Friday, August 30, 2013

CSI Bird Patrol - Chapter 2


Following is Chapter 2 in the saga of the CSI Bird Patrol from the pen of Field Studies Supervisor Neal Cowan.  To see Chapter 1 use the search box at the top left-hand corner of this page and enter CSI.

Chapter 2:

The sunrise was cloaked in grey as the dreary day rolled on.  Agent Baird had been raised from bed far too early this cold morning.  There had been a break-in down on old Jay Bird Street.  Four people were missing.  It didn’t look good.  A member of the notorious Cowbird gang had been picked up on the scene and Blue and Chicka were on their way to headquarters to do a little interrogating.

Corinne Tarin, brains of the Cowbird gang

Corinne Tarin: brains of the Cowbird gang.  She is always looking out for her family.  Her big brother Pryce is the muscle (and the leader if you ask him) of the gang.  He is about as quick as a damp rag and just as clever, but Tarin keeps him out of trouble.  Together you could say they are more of a nuisance then an actual gang.  They run in a diverse group with the Starlings and the Blackbirds, living off the backs of others, and always in trouble.  Tarin keeps a finger on the pulse of the underworld, so on a cloudy day she always has valuable information to trade for the protection of the family.

Tarin sat alone in the poorly lit room.  The cold metal of the table before her offering comfort as the shadows crept from her mind and danced around her at the edge of the light.  Tarin was no stranger to this room.  The interrogation room usually provided Tarin a certain solace, but today was different.  This time she didn’t have the upper hand.  The knowledge in her head could not buy her safety now.  This time it would be her betrayer.  No hope could hold back the fear; the nightmare of the night before.

The shadows cowered into oblivion as Beau entered the room and shut the door.  Taking his seat at the other side of the table, eyes hidden beneath his fedora, he began interrogating: in silence.  His presence alone was enough to ease her spirits.  The other cops treated her like a petty criminal, but Blue, in his own way, treated her like a person.  He could speak a thousand words with his silence.  A half-cocked smile formed on her face as she realized how cute it was that he thought he was such an enigma, but she could see right through him.  It made it that much more unbearable that she was now going to disappoint him.

“I’m sorry.”

An eternity passed after she said those words. Blue just sat there.

“Well…?” fighting the tears forming in her eyes. “Lock me up and throw away the key! That’s it! That’s all there is to it!”

HE’S GOT MY FAMILY BLUE!!!

Meanwhile:

            “I don‘know what you want me to tell you Caroline?  Unless Blue can get somethin’ outa her there ain’ nothin I can do”.  The chief tried to escape to his office but Chicka just followed him right in.

            “Chief, you know there’s no way the Cowbirds are responsible for this!  You saw that place!  What could they possibly have to gain?

“Ugh, listen Chicka, I know it don’ look good.  The whole sitiation stinks like rotten mayo, but there ain’ nothin I can do aboud’it.  That girl was the only one at the scene, her fingerprints are everywhere.  She looks guilty and she won’t say a darn thing to the contrary”.

With a sigh Chicka slumped down into the embrace of the cold hard wooden chair in the corner, much to the Chief’s chagrin.  The otherwise uninviting room wasn’t doing its job; uninviting the bird now planted in the corner.  It would be cozy if the Chief didn’t keep all the window shades shut tight and the thermostat low.  He rounded the big oak desk and planted himself in his chair, letting out a heavy sigh as he brought his weight off his feet.

“Has anyone contacted the husband yet”?

The Chief cracked his neck before giving his reply. “No”.

Chicka just stared.

“He works in the Tech industry.  Was overseas doing work for some big defense contractor, PredGuard?… I think?  I don’know.  He won’t answer his phone and he hasn’t responded to any of our emails yet”... The Chief’s sentence trailed off as his gaze drifted into space.

“What is it Chief”?  Chicka perked up in her seat.

“Now that I think on it, something fishy happened when we first tried to get in touch with our missing husband.  The first call we made was to his cell phone.  No one answers right, but just then this guy calls us.  Some bigwig.  Says he’s the guy’s boss and wants to know if there’s anything he can do.  Sounded alright then, but… How did he know we were lookin?  We didn’t call him…hell we didn’t even know who he was!  How did I not catch that ‘til now”?!

“So who was he”?

“I don’know.  Called himself Rocown?  Ricky Rocown.”

To be continued…

Submitted by Neal Cowan, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Supervisor


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last Chance for Amazing Animal Encounters 2013


Visit World Bird Sanctuary this summer and experience Amazing Animal Encounters!

Ameren Missouri brings you free, family-friendly, fun and education Amazing Animal Encounters at World Bird Sanctuary, all summer long!

Kids love touching the snakes

Free, fun, family-friendly environmental education programs are presented by our naturalists, using snakes, parrots, birds and mammals to teach you about the amazing creatures that share our planet, and what we can do to help them survive.

Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Time: Saturdays at 11.30am and 2.00pm; Sundays 1.30pm. 
Admission: Admission and parking is FREE.  No reservations required.

Sponsored by Ameren Missouri

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rebounds at Birds In Concert This Thursday

Join us this Thursday, 8/29, for our last Birds in Concert 2013, featuring our guest performers--The Rebounds.

The Rebounds play danceable classic rock.  Their selection of music spans several decades with a solid representation of the 70's and 80's.
Join us Thursday 8/29 for the music of The Rebounds
If you were to ask where The Rebounds are from, you'll get a varied answer.  The four members hail from Robertsville, Eureka, Webster Groves, and St. Charles.  The musicians, Chris Johnson, Gary Allgood, Kyle Walz, and Matt Sokeland, have several decades of musical experience and are known for creating a medley of songs that gives older tunes a fresh sound.  Artists you will hear are Poison, Billy Joel, John Mellenkamp, Van Morrison, The Romantics, Wilson Pickett, Black Crowes, and more.

Important Information
Date: Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Time:  7:00 - 8:30 pm
Admission & Parking:  FREE!

Sponsored by:







Join us for the Raptor Project, followed by The Rebounds.




Spin the Whole Foods Market Wheel during intermission for fun prizes







PLUS, the chance to win a Kindle tablet from Nationwide Hendrixson Agency!




Bring your blankets, picnics and friends, and join us for a fun evening of music.  We hope to see you there!

Food will be available for purchase at our snack table.

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

365 Photo Project Year 2


This summer the beautiful, cooler-than-normal weather and lack of humidity has resulted in me doing a little more of the tourist thing with friends. 




Aldabra Tortoise
 One of the stops I made early in the month was at Grant’s Farm; a small, but entertaining facility in St. Louis county.  This was the first time I had ever been there as just a tourist, and I have lived here for 8 years.  One of my favorite photos from that day was a close up of the Aldabra Tortoise.  This is the largest tortoise in the world from the island of Aldabra.  The two tortoises at Grant’s Farm have been there since 1954. 


Siberian Tiger
 Later in the month a friend and I did a big day of three stops.  The first stop was Riverside Reptile Ranch, in central Franklin County, for a private tour.  We had a great tour of the facility and a nice up close look at many of the animals.  I took so many photos it is hard to choose just one.  This facility not only has reptiles, but also many mammals.  One of my favorite photos is a close-up of the Siberian Tiger, largest big cat species in the world.  This male slept while we took a look.


Stalagmites and stalactites with drip rings
 Next stop on our trip was Meramec Caverns, also west of St. Louis, in Franklin County.  This awesome cave is very worth the cost of the tour.  At a cool 55 degrees we had about an hour and a half tour, going down to about 360 ft below the surface of the earth.  It was at this point I took one of my favorite photos of the summer of the stalactites and stalagmites, with the water making drip rings on the surface of the pool.


View of St. Louis from the top of the Arch
 The last stop was a stop at the Gateway Arch.  I had been to the arch outside a few times before, but never in and up.  The concept of going up was a little nerve-racking considering I am not a fan of heights.  However, I made it to the top with a few encouraging words from other visitors that had gone up earlier with the same misgivings.  Luckily it was a very calm day and not too hot.  The view after a ride in the egg tram was very beautiful.  I have included a photo of the Missouri view. 


St. Louis Gateway Arch
 Lastly we walked over to the pond near the arch and took a few photos, so my last photo is just a nice photo of the arch.

Sometimes taking the time to be a tourist in the town you live in is nice.  Just a few words to the wise: early is always good as the crowds are smaller.  Go early in the week if you can, and just be patient.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Thursday, August 22, 2013

World Bird Sanctuary honors birdhouse builder with Eagle Release


On Saturday, July 13th, 2013, World Bird Sanctuary honored Bob Seyer with a Bald Eagle Release, for his contribution to conservation and the World Bird Sanctuary’s Kathryn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital.

Since 2011, Mr. Bob Seyer has been building birdhouses and donating them to World Bird Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital for sale, to support the care and treatment of sick and injured wild birds, in the hopes that they may be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.  The birdhouses are built from wood which Mr. Seyer salvages from construction sites that would otherwise be destined for landfill.  He then fashions them into bluebird nest boxes and wren nest boxes.  Over the last three years, Mr. Seyer has donated 4,000 bird houses to World Bird Sanctuary.  These bird houses are sold for $2-$3 each, and have raised approximately $9,000 for the wildlife hospital over the last three years.

 Mr. Bob Seyer gets ready to release the eagle into the wild (Photo by Donna Tucker)
Earlier this year, a bald eagle was admitted to the Kathryn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital at World Bird Sanctuary after injuring its wing when it hit a high tension power line over the Mississippi river.  It was rescued from the water by a passing boat captain and brought to World Bird Sanctuary.  After months of intensive treatment and rehabilitation, it was deemed ready to be returned to the wild in early July.  Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager at World Bird Sanctuary, asked Mr. Seyer to release the eagle, as a way of honoring his contribution to helping the birds admitted to the wildlife hospital.

Another Bald Eagle flies free. (Photo by Donna Tucker)

On Saturday, July 13th, 2013, at Bee Tree Park in Oakville, Mr. Seyer released the eagle back to the wild – where it flew over the Mississippi before disappearing out of sight.  It was a memorable occasion, and a fitting way to acknowledge the wonderful service that Mr. Seyer is providing to World Bird Sanctuary and the birds in our community.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fowl Play at Birds in Concert this Thursday

Gracing our stage for the first time....Fowl Play!

Join The Raptor Project as they play family favorites "Turkey Named Fred", "Roadkill Shiver", and more.

After a brief intermission, enjoy Fowl Play as they cover popular rock and pop songs from the classics to recent hits!

Important Information
Date:  Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Time:  7:00 - 8:30 pm
Admission & Parking:  FREE!

Sponsored by:








Join us for the Raptor Project, followed by Fowl Play.




Spin the Whole Foods Market Wheel during intermission for fun prizes





PLUS the chance to win a Kindle tablet from Nationwide Hendrixson Agency!

Bring your blankets, picnics and friends and join us for a fun evening of music.

Food will be available for purchase at our snack table.

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Three Nature Hikes Left!


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.
Enjoy the serenity of 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.
August 24th
September 28th
October 26th
Keep an eye out for interesting funghi
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, August 16, 2013

Wolves Of The Sky


If ever there was a bird that’s all business, it’s Tequila! 


As I was leaving the World Bird Sanctuary Nature Center after a day of volunteering in the office, I happened to venture into the amphitheater as two of our naturalists were giving one of our Harris’ Hawk fliers its daily exercise.  At the end of every day two of our naturalist/trainers exercise our flying performers by taking them out on stage and flying them between the two staff members.  Of course, the bird knows that there is a treat of tasty rat meat at the end of each flight. 


Even though there are treats involved, some of the birds aren’t as quick to respond to the trainer’s cue as this one was.  I wasn’t sure which bird this was (since to me all Harris’ Hawks look pretty much alike), but I was mesmerized by its concentration and intensity.  No sooner would she land on the trainer’s glove and devour the treat than she would be ready for the return trip.  The bird sat on the trainer’s glove like a coiled spring, anticipating the next cue from the other trainer.  After the flying session was over I discovered that this spot-on performer was Tequila, one of our veteran fliers.


Harris’ Hawks are unusual in the raptor world in that they are not lone hunters.  Due to scarcity of day-active prey in their desert environment a family will work together cooperatively (somewhat like a wolf pack) to hunt and capture prey. 


One bird will land on the very top of a Saguaro cactus, and then another will land on top of that bird and another on top of that one until they are stacked as much as three or four high.  Hence, the name for this behavior—stacking! 


From this vantage point, and with many sets of eyes scanning the desert, any movement on the desert floor could signal the presence of a prey animal. Watching Tequila’s intensity I could only imagine what it must feel like to be a prey animal (mouse, rat, rabbit, etc.) when these wolves of the sky are on the hunt. 


Over the years I have attempted to photograph many of our Harris’ Hawks in flight, but in my opinion they are one of the most difficult to capture—digitally or on film.  Their speed in flight is amazing.  However, this particular day some of Tequila’s concentration must have rubbed off on me as I did manage to get several acceptable photos of this brown dynamo. 


If you would like to see Tequila in action join us for Birds in Concert any Thursday night in August.  Tequila and a number of our other performing animals will light up our stage, along with our in-house band, The Raptor Project.  In addition to our birds and The Raptor Project, each Birds in Concert features a different guest performer. 

Where else can you find entertainment featuring live music, guest artists, and flying birds--and all for FREE!

Birds in Concert Information
When:              Every Thursday in August
Time:              7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Where:              The World Bird Sanctuary amphitheater
                        125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road
                        Valley Park, MO 63088


Bring your family, friends and picnics.  Food will also be available from our snack table.

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

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Floating Classroom


Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit one very unique classroom.  In fact, I kind of insisted on seeing it for myself after receiving a phone call from Mike Coyne-Logan, crewman, who was inquiring if we would be able to have a few of our educational programs at their site. 

Mike explained to me that this was a “floating classroom” that was on a barge.  This led to multiple questions, which would clearly best be answered on site and in person.  We coordinated schedules for when the barge would be located close to our area and met up in Alton, Illinois.  This began my introduction to an organization that WBS wants to collaborate with for many years to come.
Exterior of the floating classroom which is built from recycled materials 
This floating classroom, which was built from recycled materials in 2011, is the pride of the not for profit company Living Lands & Waters.  It was constructed to be as eco-friendly as possible, with solar panels and a wind turbine to conserve diesel fuel.  This organization shares a mission that lines right up along with ours at WBS. 
Hard to believe this classroom was constructed entirely from reclaimed materials
Their Mission:

To aid in the protection, preservation and restoration of the natural environment of the nations’ major rivers and their watersheds.

To expand awareness of environmental issues and responsibility encompassing the river.
To create a desire and an opportunity for stewardship and responsibility for a cleaner river environment.

In layman’s terms, this group travels up and down the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and coordinates clean ups with volunteers, collecting literally thousands of tons of garbage.  They also work to educate people about the environment and our watersheds.

I had never heard of their organization before that first phone call.  When I visited their floating classroom, I was truly blown away.  I saw with my own eyes the impact that they are having, from the awesome construction and creative use of recycled materials for the classroom, to the literal tons of garbage that was being collected from our own back yard.
This mountain of garbage was pulled from our river in just two weeks
I stood there looking at the amount of garbage that had been pulled out of the river in a two-week time frame, in sheer amazement and disbelief.  In that very moment an adult Bald Eagle soared just a few feet above our heads, so close that we were able to identify the large fish he carried in his talons as a silver carp.  I literally got goose bumps and declared that the Bald Eagle flying over had to have been a sign.  We are really looking forward to working with Living Lands & Waters. 

Visit their website at www.livinglandsandwaters.org to learn more about what they do and to see how you can get involved in the cleanup efforts.  You can also find them on Facebook under Living Lands and Waters.

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

Monday, August 12, 2013

Javier Mendoza & Jim Peters This Thursday

Javier Mendoza and Jim Peters with The Reserve at Birds in Concert this Thursday!
Javier Mendoza returns to our stage this Thursday along with Jim Peters for a rocking good time
The folk-rock collective The Reserve was formed in 2013 by longtime collaborators Javier Mendoza and Jim Peters.  The Reserve combines elements of laid-back storytelling with moments of white-knuckle guitar acrobatics, filtering all of this through a pop sensibility with just a touch of twang.

Mendoza and Peters have played music together since 2001, touring both the United States and Europe.  They have opened for such artists as Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Ben Folds, and Chuck Berry.  Vocalist/guitarist Javier Mendoza has released several acclaimed records as a solo artist.  Guitarist/vocalist Peters was a member of the alt-rock group The Uptight Animals when not appearing with Mendoza.


Important Information
Date: Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Time: 7.00 - 8.30pm
Admission: Parking: FREE!
Sponsored by:









Join us for the Raptor Project, followed by The Reserve.  



Spin the Whole Foods Market Wheel during intermission for fun prizes, 






PLUS the chance to win a Kindle tablet from Nationwide Hendrixson Agency!


Bring your blankets, picnics and friends and join us for a fun evening of music!

Food will be available from our snack table.

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


Saturday, August 10, 2013

“Phee Phew”


“Phee Phew” is the call of the Mississippi Kite. 

This small kite is grey in color with distinct red eyes and a long black tail.  Their diet consists of large flying insects that are caught while the bird is on the wing.  For about the last 25 years the Mississippi Kite has been sighted in St. Louis during summer months.  They will raise their young in pockets of St. Louis city and county.   
One of two young Mississippi Kites currently in our hospital's exercise mews
With this being my third summer working at WBS’s rehabilitation hospital I have slowly noticed trends where certain species breed in the surrounding St. Louis area. 

We recently received a 3 week old Mississippi Kite that had fallen from a nest about 50 feet off the ground.  Luckily for the little one the land owner brought it to our wildlife hospital.  It was found after an examination that the kite has no injuries.  I got to thinking about the St. Louis area and the relationship with the Mississippi kite.  After doing some homework I have discovered that Coniferous, or pine forest edges, grassland edges, and urban areas are the preferred breeding habitat for this kite species.
This youngster was ready to take on the big bad photographer
Often times this species is misidentified as the Peregrine Falcon--although the Peregrine Falcon is over three times heavier.  The global population of Mississippi Kites is estimated to be as large as 100,000 individuals with no signs of decline.  Oftentimes multiple Mississippi kites will be seen flying and riding thermals, or the warm air rising from the ground.  The name for a group of kites has many terms, including a “string”, “kettle”, and “brood” of kites.

In mid-September the adults will start migrating to as far south as Argentina and the juveniles are soon to follow. But, before you know it they are back in the beginning of May.  This is the time of the year when we will most likely receive adult Mississippi kites at the wildlife hospital. 

In the case of the baby received over the weekend, hopefully with a few weeks of exercise at the WBS wildlife hospital and plenty of food the kites will be returned back to the wild before the migration begins.

Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Really Weird Bird Behavior: The Great Tit


The Great Tit is a small (4.9–5.5 inches in length) passerine bird, but large in the family Paridae, which includes chickadees and titmice.  The species is very widespread, found in woodlands across Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa. 

 A pair of Great Tits

These birds consume mostly insects during the spring and summer.  Once colder weather arrives and insects are scarce, they eat more seeds, nuts, and berries.  Similar to birds of prey, tits will hold larger food items in their feet in order to eat.  They will also strike at the food with their beak until it is ready to devour.  They can break open a hazelnut with this method in about twenty minutes.  They will hammer off the heads of large insects when feeding them to their young.  They will also hold down large caterpillars with their feet and rip out their guts so the chicks do not consume tannins (found in the plants eaten by caterpillers), which could inhibit chick growth.

When food becomes very scarce in the winter, these small birds turn into ravenous predatory beasts!  They will seek out and hunt hibernating common pipistrelle bats!


A Common Pipistrelle Bat in flight. 

A study done at a Hungarian cave, published in 2009, discovered that it was not an opportunistic feeding behavior.  The Great Tits actively and purposely searched for the bats, then pulled them out of their roosting cavities and pecked at their heads until they died.  The bird then proceeded to eat their brains…so nutritious!

The Great Tit has also been witnessed to kill smaller passerine birds and eat their brains.  One case reports Pied Flycatchers with smashed skulls were found in a nest box taken over by Great Tits.  There have also been reports of Great Tits attacking and killing birds that were caught in nets or traps.  They will attack small or weak birds and split their heads open with their beaks to get to the brains! 

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

  



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Birds In Concert This Thursday 8/8


The Raptor Project at Birds in Concert this Thursday!
Audience youngsters sit enthralled by the Raptor Project while the bird parade passes behind them
Join us on Thursday when World Bird Sanctuary's in-house band, "The Raptor Project" takes to the stage to perform songs from their popular children's environmental education CDs.  Fan favorites from the "Save the Future" and "All Along the Watershed" albums include "Turkey Named Fred", "Roadkill Shiver," "What's the Matter," "The Greatest Possum," and "Animal Noises."

Learn fun and exciting facts about the animals we share our planet with as they share the stage with The Raptor Project!  Audience participation is encouraged!

Important Information
Date: Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Time: 7.00 - 8.30pm
Admission & Parking: FREE!
Sponsored by:







Enjoy music from The Raptor Project.




Spin the Whole Foods Market Wheel during intermission for fun prizes 




PLUS enter our drawing for a chance to win a Kindle tablet from Nationwide Hendrixson Agency!


Bring your blankets, picnics and friends and join us for a fun evening of music.  Food will also be available for purchase at our snack table.








Sunday, August 4, 2013

Really Weird Birds: The Shoebill Stork


Shoebill storks are native to East-Central Africa.  They favor freshwater swamps and dense marshes where they eat fish, young waterfowl, amphibians, and small reptiles – including baby crocodiles!  

These birds are very prehistoric-looking and have a very unusual beak!  It can be up to twelve inches long and five inches wide and it resembles the shape of a wooden shoe.
The beak resembles the shape of a wooden shoe
Shoebills are fairly large birds, with some reaching up to five feet in height with a wingspan of seven to eight feet in length.  They are quite solitary birds; even a mating pair will often forage at separate ends of their territory.  The monogamous pair builds a grassy nest on a floating platform of vegetation, up to nine feet wide, often amid dense stands of Papyrus, which is similar to reeds in our country.  The female lays up to three eggs but usually only one hatchling will survive.  The younger chicks are considered to be back-ups in case the eldest chick doesn’t survive.  Both parents will help to feed and protect their young.  They become reproductively mature at three to four years old and can live up to thirty-six years in captivity.

Some Shoebills may reach up to five feet in height
The Shoebill Stork is mostly an ambush predator.  They stand absolutely still waiting for prey.  Sometimes they will wade through the marsh very slowly in search of their next meal.  Once prey is spotted they can move with amazing speed and power.  The hook at the end of their large beak helps to grip and crush.  Click here to see some amazing footage of a Shoebill Stork hunting lungfish!  Their very large feet are well adapted for standing and walking on aquatic vegetation while hunting.  Their middle toe measures up to seven inches in length!

Shoebills are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Their population is declining because of habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the black market bird trade.  Their habitat is being destroyed in order to create farmland and pasture.  These birds are also hunted for food in some countries and their eggs are collected and sold as food or to zoos or collectors.  Capture and sale of these birds is a problem, especially in Tanzania, where trading of the species is still legal.  In Zambia, fire and drought threaten shoebill habitat, and nests are often crushed by large herbivores foraging in the swamps.

If you want to help endangered birds, part of the World Bird Sanctuary’s mission is to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments.  You can help us fulfill that mission by simply visiting us and spreading what you’ve learned, becoming a member or friend, or adopting-a-bird and feeding that bird for a year!

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist