Welcome to Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education's newsletter!
Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education is a non-profit organization recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization and is sustained solely on revenue from programs and donations.
As you read through Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education’s Newsletter, we hope you will think of our many resident and rehab birds as you plan your 2019 charitable giving.
RESCUE, REHAB, RELEASE!
Yes, we continue our work during the fall and winter! As the weather cools, then becomes cold and snowy, we are often inundated with birds of prey that need our help.
These are some of the birds we have taken in recently. They may have been released or they may still be in rehab:
Our most recent patient is a very lucky first-year Red-Tailed Hawk. He was hit by a vehicle and got stuck in the grill of that vehicle. He only has bruising, swelling, and obviously, seems very sore. We took him to our vet just to be sure there were no breaks, and there were NONE!!! He will be here until he is strong enough and healthy enough to be released back to the wild.
Several weeks before we received the Red-Tail, we received a first-year male Bald Eagle from Kewanee, IL. He has a broken leg for which he had surgery. We are not sure if he will be releasable, as he needs to have a fully functioning leg for hunting fish, perching, etc. Time will tell.
REMEMBER NIRRE IS HERE TO HELP BIRDS!
Rescue...So what should you do if you come upon a bird of prey in trouble? Give a call to NIRRE at 815 633-9193 or to another wildlife rehab association that can advise you as to the safest way to get the bird into the hands of a rehabber. This usually means the rehabber will come to the site of the bird's injury to safely capture the bird and get it quickly into the medical facility for treatment. NIRRE will drive 3 to 4 hours one way for rescues. For injuries that occur farther away, we may ask to meet you half way or at a designated place a little closer to our facility. We are also part of a network of rehabbers, so we may be able to direct you to someone else if the animal in trouble is not a bird of prey.
Rehab...Once at the NIRRE medical facility, the bird's injuries are assessed and an individualized course of treatment will be formulated based on this particular bird's needs. We begin treatment as soon as possible after the assessment, always trying to minimize the bird's level of stress as best we can, since stress can often compromise the bird's health almost as much as physical injury. Of course, some injuries are too severe to fix. In these cases, the bird may not survive or the bird may be euthanized in the gentlest and most humane way possible. Most patients, though, will start their course of traditional and homeopathic treatment and be on their way to healing and eventual release.
Release...This is the part of rehabilitation that one never gets used to, never goes the same way twice, and often brings a tear to the eye of those who have worked-- many times for a long period-- with this magnificent creature who is now ready to return to the natural world. We try to return the bird as close to where he was found as possible. If the site where the injury occurred is dangerous, like a busy road or highway, we find a suitable place and release there. We often invite the public to join us for releases, so keep checking our Facebook page for news of coming releases.
Fall and Winter are always busy times for Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education since many programs are requested, and plans for them are in process. Winter is also the time that birds who have become residents and have the personalities to become Raptor Ambassadors begin or continue their training.
This fall, we have traveled from one end of the region to the other, to do programs and make rescues. Early fall sees conservation days and outdoor festivals. Then comes Halloween, always a big day for birds of prey, especially our owls! As the holidays near, more indoor programs are requested, and more wild birds require rescuing, medical care, and rehabilitation.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW PARTNER
We are so pleased to announce that the University Club of Chicago has partnered with us! The University Club sponsors one of our Great Horned Owls. The Club held a “naming contest” for members and their families, and the name they overwhelmingly chose was Athena.
Athena helped the University Club of Chicago to ring in 2019 by assisting in a program at their facility in downtown Chicago, and she is scheduled to do a repeat appearance there soon.
DOES VOLUNTEERING WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS RAPTOR REHAB & EDUCATION INTEREST YOU? CLICK HERE FILL OUT OUR VOLUNTEER APPLICATION.
Each newsletter features one of our resident birds or a bird whose range may or may not include our area.
SHORT- EARED OWL FACTS
The adult short-eared owl is a medium sized owl, ranging in size from about a half pound to a pound, with a wingspan of 30 to 40 inches (and females are larger than males). This owl has a large rounded head, and their very small ear tufts almost make them look as though they are non-tufted. They have very large, gold eyes, with dark rings around them, and a black hooked beak.
This is an interesting owl, in that they are crepuscular, meaning that they are not only nocturnal, as are most owls, but they can also be seen being active during the day. Unlike the great-horned owl, which frequents wooded areas, the short-eared owl’s habitat is open country and grasslands, and it can be seen flying low to the ground in open fields and grasslands, a habitat they often share with harriers.
Since they inhabit grassy areas where there aren’t many trees, they nest on the ground in meadows or savannahs where they conceal their nests with grasses and weeds. Breeding season is usually March through June, and they typically have one clutch of 4-7 eggs per year. The little ones fledge after about 4 weeks and reach physical maturity at about a year.
The short-eared owl is a rodent eater, and does migrate, at least partially, farther south in its range, as the weather cools and rodent populations dwindle in their preferred area.
Short-eared owls are on the endangered list in Illinois, although their numbers are greater in northern areas and are decreasing farther south.
BIRD SPONSORSHIPS-A great gift for those interested in birds of prey, conservation and the environment.
If you are interested in sponsoring any of our nearly 30 resident birds, feel free to go to our website, northernillinoisraptor.com. There you can read about what birds are available for sponsorship, what sponsorship entails, cost, gifts that come along with sponsorship, etc. We have a special Holiday Package on sale now through the first of the year.
GIVING TO NORTHERN ILLINOIS RAPTOR REHAB & EDUCATION
A monetary donation of any amount is always greatly appreciated. Our website also includes a “wish List”, which is posted and continually updated to indicate items that are especially needed.
IN THE NEWS
Update on The MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT .
We thank all of you who took action by contacting your legislators to uphold this important Act.
In case you missed our posting last time, The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has protected over a thousand species of birds for a hundred years. The list includes songbirds that visit your bird feeder, waterfowl like ducks and egrets, and Birds of Prey.
If you have been following the environmental news, you know there has been an effort to change how this act is monitored and enacted, putting all species of migratory birds at risk.
Here in Northern Illinois there are five species of Birds of Prey that are either endangered or threatened:
Short-Eared Owl Endangered
Northern Harrier Endangered
Swainson's Hawk Endangered
Barn Owl Threatened
If you feel strongly that all migratory birds deserve to be protected, and haven’t acted yet, the American Bird Conservancy has a letter on its website that gives the facts and is all ready to send to your legislators.
We urge you to seek more in-depth information about the MBTA by researching the Audubon Society, US Fish and Wildlife, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources websites and articles. All have excellent information on their websites. Thank you for your help!
DON’T FORGET THE BACKYARD BIRDS WE PREPARE FOR A SNOWY WINTER
The weather will soon be cold and snowy, and some of our backyard friends will be enjoying warmer weather farther south. But many backyard birds winter with us and will be looking for food and water sources!
If you feed birds in the spring and summer, please continue to do so this winter. Be sure to buy good quality seed. It’s a good idea to have different seed in different feeders, so birds have the option of eating what they need. Suet is very inexpensive and provides protein and fat the birds need in cold weather.
If you have a pond or stream on your property, great! But most of us have a bird bath. Small electric heaters are available for a birdbath or small pond for as little as $15, and it takes pennies a month to keep a small water source open for our winter visitors.
SOME BIRDS OF PREY STAY TOO!
Red-tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks can be spotted, and many of the owls also stay up North. The Great Horned Owls will be gathering nesting materials and mating earlier in the winter, since they nest early, hatching owlets while the weather is still cold and snowy in late winter to early spring.
PLEASE GO TO OUR FACEBOOK AND SHARE WHAT BIRDS YOU ARE SEEING THIS WINTER. IF YOU CAN UPLOAD A PICTURE, WE WILL TRY TO HIGHLIGHT THEM IN COMING NEWSLETTERS!
WHAT'S NEW AT NIRRE...
TWO FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITIES
One of our dedicated volunteers and board members, Marge Bowen, is still monitoring a GoFundMe account for Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education for a new van. As many of you know, we have been using our personal van for 14 years for bird of prey programs, rescues, releases, etc. This van now has 268,000 miles on it.
Marge has set up a separate GoFundMe Account to help provide funds for an eagle surgery.
The GoFundMe accounts are under the name of Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education and can be reached through GoFundMe or from our website at NorthernIllinoisRaptor.org. Thank you for any amount you may be able to donate. Also, bird sponsorships or any donation may be arranged through our website or by contacting Candy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815 633-9193. No donation is too small, and all are greatly appreciated.
Programs are arranged by the hosting organization and are “invitation only” events unless they are noted as an “open to the public” program. We look forward, though, to seeing you at one of our many “meet and greet” events which are generally open to the public!
WE THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED LOYALTY AND SUPPORT!