Tag Archives: barred owl

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.



Another Happy Ending!

27 Apr

On April 25th, we finally got to release the Great Horned Owl that had been caught in the barbed wire fence. He was joined by about 50 school kids who were cheering him on. He flew amazingly well! A big thanks goes out to Westside Christian School, the Staal family, and to Tyler Sheldon whose donations helped get this guy back into the wild!

The Great Horned Owl who was caught in barbed wire fence is about to be released.

In the beginning of April we had our benefit to help support the animals of Blandford and I’m glad to say that it was a success! We raised about $1,200! We still have t-shirts available for purchase. The shirts have the vintage Blandford logo on the front and say, “I give a hoot about Blandford’s animals” on the back. T-shirts are $10 so stop in today and get them while they last!

UPDATE:  Now when you sponsor an animal your name will be placed on that animal’s cage. Some critters, like the Bobcat and the Saw-Whet owl, are feeling the love and have many sponsors. Others, like the Great Horned Owls and the Screech Owl, don’t have any sponsors! So, come on out and sponsor one of our animal’s and make them feel loved! Sponsorships start out at only $25 dollars!


WEC Updates

9 Mar

It has been a crazy couple of weeks here at Blandford. Our two creek chubs that lived in the nature center passed away. We aren’t sure just yet what we will be doing with that empty tank, but if you have any ideas of what you would like to see leave a comment. In other news, another milk snake was found in someone’s basement.. He will overwinter here until spring finally arrives!

The Wildlife Center is proud to announce its first ever Blandford Nature Center’s Benefit for the Animals. It will be held at The Intersection in Grand Rapids on April 12th, from 5-11 pm. Tickets will be available for purchase ahead of time for $25 and $30 at the door. There will be live music as well as a silent auction with items donated by local businesses. Come out and support our animals!  For more information call Lori at 616-735-6240 ext 15 or email Lori@blandfordnaturecenter.org.

Bob enjoyed his 10th birthday on 2/28.  His present was a cardboard tube filled with rats, hay, and sprayed with catnip. You can watch him dig in here. Enrichment activities provide physical and psychological stimuli that help captive animals to alleviate boredom and provide opportunities for species specific behavior. Simple things like adding a watermelon or an old tire all encourage activity. In the summer we place frozen fish into his pool and watch his instincts take over while he “fishes”. It’s a hoot!

Bob wishes we had snow again!

UPDATE: The rehab screech owl is out in our outdoor rehab cage working on his wing strength. He spends the day curled up in a wood duck box keeping warm.

"Hey! Close that door. I'm cold!"

UPDATE: The rehab Red-Tail hawk that was found not flying back September took a trip to the vet this week. His wing fracture did not heal right and unfortunately he will never be able to fly well enough to be released. Wildlife Staff are working on ideas on what to do with him. Do we make him a permanent resident and have him share a cage with our resident Ruby or do we try and find him another permanent home? We will keep you updated!

UPDATE: Our rehab female Snapping Turtle also went to the vet on Monday to possibly get her pins removed from her jaw. The vet took xrays and found that while most of the bone had healed there was still some healing left to do. The xray also showed that the Snapper had a fishing hook lodged inside her body. I’ll try and get a copy of that xray and post on here. This could possibly be how she broke her jaw in the first place.

UPDATE: The rehab spotlight Great Horned is feeling much better! He is in our outdoor cages getting some flying in. He isn’t flying well, but it’s nothing that some practice can’t fix!

"You looking at me?"


Death in the Family

13 Feb

Its been a rough week for Blandford staff members. Our female Barred Owl who has called Blandford her home for ten years passed away on Wednesday. She had been struggling with a liver disease for many years and it was surprising that she had lived even this long, but this still doesn’t take away the deep sadness that all of us feel. Many had grown to recognize her as the symbol or mascot of Blandford Nature Center. She was truly an amazing creature who I came to know and love. She was sweet-natured girl who hated getting her medicine. She’d see Wildlife Staff coming with it and start shaking her head. At certain times of the year she would stop eating, making Wildlife Staff have to force feed. She began to fake swallowing her mouse, wait till we left and locked her cage, and then would throw it up making us have to unlock and re-enter the cage to feed her once more. She touched not only my heart with her gentleness and grace, but everyone else she met. She truly will be missed.

"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

Sadly, our resident Red-Tailed Hawk Ruby is currently inside right now due to a swollen foot causing her anklet to dig into her skin. She’s on medication and is expected to make a full recovery. Warm wishes her way are welcomed!

Our volunteer Karen holds Ruby while Wildlife Staff change her bandages. You can see how swollen her foot is!!!

UPDATE: The female Great Horned Owl laid two eggs, but once Wildlife Staff put up a protective barrier she abandoned that nest and started a new one, where she laid another egg. Silly bird!

A New Year

22 Jan

As New Year’s came and went the wildlife center was oddly calm. The days were passing by and no new animals were brought into us. While this is a good thing, we at the center know that all too soon that can change. And it did!

On Monday, January 9 a red-phased Eastern Screech Owl was brought in. It had been hit by a car the previous night in Belding, MI. Just from a quick glance we could tell that something was wrong with its right wing. Upon giving an examination, we found that its right humorous was fractured. We immediately called the vet and took the little critter out for x-rays and to see if Dr. Vincent could fix the wing. The humorous was indeed fractured and would be operated on the next morning, but even with the surgery it looked as if the screech would never be able to have full flight. That meant we would get to keep the little guy. While it is sad that we wouldn’t be able to release the screech, we were excited because we had always wanted a red-phased screech to become roommates with our resident grey-phased screech. The next morning the screech made it successfully through surgery, but later in the day died. Unfortunately no matter how much you care for an animal or how well they seem to be doing at the time things like this happen.

Later in the afternoon, we got another Eastern Screech Owl in. This one had been dropped off at a vet’s office in Lowell who then brought it to us. We don’t know what exactly happened to the owl, but it was clear that he had head trauma either from getting hit by a car or possibly flying into a window. Whoever had him had tried to feed him dog food. It was caked all along his beak, covering his nostrils making it hard for him to breath. It is important that if you ever find an injured animal, please DO NOT feed them unless otherwise instructed by an animal care specialist. Sometimes feeding an animal too soon after it has been injured can lead to death! Since the screech was not eating on its own, wildlife staff and volunteers had to force feed it the appropriate amount of food. The screech is now perching, eating on its own, and sleeping the days away. We will keep you updated on his status.

On Thursday, January 12 a male Barred Owl came in after being hit by a truck in Ada. The poor guy had gotten caught in the truck’s visor and had to be pushed out with a hammer handle. He had scratches on his beak and feet and blood in his nose. After an exam, we didn’t find anything else wrong with him. He was lucky! On 1/18/12, Wildlife Staff successfully released the Barred Owl back into the are in which he was found! You can watch his return by following this link to our Youtube account. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zSf80BycFY&feature=youtu.be



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