SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A baby golden eagle is recovering at a wildlife rehabilitation facility after officials say it miraculously survived a Utah wildfire last month.
Kent Keller told The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/NKy8WO ) he feared the worst when he returned to the nest site west of Utah Lake to retrieve a leg band he had attached to the male eaglet June 1.
But the veteran Utah Division of Wildlife Resources volunteer found the burned bird alive on June 28 behind a charred tree, about 25 feet below the nest that was burned to a crisp in the 5,500-acre Dump Fire near Saratoga Springs.
“I thought there was no chance he would be alive. I was stunned when I saw him standing there,” Keller said. “I thought maybe I could rebuild the nest a little bit, but I took a good look at him and realized that was not going to happen.”
The 70-day-old eaglet had suffered burns on his talons, beak, head and wings. His flight feathers were melted down to within an inch or two of his wing and tail. He’s very underweight at just over five pounds.
Keller realized the eagle would not fly for at least a year and that the parents eventually would stop providing food. Not a stick from the nest was left after the fire sparked by target shooters swept through
“I’ve seen nests burn before, but this is the first year I have seen one burn with young in it,” he told the Tribune. “They are usually long gone and flying when fire season starts.”
After permission was secured from state and federal wildlife agencies, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden assumed care of the eaglet this week.
“I wasn’t sure he was going to make it,” said DaLyn Erickson, executive director of the center. “He kind of had that look like he may have given up.”
But the eagle named Phoenix has since taken to eating beef heart and venison. He’s treated several times a day for his burns and seems to be gaining strength.
“He looks good now,” said Amber Hansen, a member of the center’s board of directors. “But we think if he had been there (at the nest site) another day, he probably would not have survived.”
What seems to have saved his life during the fire was the insulation offered by his down feathers and once-thick body, according to the wildlife rehabilitation center.
Officials hope the bird can be released back into the wild next year, but say it’s too early to tell about its future. Volunteers will work to keep him as wild as possible.
“It depends on how much follicle damage there is to his wings,” Hansen said. “If they are not too burned, he should be able to molt into new feathers next year and hopefully be able to fly.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced grant awards totaling $962,981 to thirty states for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects. State natural resource agencies will use the funds for surveillance and monitoring of caves and mines where bats hibernate, preparing state response plans and other related projects.
“Grants like these provide essential support to our state partners in responding to white-nose syndrome,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “Responding to the rapid spread and severity of this disease has been difficult for state agencies and other partners. Providing funds directly to states helps to improve capacity for response within those states, but also provides support for critical research projects and strengthens our national response effort overall.”
White-nose syndrome has devastated bat populations across eastern North America. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease has spread into 19 states and four Canadian provinces. Service biologists and partners estimate that WNS has killed more than 5.5 million bats.
The Service is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-government organizations to research and manage the spread of WNS. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the Service has funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve our basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.
Funding for grants was provided through Endangered Species Recovery funds. Proposals were received from 31 states requesting $1,183,480. All eligible requests were given at least partial awards, ranging from $14,646 to $50,000, for a total of $962,981 in grant funds.
Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation, and research can be found on the new partner-oriented WNS website, http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/. The site contains the most up-to-date information and resources from partners in the WNS response, current news and links to social media.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. For more information on white-nose syndrome, visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org. Connect with our white-nose syndrome Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwswns, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfws_wns, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/collections/72157626455036388/.
Jeremy Coleman, 413-253-8223
Ann Froschauer, 413-253-8356
From Audubon Minnesota – Published: Jul 3, 2012
Saint Paul MN – Dave Netten, co-owner of All-Seasons Wild Bird Stores in the Twin Cities, presented Audubon Minnesota Executive Director Mark Peterson a check for $3,071 on June 26, 2012.
The funds were generated by customers’ donations among their six metro area stores and were matched by the store owners. The campaign was kicked off on International Migratory Bird Day, May 12, and continued for two weeks. The proceeds will support Audubon’s “Bird Safe” program working with home and building owners to reduce collisions of birds with windows, one of the largest sources of bird fatalities today. This is the third year that All-Seasons Wild Bird Stores ran a campaign designed to assist Audubon Minnesota’s bird conservation programs.
We love to report when independent wild bird retailers do great things! Thanks, Dave, for making a difference!
The Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative is one component of the new vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Entitled “Conserving the Future”, the new plan lays out specific recommendations for change in Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation including creation of an urban refuge initiative that defines excellence in our existing urban refuges, establishment of framework for creating new urban refuge partnerships and implemention of a refuge presence in ten demographically and geographically varied cities across America by 2015.
Please watch this short video to see their new vision, or visit the website, www.AmericasWildlife.org!
CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW TO WATCH VIDEO:
This is part of a growing trend towards increasing awareness and understanding of the link between wildlife and urban areas including everything from greeening of our urban areas to increasing awareness among those living within urban environments and helping people understand the relationship between humans and nature.
The Urban Bird Treaty also works towards some of these same fundamental goals. They continue to work in targeted urban environments to reduce bird hazards, increase bird-friendly habitats in urban environments and foster environemntal educaiton in our youth.
I have re-posted this wonderful article by Olga Usova from the CapeGazette.com because, though the feature here is the Tri-State Bird Rescue, I know that all wildlife rescue organizations share these same or similar needs. We encourage you to reach out to your local rehab centers and offer a hand, if you can.
Thank you, Olga, for the following article:
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research is looking for volunteers to transport injured birds to Newark, DE.
In 1976, following the last in a series of five oil spills in the Delaware River where thousands of animals died, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research was founded to explore the effects of oil on wildlife and to develop research and treatment procedures.
Today, Tri-State Bird Rescue, whose facility is located in Newark, operates a federally licensed, nonprofit avian rehabilitation clinic and cares for 3,000 injured and orphaned native birds annually. The agency staffs a professional 24-hour oil spill-response management team.
“We get anywhere from 100 to 150 species of birds every year, but it can be a lot more depending on the situation,” said Lisa Smith, executive director of Tri-State Bird Rescue.
If no oil spill occurs, Tri-State’s most likely customers are baby birds. They might have an injury if they have fallen from a nest, or they might have been picked up by a cat or a dog, causing soft-tissue injuries. From the incubator, the little birds graduate to a laundry basket or a screen cage, depending on the species, and from there they go to an outside cage.
“We do what we call soft release – there’s a hatch in the cage and we just open it so that the birds can let themselves out. A couple of days and they are done with people. There’s something in their brain that kicks in and they just become wild birds,” Smith said.
Tri-State’s small professional staff is augmented by an army of volunteers who donate 30,000 hours annually to keep Tri-State’s programs running smoothly. “We could not raise those birds without our volunteers, it would not happen,” Smith said.
Some of the Tri-State’s volunteers, including Lisa Coyle, are ready to drive three hours to help, gain experience and learn. “I come from Pennsylvania, so it is about an hour-and-a-half each way, but I chose Tri-State, because they are the best in the country, and they are doing such a great job with the birds,” Coyle said.
When an oil spill occurs, Tri-State is notified if wildlife is affected. Depending on where the spill is, they bring birds back to their facility or they set up a remote location wherever they can find one.
“We bring our water heaters and all the equipment we need, which is what we did during Gulf of Mexico spill restoration,” Smith said. “We were their lead responder for wildlife in the Gulf, and we set up rehab facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, where we were from April 2010 until January 2011.”
“If we need to, we will go international. We’ve already been to Estonia, South Africa and England, but definitely our main focus is on the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic,” Smith said.
Tri-State is always in need of people willing to help transport birds to or from the center, especially from Sussex and Kent counties. Some callers are unable to bring in a bird they have found, so volunteers are needed to pick them up. When a bird is farther away than one transporter wants to drive, two or more volunteers relay the bird to the clinic for care. “Last year, we received 300 birds from Kent and Sussex counties,” Smith said.
If anybody is interested in becoming a transporter to drive birds up to Newark or part way, please contact Julie Bartley, volunteer manager, at 302-737-9543 Ext. 102.
“Our transporter network is a very valuable asset for wildlife,” Smith said.
Talents are needed in a variety of areas such as bird care, oil-spill response, front desk reception, landscaping and maintenance, office support, fundraising, marketing and special events.
Top 10 things to protect wild birds
• Keep your pets under control, and keep cats indoors.
• Hang hawk silhouettes, decals, or other ornaments in windows to reduce the chance of impact injuries.
• Look before you lop! Check for nests before you trim bushes or cut down trees. Better yet, do your pruning in the winter – it is better for the plants!
• Keep your bird feeders clean.
• Drive carefully and watch the roadsides for wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk.
• Cap your chimney and install an approved clothes-dryer vent cover.
• Use natural or organic alternatives to chemical pest control or lawn care. Many birds die every year from exposure to these chemicals.
• Pick up litter, especially fishing line and plastic six-pack rings.
• Dispose of hazardous household products properly.
• Educate children to respect wild birds and not capture them.
For more information on these topics, please visit www.tristatebird.org
So, what are you feeding your Goldfinches? To be honest, it’s sort of a trick question. When we think of “thistle” as a flower, we usually picture the thistle which is considered the national flower of Scotland (Onopordum acanthium). This thistle has a pink to purple colored flower on a prickly head. If you garden, you may think of the noxious and common thistle weed (Sonchus oleraceus L.) which is also prickly, but invasive with a smallish yellow flower that isn’t all that attractive.
What adds to the confusion, is that Goldfinch actually will eat thistle seeds in the wild, if you have them growing nearby (see photo).
The truth is, though, when you feed your precious Goldfinches the seed you purchase at your independent wild bird retail store, you are not actually feeding them “thistle” as we know it at all. Though some may commonly call it “thistle”, it’s biological name is Guizotia abyssinica and it is not related to the two varieties mentioned above at all. In fact, this little black seed as developed some serious identity problems because of “name calling”.
The actually common name of Guizotia abyssinica is niger (pronounced ni-jer). Several years ago, due to confusion and offensive mispronunciation, the official name Nyjer® was developed and trademarked by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry. Nyjer® is primarily an oil seed crop that is grown in parts of India and Africa. It is also the only major wild bird feed ingredient that is imported from overseas. It is commonly irradiated prior to being allowed into the United States by law, but this does not effect its bird attractiveness, as anyone who feeds the birds will tell you. It also prevents most instances of reseeding in your garden, although I have had some tell me that they have had it grow.
It is a seed that spoils easily, however. It’s usually recommended that you purchase only the amount of seed that you can use in about a month or two. You may not recognize the smell of fresh seed. However, if it is rancid, you can smell it. It has the same stale smell as any other nuts might have if left too long in your cupboard.
Yes, they are picky. If the seed isn’t fresh, they won’t come around. If it’s on the ground, and not in a feeder, they aren’t attracted to it. If the feeder is dirty, they won’t come to it. If the feeder isn’t the right kind, they might not be able to get the seed out easily. If the seed gets wet… well, you get the picture!
Since we love having these little sparks of yellow, we put up with it though, don’t we?
Since Nyjer® is so small, it is prone to caking when it gets wet. Even the smallest amount of dampness can cause it to cake up. This causes clumping in the feeder, and the birds may find it difficult to get the seed out.
We recommend a good Nyjer® feeder that is made especially for this seed. If you are using a regular feeder desinged for larger seeds, fine Nyjer® seed may blow out on windy days. I like a mesh feeder. Yes, more rain will get on the seed if it is rainy. The other argument, however, is that moisture can more easily wick away from the seed because of all the holes, and you might get more birds because they can easily cling to the entire surface, not just on pre-positioned perches. The diamond mesh of the model pictured here is perfect for serving up Nyjer® to your friends.
The feeder has to be kept clean as well. If you have one with ports, be sure that the seed moves easily in the tube and that the ports aren’t clogged with dampened and caked seed. If it needs cleaning, I recommend cleaning it at the end of the day. Use soapy water and rinse it well. Leave it to dry thoroughly overnight.
The best thing about Nyjer®: squirrels don’t usually go for it! So you don’t have to have special squirrel-proof gadgets and slinky contraptions to keep the varmints at bay.
As usual, however, I recommend you get a good sturdy feeder at your independent wild bird retail store. They’ll help you pick one out that won’t need to be replaced every year. Several manufacturers make models that have a lifetime guarantee. This is a case in which money spent for a good feeder from a reliable retailer makes sense. Your independent retailer is your friend and will be there if you have additional questions or problems.