Baby Recieves a Free Day, the Osprey Has a New Crib, and Bob Gets a Hammock

6 Sep

It has been a crazy week in the Wildlife Education Center here at Blandford. We’ve gotten in five new rehab animals, which will be updated on the Rehab Critters page soon, and our permanent residents have been just as busy.

Dr. Whoo our resident Eastern Screech Owl is enjoying some much needed me time after his two foster babies have moved outdoors into an off exhibit rehab cage. The two babies, one a red-phase who almost has all his adult plumage in and the grey-phase who has a long way to go before his feathers are all the way in, are enjoying the fresh air. We’ll release the two birds once we know that they can hunt on their own just fine, but right now we are enjoying just how cute they are!

His adult feathers are just starting to come in on top of his head.

His adult feathers are just starting to come in on top of his head.

The little guy outside catching some sun rays.

The little guy outside catching some sun rays.

The red-phase wasn't too please that we woke him from his slumber.

The red-phase wasn’t too please that we woke him from his slumber.

Even our rabbit, Grayson had a busy day. Wildlife staff have been training Grayson to perform a few tricks. He can now stand up on his back legs and spin in circles when you ask him to. We wanted to be able to take him outside for walks and have him enjoy some fresh air so we bought him a harness. He isn’t too keen on it yet, but we’re hoping soon he’ll enjoy eating some fresh grass in the outdoors. He sure does look cute though in his harness!

Giving him treats while he as his harness on his a sure way to make him like it

Giving him treats while he as his harness on his a sure way to make him like it

 

Baby the Barred Owl is well known for being our diva bird and this week she proved it. While staff were cleaning her cage she flew out over top of us and hung out on top of some cages. We let her spend some time flying around the WEC before putting back in her enclosure.

What a stinker!

What a stinker!

The Osprey has finally healed enough to be in an outdoor off exhibit rehab cage!!! He is definitely happier outdoors and we love seeing him explore his new surroundings. He’s climbing up on perches, eating his food, and just all around doing amazing. We will be keeping a close eye just to make sure his stump his doing ok still. His cage still needs to be built so if you’re interested in helping out please let us know.

So happy!

So happy!

For the most part all our animals had a great week, but it seems that Bob the Bobcat may have had the best. Maintenance staff and volunteers built Bob a giant hammock made of fire hose. This thing is huge and so awesome! Bob has been enjoying lounging around on it especially after we doused it in catnip.

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We hope that everyone has a wonderful fun filled weekend like our critters did this week!! Make sure to stop on out to Blandford to see all our animals in action.

 

RIP Pip the Eastern Screech Owl

30 Aug

Sad, sad news this week. Our resident Eastern Screech Owl Pip who has been with us since 2002 has passed away. Pip was at least 11 years old when he passed away. Out in the wild Screech owls can live to be about 9 or 10 years old and living in captivity their life expectancy can double.

Pip was one of the sweetest, most lovable birds I have ever met. He was always very gentle and enjoyed going out on programs to visit schools and educate others on Michigan’s native wildlife. His favorite thing to do was to take baths in his water dish. Wildlife Staff would come in the morning and his entire cage would be soaked from his late night bath session. The Wildlife Center gets a lot of orphaned baby Screech Owls in, especially in the spring time and Pip was the perfect foster bird to them. We would often find the baby owlets cuddling under the one wing he had.

When Dr. Whoo are second resident came to live with us, Pip loved having a full time roommate. They would often be calling to each other late at night while we had programs. A lot of the time we could play Screech Owl calls and Pip would call back to us. He was an amazing ambassador!!

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored Pip over the past 11 years. Your support means so much to us and I’m sure Pip thought so too! If you’d like to donate in his honor you can visit http://blandfordnaturecenter.org/donate or you can donate anything on our wish list, which is located at http://blandfordnaturecenter.org/wishlist.

 

 

“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”

John Galsworthy, English novelist and playwright

The baby screech pictured with our permanent resident Pip

The baby screech pictured with our permanent resident Pip

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Our Famous Saw-Whet Owl

22 Aug

Our Saw-Whet owl, Mr. Bean, has sky rocketed to fame as a video featuring him has become an internet sensation. In the video you can see Mr. Bean chilling out in front of a fan on a hot summer’s day. This video has now garnered over 160,000 views on youtube and has been seen on the tv show What What Happens Live on the Bravo Network. How cool is that? If you haven’t seen it check it out below…

Mr. Bean came to us in 2008 after he hit a window. His wing ended up with some nerve damage rendering him unable to fly. Mr. Bean enjoys spending time outside of his enclosure checking out all the other critters in the wildlife center. Although his size would suggest that he is a baby, Bean is full grown adult owl. Saw Whet owls are Michigan’s smallest owl species, but is not the world’s smallest owl. That title goes to the Northern Pygmy Owl and the Elf Owl both of which are not found in Michigan. Baby the Barred Owl and Mr. Bean aren’t really on friendship terms, but they like going on adventures to schools to teach kids all about Michigan’s wildlife. You can bring these critters to your school or function by calling Katie at (616)735-6240 and scheduling a Blandford on the Road program. If you’d like to see this superstar make sure to come and visit him at Blandford Nature Center. He appreciates all of the attention that he gets.

And now some cuteness overload with your local celebrity Mr. Bean…

So cute!

So cute!

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Current Rehab Critters

9 Aug

These are our current rehab critters that we have housed at Blandford. All these guys are up for adoption through our Adopt a Rehab Program. Our program allows you to “adopt” one of our rehab critters to help with the medication, care, and food for their stay with us at Blandford. The care of a single bird of prey costs upwards of $500. With a small donation of $25 you’ll receive a fact sheet about the animal, a picture, a certificate of adoption, and an invitation to the release of the animal back into the wild. For more information you can find it here or you can call Sam at (616) 735 – 6240.

Young Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Young Sharp-Shinned Hawk

This guy came to us after a woman found him in her garden with flies buzzing all around him. His right eye had been damaged by what we don’t know. The eye is something we have to watch carefull, but we aren’t quite sure if he will be able to recover.

Painted Turtles!!!

Painted Turtles!!!

The four painted turtles in the water came to us after someone had been keeping them as illegal pets for over a year. Their shells were soft and they were severely malnourished. Seven turtles were brought to us and only these four made it. We’ve been keeping them fed with extra vitamins and UV light so that their shells can grow nice and strong. Hopefully these guys will start growing!

The larger painted turtle came to us after being seized from a person who kept it as an illegal pet. He is also severely malnourished and will  be staying with us until we can get him nice and strong!

Blanding's Turtle

Blanding’s Turtle

This Blanding’s Turtle was hit by a car that left a large gaping hole in it’s shell. None of its organs were damaged. We will be keeping this guy until his shell can heal on its own. This is something that can take years to happen. He will be with us for quite awhile.

Baby Screech Owl

Baby Screech Owl

This baby Screech Owl was found after a tree had been cut down out of someone’s yard. The baby had very cloudy eyes similar to when Baby the Barred Owl came to us. We’ve been giving him medicated eye drops and its eyes have cleared up! This little guy will be fostered by our two resident screech owls until it is old enough.

A red phase screech

A red phase screech

This guy was found abandoned by his parents along with it’s sibling that passed away. It is almost ready to be released. We will be putting it outside in a rehab enclosure to make sure it can fly well and can hunt on its own. Then it will be released!!!!

The Osprey eating a huge fish

The Osprey eating a huge fish

While technically the Osprey will be a permanent resident, I wanted to give an update on his care. His wound where his wing was amputated is healing very, very well. He is getting more, and more comfortable with Wildlife Staff. The next step for us is to start work on his enclosure. If you are interested in donating to the Osprey enclosure fund please give Sam a call at 616-735-6240.

The Transformation of an Eastern Screech Owl

2 Aug

Have you ever wondered what it looks like when a baby owl grows up? Well now you’ll never have to wonder again because we captured this little guys moments as he grew from a baby to the adult bird he (almost) is. This Eastern Screech owl came to us after he/she was found in someone’s driveway along with a sibling of his/hers. He/she had mud caked all over its poor little feet. Unfortunately the sibling didn’t make it, but we tried are very best to help it.

His first day at Blandford. May 9, 2013

His first day at Blandford. May 10, 2013

After cleaning the poor baby bird off and finding nothing else wrong with it, we put him/her in our resident Screech Owl’s, Pip and Dr. Whoo, cage where they could foster it. It’s important that baby animal imprint on their correct species so that when they grow they know what it takes to become the best adult owl they can be. Because we wanted to limit the interaction the little Screech had with humans we covered up their cage.

The baby screech pictured with our permanent resident Pip

The baby screech pictured with our permanent resident Pip. May 10, 2013

The little Screech took right to our permanent residents, especially our friend Dr. Whoo. Dr. Whoo came to us after being cut down from his tree with a chainsaw. Even after that traumatic event, he never lost his attitude. He passed that attitude right on to our little Screech friend. It wasn’t long before he/she would hoot and holler every time we came near its cage!! Which was great!!!

1 week after coming to Blandford. He's perching now!

1 week after coming to Blandford. He’s perching now! May 17, 2013

 

Taking a bath! Look I see adult feathers coming in!! May 20, 2013

Taking a bath! Look I see adult feathers coming in!! May 20, 2013

 

We are one feisty bird! May 23, 2013

We are one feisty bird! May 23, 2013

 

We have adult tail feathers now!!! May 31, 2013

We have adult tail feathers now!!! May 31, 2013

Adult feathers start to grow from the bottom up. About a month in he/she already had its tail feathers and most of its flight feathers. This little guy/gal was starting to buzz around their enclosure. He/She has to make sure they are working those wing muscles!!!

We are a mean bird (which is great!) Look at those pretty wing feathers. We may be a red-phase screech. June 21, 2013

We are a mean bird (which is great!) Look at those pretty wing feathers. We may be a red-phase screech. June 21, 2013

There are two phases or colors of the Eastern Screech Owl. The gray phase, which both of our residents are, though Dr. Whoo does have a lot of red in him. Then there is the red phase, which it seems our little owl friend will be. There’s debate on what makes a Screech a red phase or gray phase. Some say it’s location, some say other things. Here at Blandford we typically see gray phase Screeches, but we have a red phase that lived on the property last year. The color morphs do not tell the sex of a bird. Unlike songbirds, an owl’s sex depends on size. Generally, a female owl is larger (about 25%) than a male owl.

Hanging out with my best friend Dr. Whoo. He's the world's greatest Dad! Do you see all my pretty feathers? June 29, 2013

Hanging out with my best friend Dr. Whoo. He’s the world’s greatest Dad! Do you see all my pretty feathers? June 29, 2013

 

Almost has all his/her's feathers in. All that's left is that pesky head. July 19, 2013

Almost has all his/her’s feathers in. All that’s left is that pesky head. July 19, 2013

 

Just a few downy feathers left on his/her neck and face. Almost not a baby any more!!! August 1, 2013

Just a few downy feathers left on his/her neck and face. Almost not a baby any more!!! August 1, 2013

Today the little guy/gal is almost an adult! Our two resident Screech’s absolutely love to foster little ones (as far as we can tell :D) The next step in recovery is getting him/her outside in a rehab enclosure to see how his flight is. This also gives it the chance to build up more wing muscle. Next, we have to see if it can hunt. We will trap live mice and release them for him and hope that he/she catches them!

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Snapping Turtle Found

1 Jun

Yesterday a group came in for a field trip to Blandford Nature Center. They saw a Snapping Turtle who was sitting in the woods with flies all around him. They told me their concerns and I went out to investigate.

The Snapper was still there in the same spot when I went to look. He was breathing, blinking, but just laying there. Snapping turtles travel large distances to reach new habitat or to lay eggs. This Snapper was just enjoying some nice cool earth while taking a break from traveling along our property.

A huge thank you for the group that was so worried about the turtle!!! They learned that even though Snapping Turtles look scary, they play an important part in our ecosystem.

 

Get Your Picture Taken With Baby the Barred Owl

7 Mar

Saturday, March 9th, we have our annual Sugarbush festival!!!! And for a special treat the wildlife center at 1:00 pm will give you a chance to get your picture taken with an owl! Our wildlife staff will snap your picture with Baby the Barred Owl and to get it you will have to like us on Facebook! So make sure you let everyone know to come out to our Festival!!!

She's ready for her closeup!

She’s ready for her closeup!

Join us from 9-12 pm at the Blandford School for a wonderful pancake breakfast and experience demonstrations on our trails from 10 AM – 5 PM. Admission is $5 members, $6 nonmembers and pancakes are sold separately, for $5 members, $6 nonmembers.

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