Tag Archives: hawk

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?"


Medical Mayhem!

20 Feb

On 2.19.12 we received a Musk Turtle that had been kept as an illegal pet. We quickly found that he was septic, which is fancy for saying he has bacteria infection in the bloodstream. This can be caused by environmental stresses, such as not enough heat or poor sanitation. Symptoms can include loss of weight, lethargy, and a pink/red tinted skin and plastron. Going untreated can cause death. He will be going on the same medication our rehab E. Box Turtle is on and we will be doing what we can for the critter in hopes to release him in the spring.

You can see how pink his skin and plastron (belly) are! An example of how taking an animal from the wild can be detrimental to his health!!!

Our rehab E. Box Turtle is having a rough time. He still has a fluid filled pocket under his skin that we can’t seem to get rid of. The Vet came and took a look at him and thinks he could possibly have a kidney problem. We will continue with his medicine in hopes he’ll get better.

Check out our Wildlife Rehab News board located just outside the Wildlife Center! Here you can see updates on our current rehab critters and also share a story/experience/memory you have of our recently deceased female Barred Owl. Feel free to post them here as well. I look forward to hearing all your wonderful stories. We are also taking donations in her honor!

UPDATE: Ruby, our resident Red-Tailed Hawk, is feeling much better after some TLC. She is off her medication and we are currently working on getting her leg healed up. Hopefully in the next couple weeks you will see her outdoors again.

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!

It’s Egg Time!

5 Feb

It has been a quiet week in the rehab center where we’ve only received a milk snake that was found in someone’s basement, but our permanent residents deserve some of the spotlight this week.

If you have ever been to Blandford, chances are that you know about our little Romeo and Juliet love story. Of course I am talking about our resident female Great Horned Owl and her wild mate that hangs around. One of the first birds to start breeding, Great Horned owls will begin mating in late January to early February.  They will mate for life and lay a clutch of about 1 to 5 eggs.

Our female was found on the property not flying. Every year staff catch sightings of her mate and  have even found pieces of dead animals on top of her cage that he has left for her. For the past week or so she has been on the ground at the edge of the cage digging a spot to nest. Today I went out there and she moved just enough for me to see that she had already laid an egg! This egg is not a fertilized egg so it will not hatch. You can see she wasn’t too happy about getting her picture taken.

In other news, Bob our Bobcat turns a whopping ten years old on 02/28! Make sure you come out and wish him a happy birthday! If you can, make him a card or color him a picture and we will hang it up in our wildlife center!

Currently at BNC Wildlife Education Center

29 Jan

One of the many new things in the Wildlife Center is our Wildlife Rehab News blackboard. It is currently located just outside the center to the right of our door. There you will find a list of our current critters who we are in the process of rehabbing. Due to space limitations, only a few details are posted. I decided that this post will offer a more detailed explanation of our current guys.

Our Blanding’s turtle came to us after being hit by a car in Kent County on 6/21/11. Its carapace was fractured and was fixed by using epoxy. Epoxy is an adhesive that is often used when repairing turtle shells that have been cracked. The Blanding’s has healed and is now overwintering with us where it will be released once spring arrives.

Unfortunately it is common for us to get in turtles who have been kept illegally as pets. We received two snapping turtles and a box turtle because of this. The two snapping turtles are physically okay and will be released once spring arrives. The box turtle was taken to our vet for care where it was then confiscated. He has liquid pockets underneath his skin and now requires a shot every three days. It is important that wild animals remain in the wild. Not only are you possibly endangering the animal itself by removing it from its habitat, but once removed it can no longer produce offspring ensuring the survival of the species.

Once spring arrives this snapper will be released

Box Turtle receiving his shot

September was the month of Red-Tailed hawks. At one point we had four juvenile Red-Tails, but thankfully we are down to only two.  On 09/29/11, a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk was brought in after it hit the window of Grand Rapids building, which lead to head trauma. The hawk is currently outdoors in our rehab cage building his wing strength up. On 09/19/11, a Red-Tailed was found not flying on the side of 15 mile road in Cedar Springs. Its left humerus was swollen, which could possibly have been because of an old fracture. We waited for it to heal and once the other Red-Tail is released he will get him outdoors.

This Red-Tailed Hawk is currently building up his wing strength outdoors.

Red-Tailed Hawk Found Not Flying

We also have two more  snapping turtles that were brought in during the summer. One, by a Kent County Deputy after being found on the side of the road on 05/12/11. The turtle’s lower jaw was broken and had to be wired back together. She has healed nicely and will be released once spring arrives. The second snapper was found on the Elks Golf Course on 7/11/11 after being hit by a car. His carapace was fracture near the back, so we used epoxy to fix him up. He also is overwintering with us.

This female Snapping Turtle was found injured in the road with a broken jaw.

This guy was found at Elks Golf Course over the summer.

Wildlife Staff want to know what you think! If you have any ideas of what you’d like to see in this blog post a comment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Wildlife Education Center’s First Blog!

20 Jan

We are excited to bring you the Wildlife Education Center’s first blog! Here we will give you behind the scene insights into the lives of our permanent residents as well as updates on animals we are currently rehabbing. We will also provide information about upcoming community programs, frequently asked nature questions, and other fun stuff!

With the New Year here, we have many exciting events and projects in the works. One of which will be the introduction of our juvenile Barred Owl, Baby. Baby, who has juvenile cataracts, was brought to us after she was kicked out of her nest by her parents. Her cataracts limited her sight enough to where she would not be able to survive in the wild. She has been placed on our permit and in the spring of 2012 will occupy the barn enclosure along the Wildlife Trail.

Providing education programs through our “Blandford on the Road” program and still having time to rehab critters is a huge undertaking. We have two staff members who oversee the Wildlife Education Center and many wonderful volunteers that help make the center run smoothly. Our veterinarian, Dr. Vincent, works out of the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming where her specialized skills handle our medical needs.

In 2011, we rehabilitated and released 55 animals of which 34 were birds of prey, 18 were reptiles, and 3 were amphibians. The cost of providing care to these animals is based greatly on donations from people like you! To continually provide quality medical care we need your help. To help you can:

  1. Make a donation. Even a small donation goes a long way!
  2. Sponsor an animal. Sponsor any one of our permanent residents and you are helping to cover the costs of providing care and a loving home!
  3. Book a Wildlife Gift Package. By purchasing a gift package for a loved one in which they get an up close and detailed experience with our critters. Your money goes towards supporting our animals.

So, we hope that you enjoy our new blog and that you come back frequently to see what’s happening in the Wildlife Education Center!

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