So much to write about and yet so little free time to do it. I hardly know where to begin so let's start with some cool news.
Remember our little Wilson's Snipe admitted in early June? While we have raised many Woodcock, a similar species, he was the first snipe we've admitted to REGI. The great news is he grew up beautifully and was released. He wasted no time leaving and hustled into the perfect snipe habitat on a local wildlife area. Our thanks to State of WI DNR Eric Borchert for locating the release spot and helping us gain entry to it. He was a happy bird as he started probing the ground almost immediately after release. I am posting lots of photos of him as a tiny one and then of the release. We were enamored with the little tyke.
It has been a ducky kind of year here at REGI. We do raise ducks every year, however the numbers of ducklings this year has been extraordinary! We released sixteen more Mallard ducklings that are now full-grown ducks! They too went happily into the wild area where duck weed covers the water’s surface. We heard hardly a quack out of them as they skimmed the surface gulping duck weed as they went. Great to see the little ones taking their second chance at life in the wild. We have plenty more ducklings coming up for release within the next few weeks including Wood Ducks and a Merganser as well as more Mallards.
Do you remember the young Great-horned owlet admitted in mid-June? She was degloved under the left wing and leg. It was a terrible injury of unknown cause. We were not certain how her case would resolve. We put her in with our wonderful foster dad owl, Papa and he took over her nurturing and gentle care while we tended to the injury. She suddenly had three other siblings, the orphans great-horned chicks Papa is also raising. We checked her out the other day and she is doing so well. I took some photos of her and the little foster family. She is the oldest of the group and has a great survivors attitude.
Our songbird’s numbers are up as well with over forty young American Robins, Swallows, Chipping Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows and Lincoln Sparrows, Blue Jays as well as a young Red winged Blackbird just admitted yesterday. Baby birds must be fed every 20 minutes the first week of life, so they keep us plenty busy. The great news is they grow quickly and will be released and on their own by the end of summer.
Most of our young songbirds are insectivores, meaning they eat only insects particularly their first months of life. Keeping them in live or fresh insects is a constant chore. We do appreciate donations of grasshoppers, meal worms, wax worms and trout or red worms.
Unfortunately, we have also had many cat attack patients. It is sometimes hard for people to think of or envision their outdoor cat as a killer, but it is a natural behavior and not a judgement on the cat. This is a very difficult time for young birds as they are just leaving the nest and learning to fly. They cannot protect themselves. We ask cat owners to please consider making your cat an indoor cat or use a cat/kennel when they are outside. This is to protect the cat as well as wildlife. I hesitate to post photos of the cat caught patients we receive as they are gruesome, and many do not survive. Many are adults protecting their youngsters and then of course the youngsters die as well as the parents are gone. I will post a few just because it is real and people need to be aware. We admitted five cat caught birds in a few hours time the other day. I will post those there will be five photos right after the photo of the tiny bird with its mouth open. ( Don't look at the next five if you prefer) I apologize to those that are upset by the sight. Unfortunately, we have to see it daily and many times a day. Sad and preventable with help from cat owners.
Many eagles have been admitted recently. I will post them separately. Some are law enforcement cases and details will be limited but the cases need to be discussed.
Our tours have been going gang busters. We meet so many wonderful folks as they come through. Thank you if you have come to see us and if not, consider taking a tour soon. You can register on line or you can call the education department at 715-623-2563 to register. The Natural Resources Foundation tours filled our Friday. They are always fun as I get to do part of the tour myself and talk to many like-minded individuals.
Thank you all for your patience with us as we care for our many patients this summer and update with less frequency.