the Kansas City Zoo on April 1st, 1997, making him 16 years old this year.  The lifespan for these eagles ranges from 20-25 years in the wild, but in captivity they can reach 40-50 years old.  There are a small handful of reasons why their lifespan is longer in captivity than in the wild.  These include protection from predators, available food on a daily basis, medical attention availability if necessary, and full or partial shelter from the elements.

Cousteau has lived at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, IN and the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo in Louisiana before coming to the World Bird Sanctuary in 1998.  From the spring of 1999 to the end of the show season in 2001, he was part of WBS’s educational bird show at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA.  Since then, he has been on display on our exhibit line.  When I or someone else he recognizes walks by his exhibit, he vocalizes and follows me/them down the exhibit line.  He is a very interesting bird with fascinating behavior!

Cousteau is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information, call 636-861-3225.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

This summer Cousteau can be seen on the exhibit line at the World Bird Sanctuary, which is open daily from 8am-5pm.  Cousteau is definitely a regal eagle.  You should stop on by and visit him!

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist