The first bird admitted in 2019 was a Rough-legged Hawk. Rough-legged Hawks are beautiful buteo hawks that breed in the Arctic Tundra and often winter in WI and other U.S. states. Rough-legged Hawks are named due to the feathers that extend down their entire legs to their feet. They have tiny feet compared to other hawks in the buteo family. The small feet limit their prey capturing ability to small rodents such as lemmings and voles as well as other small prey. You will see this species hovering as they hunt along roadsides and sitting on low perches such a fence posts. Our patient was hit by a vehicle near Wausau. We are grateful to the State of WI DNR and the Wausau Police Dept that rescued the hawk off the road and kept it safe before it was transported to REGI by Dawn Stein. The hawk has internal bleeding, a ruptured air sac and concussion. He was given fluids and is resting quietly in a warmed enclosure. We will get x-rays in the morning.
Two Saw-whet Owls were admitted within hours of each other in the last days of December. Both of the tiny owls were hit by vehicles and both are also underweight. It is unusual for owls to be underweight this early in the winter. Saw-whets are one of the smallest owls in the U.S. They average only about about 80 grams, but males can weigh only 50 grams! It is hard to imagine that an owl this small eats two mice a day each! Both of our owls are eating well and keeping our mouse supply very low. The male owl was admitted from Elcho, WI. The female was found by Gina and Harold Downy of Camp Douglas, WI and rescued out of the middle of a road. She was transported to REGI by Mark and Carrie Asplund. This patient has an eye injury and internal bleeding. Both Saw-whets are doing well and improving.
A Barred Owl was found on the side of the road by personal from UWSP. She has a head injury and internal bleeding. She is improving. This patient was transported by Kathleen Esqueda from Plover, WI.
Two birds were admitted suffering from Finch Conjunctivitis. This is a bacterial problem. One patient is a Purple Finch and one a House Finch. They are both improving. To prevent Finch Conjuctivitis at your feeder, keep the feeder clean and the seed dry. If your seed becomes wet due to rain or melting snow, change the seed and dispose of it as garbage in a closed bag to prevent any wild bird or animal from coming into contact with it or eating it.
We wish everyone a very happy 2019! Together we can make our world a better place for wildlife and for all of us. That is my dearest wish. Thank you everyone for doing your part.