Thursday, April 26, 2012

New spring updates

Piper, a Sharp Shinned Hawk is now flying free! This small hawk was admitted to Wings of Wonder 1 1/2 years ago after flying into a window as he chased down a small songbird.  The window collision caused a severe head injury to this hawk resulting in damage to his left eye.  Originally, it was suspected that he had permanent and full blindness to his left eye, preventing his release back into the wild. But, over the past hand full of months, Piper's flight abilities have made me question that first diagnosis.  I decided to start training him to a vocal cue at feeding times.  I would give the cue and then toss a chunk of food up into the air.  Piper seemed to easily grab the food in mid air.  Over time I decreased the size of each piece tossed...Piper continued to easily and gracefully snatch it and land gracefully on a perch.  Next I moved Piper into a larger flight pen where he passed his tests with "flying colors".  I chose to release Piper on sight so I could continue to cue him and offer food handouts.  He has taken some of these free handouts, but seems to be successfully hunting on his own.  We wish him well.

An adult Bald Eagle was recently rescued from Drummond Island.  The bird had been seen in a rock quarry for several weeks and was being fed fish by the employees.   A call was finally made to Wings of Wonder and a rescue and transport were planned.  Upon arrival to WOW, the eagle was examined and later x-rayed at the Long Lake Veterinary clinic.  His wounds were old and very severe.  He was missing a huge piece of his upper beak, the soft roof of his mouth was split open, his right eye was blind and he had an old and fused fracture involving his left elbow. These old wounds were painful and debilitating.   I believe he may have been hit by a small private plane.  We decided to end his suffering and "release" him peacefully and humanely.   

 Our older Great Horned Owl, Sage, is happy and practically smiling.  She is currently fostering 2 orphaned chicks brought to us by the Braveheart Raptor Center down near Muskegon, Mich.   Sage is a stellar mom and has fostered dozens of chicks over the years.   The youngsters are growing fast and will be flying soon.  In the next couple of days the family unit will be moved into our large 100 foot aviary where they will have plenty of room to stretch those beautiful wings and develop valuable hunting skills.

The "little white girl", the albino turkey vulture admitted to WOW in late january,  boarded a Delta flight this past tuesday and arrived safely in sunny California.  She is now acclimating to her new home at the Ojai Raptor Center under the professional and compassionate care of my good friend and colleague, Kim Stroud, the center's founder and director.   The "little white girl" will be pampered and spoiled and soon become the new princess at Ojai.  She is a lucky girl indeed.

Our resident eastern screech owls, Gilda and Arlo, are also care-taking babies.  No pictures yet to share, but we promise some in the near future.  Golda, our resident Golden Eagle has laid her 3rd, and hopefully last, egg.  She seems not the least bit interested in these eggs, which is fine since the eggs are not fertile.  What interests her most at this time of the year are towels...she LOVES to shred towels, so, if anyone is interested in donating bath-sized and beach towels please give us a jingle.  Golda will love you!

This a busy time of the year for all wildlife as animals pair up, build nests and dens, and begin to raise a new family.  Please be mindful of not interfering with this "child rearing".  Show your respect by being quiet and keeping your distance.   If you suspect that a wild animal has been orphaned, please call Wings of Wonder for assistance.  We ask that you don't remove any babies from the wild until after first consulting with a professional and licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  Enjoy the sounds and sights of nature during this new spring season.

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