Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Love is in the air

We have all heard of the birds and the bees.  This blog is going to focus on the birds, not the bees.  Without a doubt, spring is the busiest time of year for everyone at the World Bird Sanctuary—especially the birds!

Breeding takes place everywhere at the World Bird Sanctuary; hawks and owls in the woods call out to their mates.  Birds everywhere are working overtime on nest building. 

A Bald Eagles’ nest located near WBS_note the two babies in the nest (photo: Jim Kent)
 Bald Eagles near the river by the sanctuary have built a nest, which is currently about 4 feet deep, that they add to every year.  We have seen this eagle pair flying through the trees in courtship rituals; spinning, flipping and grasping each other’s talons, then releasing at the last second as they fall.  Later in the year we see the juvenile eagles flying around the WBS Nature Center, as they explore the world near their nest. 

When baby birds hatch mom and dad will hunt at every opportunity.  Owls will even hunt during the day. 

Our resident birds sometimes call in wild birds, seeming to flirt with them. 

In the wildlife hospital we admit many baby birds, which have fallen from the nests during spring storms.  Adult birds sometimes are egg-bound at this time of year. This  is a problem where a bird cannot lay the egg that has developed inside its body.  This prevents them from performing other biological functions. 

Since the parent birds are busy hunting they sometimes are so focused on the prey that they collide with cars. 

Baby Barn owl – 33 days old (photo: Gay Schroer)

Our propagation department is busy overseeing our breeding birds. We make sure they have the right food, vitamins and nesting materials that they need.  Even the birds on exhibit get in the mood.  The birdcalls and courtship dances heard and seen on the property are a symphony of love.

Thickbill Parrot Baby being watched by the parents – note the light colored beak on the baby (photo: Gay Schroer)
The Thick billed parrots on the exhibit line have hatched several babies over the years.  A few of those babies were released in the mountains of New Mexico. 

Some eagles and hawks on the exhibit line have even laid eggs.  However these birds are not currently in bonded pairs so the eggs will never develop.  We tend to empty the eggs and use them for education. 

We have released to the wild many Barn Owls and Peregrine Falcons that we have hatched here.  Both of these species were recently taken off the endangered species list.

Dorothy the Andean Condor baby hatched here at WBS (photo: Gay Schroer)
We have hatched Andean Condors that were later released in South America.  We have released many bald eagles, even babies.

Breeding will continue all around us no matter what.  Like they say in Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way.”

When visiting the World Bird Sanctuary in the spring, keep an eye out for some of these breeding activities and behaviors. 

Submitted by Joe Hoffmann, World Bird Sanctuary Rehabilitation Hospital Manager

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