Tag Archives: outdoors

Barn Owl in West Michigan?

21 May

Today I got a phone call saying that someone had a Barn Owl who was injured. I told them to bring him on in, but fully doubted that it was going to be a Barn Owl that actually walked through our doors. Though I have only been at Blandford for a couple of years, my colleague has been here ten years and never had a Barn Owl come in. Barn Owls are a very rare sight in Michigan and are listed on the endangered species list. They often nest in tree cavities, abandoned buildings, and barns from which it gets its name. They feed on small vertebrates, such as mice and voles and occupy areas of open farmland and grassland. Part of the threat to Barn Owls, besides habitat loss, are pesticides used on crops. Small mammals will ingest the pesticides and in turn poison the owl when he captures his prey.

Sure enough it was a Barn Owl! The poor guy was found in Coopersville in someone’s barn down on the ground. Due to his small size we believe he is a male. We took him to the vet and he is currently receiving fluids via IV and warming up in their incubator. It is possible this is pesticide poisoning, though we are not fully certain at this time. We will be doing all that we can in hopes to re-release him back out into the wild!

The Barn Owl before his trip to the vet. He is severally dehydrated.

With our Adopt a Rehab Animal program you are able to contribute to his journey back into the wild. For more information please email Sam@blandfordnaturecenter.org or call 616-735-6240 ext 15


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!


Rehab Animal Spotlight

29 Mar

With one Great Horned Owl healed up and ready to be released, we unfortunately had another Great Horned injured come into Blandford on Monday the 26th. The owl was found caught in a barbed wire fence near Westside Christian School in Grand Rapids. Lori, part of our Wildlife Staff, went to rescue the poor guy. Unable to remove the wire, it had to be cut away from the rest of the fence.

Male Great Horned Owl caught in barbed wire fence.

Wildlife Staff, Lori Lomoro, rescues the injured and shocked male Great Horned Owl after spending a night or two caught in a barbed wire fence.

He was in shock and had to be given fluids right away.  We then contacted the vet so she could take x-rays to see how badly damaged the wing was and remove the piece of barbed wire fence in his wing. With amazing luck, the wire had only gotten lodged into the skin of the wing and did not damage any of the underlying muscle nor did it break any bones. He will be spending another week or so indoors healing and then will be placed in an outdoor rehab cage where he will work on regaining wing strength. As far as we know he should be able to fly just fine!

He is perching and eating on his own, but is still a little out of it. He'll be back to his normal puffed up, beak clacking-self in no time!

A huge thank you goes out to the students and parents at Westside Christian School and Janet, Lauren, and Anna Staal who have already raised money to sponsor this Great Horned Owl. If you would like to also help him on his long and difficult journey back into the wild please call Sam at 616-735-6240 ext 15 or email sam@blandfordnaturecenter.org.


The Newbie

9 Mar

On 3/7 a Cooper’s hawk came into us after it was found not flying in Grand Rapids. The poor critter has a open wound in its left wing, but luckily the bone doesn’t seem to be broken. We have put some ointment on it and wrapped its wing to his body. It hasn’t ate on its own yet, so wildlife staff will have to force feed it until it does.

Cooper’s Hawks are very high strung birds and will often die in the hands of rehabbers due to heart attacks. They have some of the worst injuries because they fly so fast and can turn so quickly that when they collide with things like cars or windows a lot of damage is done. These guys will often get out of their dressings by clawing at the vet wrap. This causes more damage because most of time they are also scratching up their skin as well. This was the case with our new guy who along with its original injury has another wound due to scratching. Wildlife Staff will be doing what they can to make sure it survives.

All dressed up and no where to go

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?"


Rehab Animal Spotlight

27 Feb

Here at Blandford we take pride in the love and care we provide for the injured wildlife that come through our doors. With this blog I have been able to show and explain what has happened to each of our rehab critters. You get the behind the scenes look into their injuries, status of their release, and sometimes a video of the magical moment when we release an animal back into the wild! But how can you personally help?

You can sponsor a rehab animal! We will periodically have a rehab animal spotlight that features a rehab animal that you can sponsor. Your sponsorship helps to offset the cost of the animals time with us.

Our first spotlight animal is a Great Horned Owl that came to us on 2.21.12 where he had been hit by a car on I-96. After a physical examination we did not find any broken bones, but it was apparant that he had some head trauma. For the next few days he was pretty out of it and wouldn’t eat on his own. Fortunetly he is now eating on his own and has perked up a bit (often hissing and snapping his beak when I walk by). Head trauma takes time to heal. He could be with us anywhere from six to eight weeks. He will also need time in our outdoor rehab cages to build up his strength to fly again (It’s tough being in a little cage for months on end!). We have calculated the amount of money it would take to feed, care, and provide medical attention for him if he were here for six weeks…drum roll…$1000! You can see how much money goes towards rehabilatating an animal.

Sponsorship packages start at $25, but smaller donations will be accepted. With a sponsorship package you will receive a photo of the Great-Horned, a certificate of sponsorship, information on the natural history of Great-Horned Owls, an invitation to the release of the critter, and the wonderful feeling that you helped an injured animal survive!

To donate click here and in the comment section be sure to specify this is for the Rehab Animal Spotlight. For any questions you can email Sam at sam@blandfordnaturecenter.org or call me at 616-735-6240 x15.

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.

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