Patoka Lake Raptor Journal
2016 Raptor Journal
A journal was established in the 1980s by Carol Groves, the first interpreter and raptor handler at Patoka Lake. It documents the health and activities of the captive birds. Below is an sample of entries from the 2016 journal.
1: I got both the eagle and owl on the glove for 15 minutes today before the First Day Hike. I walked them around the side yard of the Nature Center while checking their feet, talons, feathers and beaks. When I put eagle back in her mews and sprayed it out she decided to play in the water a bit.
She jumped down on the ladder and watched the water swirl around inside her bath tub. She also nipped at the water a couple times as it streamed out of the hose. It is a bit chilly outside today so when I went into the owl mews I was not surprised to find him underneath his heat lamp. Both birds have been eating very well lately. Owl received two mice for his meal today after leaving nothing behind. Eagle left behind two half rats. I gave her a medium carp in their place.
6: Yesterday I fed eagle a squirrel at 10:45 a.m. since we had a vet appointment scheduled for today. This was a preventative measure to keep her from regurgitating her meal during our drive up to Indianapolis. Unfortunately it did not work and she got carsick on the way to the vet. She did however, immediately jumped on that squirrel but didn’t finish feasting in time to prevent regurgitation.
I checked on owl before we left for the appointment. Owl was holding a mouse vertically with his feet and eating on it at 7:30 a.m. I have never seen him eat before in all his time here. This was very exciting for me! Eagle’s checkup was at 11 a.m. at Avian and Exotic Vet Clinic. Dr. Lennox performed a physical and took quite a bit of blood. This will hopefully be the last blood draw for Aspergillosis testing. Eagle was given a medium carp when we returned. Owl had a headless mouse left over and was given two mice for his meal tonight.
9: Owl left a mouse behind and due to the reasonably cooler temperature; I saved it for his meal tonight. He was only provided that one mouse. Eagle had 1/3 of a carp leftover and was given eight small fish in the Hollee Roller ball. Both birds were brought inside for about 1.5 hours for the 28th Annual Eagle Watch. They did very well during the program. Owl did get a little overheated and began to pant for a short time. It was 50F outside today and 70F in the building which made it a little too warm for him. Eagle didn’t seem bothered by the building temperature.
13: I went out this morning to check on the birds and found that eagle’s tennis ball was on top of her frozen bath tub. It got down to 8F last night so the water bowl did not stand a chance against freezing even with the heat pad placed beneath it. I had broken apart the ice last night so she could get to the water which left chunks of ice floating on top the water. Eagle had pulled one of these ice chunks out of the tub and carried it across the shelter. I found two shad left over from her meal last night. As I was raking the pieces out of her shelter she jumped to the ground and snagged one of the fish from under my rake.
I let her have it to be picked up later. While I was closing her mews and checking on the owl, I heard her walking around with the frozen ice chunk in her talons again. After lunch, I came back outside with a group of Indiana Conservation Officers who were here for a meeting. Eagle jumped onto the bouncing perch near me while they were in her mews. While talking with them, I noticed that eagle had eaten the front half off the small shad that I had left behind earlier. Tonight I gave her a small carp and discarded the leftover shad. Owl also got to see the Conservation Officers. He just stood there watching them while enjoying the warmth of his heat lamp. He had a headless mouse left so I will give him two mice tonight.
16: Due to the latest outbreak of the avian flu virus found in turkey houses near Patoka Lake, we have begun the process of bleaching our boots before entering the mews. We had started this practice over the summer when we first heard of an outbreak in northern Indiana. Since we have 8,880 acres of water for migratory waterfowl, we take this flu very seriously. We are again taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our birds.
20: Tom Riley, Patoka Reservoir Specialist and secondary raptor handler, cared for the birds. He reported that owl left nothing behind and was given two more mice for today’s feeding. Eagle left behind most of a small carp. Her meal tonight was five small shad and two larger fish. Tom hand fed the five small shad to eagle and left the two bigger (yet significantly small compared to a full-sized carp) fish on the tree stump inside her mews.
25: Tom Riley was on duty again today to care for the birds. He checked on them in the morning and cleaned out the shelters as usual. Since it was a warmer day, the eagle’s heated bath tub had finally thawed out enough for the water to be replaced. Tom removed the large round ice chunk from her bath and refilled the tub. As he walked out of her shelter he heard her jump down to the ground. He was able to capture a few images of her bathing which is rare. We have observed her in the bath before, however we were never able to capture photographs until today. After two weeks of her tub being frozen solid, we have no doubt that it felt good to get in there and bathe. Tom noted that owl had one headless mouse left behind in his mews. He gave him two mice for tonight. Eagle had left an unusual amount of five small fish behind from yesterday’s meal. Tom provided her with eight more small fish today.
30: The eagle and owl were moved out to their public viewing mews today from 9:30 a.m. until about 2:30 p.m. These mews provide the birds with more sunlight and stimulation due to the change of scenery. I walk the birds from their more secure night mews out to this area. When I first got owl on the glove, he decided to bate. He got right back up and I continued walking. Along the walk to the viewing area, owl was being extra observant of the downed oak tree that fell in 2010. The larger branches are starting to rot and fall to the ground leaving a maze of decay for us to walk past on our journey. I then went to get eagle out. I grabbed her jesses and instantly felt cold sticky goop on my fingertips. I flipped the jess over to find dark brown slice on the jess. I wiped it and my fingers off before grabbing the jesses for a second time and getting her on my gauntlet.
We walked to an opening where a light breeze was blowing and the sun was shining. Eagle took this moment to spread her wings and flap in that breeze. Once the wind died down, she folded her wings back up and I continued to walk her out to the viewing area. She may have never flown a day in her life but she still enjoys feeling wind beneath her wings every chance she gets. I put eagle down on her corner perch and unleashed her. I took a closer look at her jesses and determined that they would need to be replaced soon. They are showing wear on the back surfaces about three inches below the ankle. While they were out for viewing, I cleaned the night mews out and replenished water in the bath tubs. Later, I did a couple programs with the birds for small crowds and put them back in their night mews just after 2:30p.m. Owl didn’t leave any food behind last night so I provided him with two mice. Eagle had half of a large carp tail left. I gave her the mid-section of the carp today.
4: Eagle has not had much of an appetite this week. She is leaving 5 of 8 small fish, 4 of 6 small fish, 2 rat butts, and entire halves of fish uneaten.We will continue to monitor her diet. It could just be due to the colder temperatures however it is warmer this week with highs in the 40s. Today she will receive 3 small fish and a section of the tail from a giant carp. Owl has also not been eating much this week. He is leaving entire mice behind. Due to the temperatures, we have been leaving the leftover mice as part of his meal for the next day.Usually when both birds have odd eating habits, I tend to worry less because it always comes in seasonal waves.
9: The birds’ appetites are the same as last week. Both are leaving half of their meals behind no matter what is fed.I checked owl over today while cleaning out his shelter. I checked his feet really well since it has been cold out.Usually their feet get dry and flaky but his appeared normal. When I opened eagle’s door she was standing on the second ladder rung.As I entered, with her 2 rats she excitedly jumped off the ladder but must have caught her jess on her foot because she face planted into the gravel floor. She got up, shook off and walked over to the stump where she drug the first rat off onto the ground to eat it. I observed her for a while to ensure she was alright after the fall from a height of about one foot off the ground.She was just fine.
17: Owl was sitting in a peculiar position when I checked on him today. He had one foot on the ledge of the screened window and one foot on the perch.I moved him around a bit so that he was in a better position. He just stared at me as I moved him.He appeared to be wide awake which normally at this time he is half asleep. It is however mating season so his cycle is a little different.He left an entire mouse behind today so I left it for him to eat tonight. He has had a few days where he finishes both mice but most days he is still leaving one behind or a portion of one. Eagle was very expressive today. I walked in with the bucket, rake and hose because she was shredding a squirrel when I left yesterday afternoon.Sure enough there was a mess of fur all around the stump. I found only small bone fragments near the stump and the entire skin was drowned in her bath tub.As I raked the larger fur clumps and intestines into the bucket she decided to jump down. Eagle always wants to look for scraps when it’s time to clean the shelter.I’d like to think she is helping me but it really only prolongs the process.I get a kick out of it though.I will rake pieces into the bucket and set it upright.If there happen to be any remnants of food left hanging over the edge or on the top rim of the bucket, eagle will happily remove them and snack on them. It is almost as if we are in a race to see who can collect the most leftover pieces of her meal, except she cheats. She steals my collections from the bucket every chance she gets. Once I had collected all the visible discards from last night’s meal, I hosed out the shelter and refilled her bath tub.During the process of filling the bath, eagle jumped onto the hose and decided to attack it like she would a snake (with the exception that she still will not ever touch a snake when we provide it as her meal). There is a reason I only use an extra thick, kink proof hose for cleaning shelters.She has yet to puncture it with her talons even though her actions are merely playful. Eagle will receive ¼ section of an approximately 20lbs carp for her next four meals.
26: Eagle was in a very playful mood today. She jumped down to the ground while I cleaned out the shelter.I bounced her tennis ball three times off the stump where she gets fed.Eagle appeared to want to play along at this point so I kicked the ball to the back of her shelter. She got it by footing it and began walking around with it for the remainder of the time that I was in her shelter. She only ate the top halves of both rats from her meal yesterday. I gave her a medium carp in their place today. Owl seemed very sleepy this morning.I gave him 2 mice this afternoon after he left no food behind from his meal yesterday.
3: Meredith assisted me and Tom in trimming the owl’s and eagle’s beaks and talons. I started by cutting the owl’s talons and then Tom trimmed his beak. Next Tom got eagle on the gauntlet so that I could trim her talons. Once that was done I wrapped the eagle and Meredith held her feet. Tom worked to trim and reshape eagle’s beak. This is not a pleasurable experience for the birds however it is a necessity since they cannot do it on their own in captivity. Yesterday we replaced the heat lamp bulb in the eagle shelter. She had bumped the shade and caused damage to the heating element. The bulb is ceramic and does not produce light. It only emits heat to prevent disruption of the sleep cycle. We use these in all our raptor mews during the winter months. Since it is still cold out we will keep them going for a few weeks. The birds did not eat well on Monday night so Tuesday both eagle and owl fasted. The temperatures are varying this week and the appetites of the birds have been in sync. Owl received one mouse today and eagle got a medium carp.
12: This week the birds were mainly cared for by Carey Ellis since we were away at the State Parks Leadership Conference. The birds ate well some days and half their meals on others. Today Myron, Patoka Security Guard, cared for the birds. He gave the eagle a medium carp. She ate half the tail and a portion of the head of the carp last night. Owl had an entire mouse left but was given two mice again. The birds remained on their perches while the guys cleaned their shelters each day.
16: Eagle has taken two baths this week. It has been considerably warm out compared to the past few. Neither her nor the owl have been eating well so they both fasted yesterday. They were given a regular feeding today. Owl got two mice and eagle was provided a larger medium sized carp.
26: The birds were out for viewing from 10am to 3pm in their viewing mews. Then at 12:30 p.m. I hosted a special program with them on the glove out in front of the shelters. Eagle handled very well and did not bate during the hour long program. Owl however decided to bate. He was less than amused when I got him from his sleeping position on the perch and onto my glove. He bit the glove for a few seconds and then stood upright. He looked for a place to fly a couple times before deciding to bate. He calmed down half way through and remained on the glove for the duration of the program. Both birds have been eating less the past two weeks so they were provided only half their normal consumption amount. Owl got one mouse today and eagle received one rat after the viewing time was over.
9: The birds have been eating well this week. Owl was given two mice today and eagle for a medium bass. The birds were presented during a program at the Renaissance Festival today. It was extremely windy up on the hill above the beach at the baseball field where the program was held. The owl actually blew off the glove and eagle spent more time jumping off the glove into the breeze in an attempt to fly than she spent on the glove. Her instinct to fly was very strong during that program. When we returned back to the Nature Center I weighed them.
Owl was at 4.8 lbs and eagle was at 10.8 lbs. They will be out again tomorrow at the same location for day two of the festival. I really hope the wind decreases by then or the program may have to be cut short. We will seek out a better location for the program at next year’s event.
14: The birds were out for a school group today and did very well on the glove. Neither bird bated but owl almost fell asleep on the gauntlet during their program. While we were busy with the group Meredith trained Ethan on deep cleaning the mews. The night mews were cleaned first and then once the birds were put away the viewing mews were deep cleaned. Meredith taught Ethan and Patty how do to enrichment activities with the eagle. She took a phone book out and helped eagle to foot the book and tear it shreds. They shredded about 1/3 of the front of the phonebook before ending enrichment 30 minutes later. Eagle was given ½ of a carp tail section this afternoon. Owl was given two mice after leaving no trace of food from the night before. Both birds received Vitahawk and eagle also got calcium supplements.
23: Owl took a bath this morning and we observed him getting out of the water when we went in to clean the mews. He has been eating exceptionally well this week and leaving very little if anything behind. He will be given two mice this evening. Eagle on the other hand has been having varied days of eating all that is provided and others of hardly touching her food. Yesterday she was given two small fish and she ate one entire fish but left the other untouched. She was given one small fish today.
30: It has been a fun week full of programs with the birds. On Thursday, Meredith cleaned storm debris out of the eagle shelter after a large tree branch knocked pieces of lattice from the top wall of the mews. While she cleaned up, I walked around the side yard with the eagle. We walked to the start of the Garden Rock Loop hiking trail, over to the Moery Cabin, through the Nature Center back yard and down the bike trail a ways until the shelter was clear of hazards. Eagle took the opportunity to look at her reflection in the windows at the cabin and I got a good laugh at that. I walked her by again so she could see that it was us. She moved her head side to side before taking notice of a turkey vulture swooping down low overhead to land in a tree. Once back in the compound, eagle was weighed and came in at 10 lbs 14 oz. She has been eating a little better over the past week. On Friday both eagle and owl were out for a school group. They both were calm and performed excellently for the kids by remaining on the glove even when the wind was blowing. Eagle loves to attempt flight when the breezes hit her wings just right. She decided to remain on the glove this time and only spread her wings to the wind. Today we had an offsite program at a local pet store. The store was hosting an adoption day and Tom and I were there promoting the idea to leave wild animals wild and that they don’t make good pets. We had the eagle and owl on the gauntlets from 1 – 3:30pm. Both birds did well inside the store with the large crowds that we had gathered around us. They helped to educate over 100 people on the importance of wild animals remaining wild and how to assist a wild animal to proper care if found injured.
7: This has been another busy week for the birds. Thursday was spent in three different programs for North Knox Primary. The birds did well. Eagle got bored being in the building and tried to remove the pins from my uniform. She is very playful when she gets bored and nibbles on things. Otherwise the birds were perfect. On Friday, Ireland Elementary students came to visit the Nature Center and saw the birds outside of their viewing mews. The birds did very well during those programs also. Today the birds were seen by the participants of the Humana 5K held above the beach. The participants enjoyed seeing the birds after their run. The birds had never been to this location on the property and performed very well. They have been eating everything provided during the last four days.
12: Today we went to Otwell Elementary for three programs with the birds of prey. The birds handled nicely even though eagle became bored again indoors and turned to picking at the lead in my hand during the final group. Owl was very sleepy by the third group but did not fall asleep on the glove as he has in the past. Yesterday the birds fasted to prevent eagle from getting car sick however they have been eating all that is provided the past few days. Eagle was given a rabbit today and owl got two mice.
20: Eagle has been eating really well this week. She has left nothing behind from any of her meals until today. She took a bath this morning after we changed the water in her tub. She became territorial over her food with Whitney whenever she fed her two rats this afternoon. Owl has also been eating fairly well.
24: Tom and I traveled to Hardy Lake to check out a non-releasable red-tailed hawk. We hope this bird will be a good fit for our educational team and replace our hawk that passed away in January 2014. I spent about 10 minutes slowly moving around this hawk before getting him up on the gauntlet. I walked around with him for 35 minutes, put him in a transport box and walked him back to his mews. He handled very well for our first encounter. He baited the glove numerous times but I was about to lift him back up. There were several occasions where he stiffened his legs and would not grab hold to get on the gauntlet. After a little coaxing, he got back on the fist and we continued walking. I was very impressed with the progress we made just in that short time together. Once we get everything lined up for the transfer, I plan to bring him home to Patoka. While there we sprayed him for parasites.
27: Whitney and I took the birds to Celestine Elementary for a program with the entire school. The birds did very well during the visit. Once we got back to the lake, we put them in their viewing mews. I decided it was time to trim beaks and talons so we called Tom to assist with the process. I trimmed owls talons first as Tom held him. Then I held him as Ethan held back his facial feathers and Tom trimmed the beak with the Dremmel tool. Next Tom got eagle out of her viewing shelter and I trimmed her talons. She did very well with this process and prefers to have it done while standing on the gauntlet rather than being wrapped up and restrained.
Eagle is not a fan of having her beak trimmed however so we wrapped her for this process. Ethan held her and I directed Whitney to hold her feet. Tom trimmed her beak and while I observed and helped Ethan to hold eagle. He was afraid to hurt her and was not gripping her tightly enough. She got one wing out of his grasp and I had to tuck it back into the wrap. We worked quickly to get this process done and once we did eagle was warm. I put her back in the viewing mews. A short time later I hosted a raptor program at the viewing mews. Both birds did well and had cooled off from their trimming sessions. Whitney was able to capture a few photos from that program. Owl was given two mice around 3:30 p.m. after leaving no trace of his meal last night. Eagle was given two mice as treats directly after her trimming and a medium carp head this afternoon. She had an entire rat left over from yesterday.
2: I drove up to Salem to meet Leslie Grow from Hardy Lake in order to bring the new red-tailed hawk home. The hawk jumped into my transport after we removed Leslie’s training jesses and applied my permanent jesses to his ankles. When we returned to the Nature Center, I spent a little over an hour with him on the glove. He did exceptionally well for this being the second time I have handled him. He only baited twice and that was due to a car coming up to the Nature Center and the second time was when I wiped sweat off my forehead. This hawk has a very significant story. We believe that he is only one year old. He was found in Harrison County on the ground and unable to fly. The bird was picked up by Hardy Lake staff about 10 days after he had been shot. He is believed to have been shot on April 4. He is non-releasable due to a pellet that fractured both his radius and ulna near the elbow region of his right wing.
He also has a pellet in the tip of his left wing and another pellet in his head. The pellets do not affect the overall health of the bird as tissue has already formed around them. The right wing has a significant droop but it does not affect the perching or walking ability of the bird nor does it drag the ground. Since the hawk is immature it does not have the signature red tail. It will develop those feathers during the molt of its second to third year. Here is a picture of our first training session. Notice that his beak is open. It was a warm day but he was also nervous. This made him pant, much like a dog, in order to keep himself cool. Today he was given five mice. Eagle was given two rats after having nothing but bones left over from her carp last night. Owl received one mouse. Owl has not had an appetite the past few days. He is eating half or none of what he is provided. I will continue to monitor this condition but am not worried at this time. I believe it is only temporary and am not concerned about a health issue.
11: Owl’s appetite has been much improved this week. He has been leaving little to nothing behind again. He was weighed on Sunday, June 5 and came in at 4.4 oz on the new digital scale. He has maintained a good temperament all week long. He was seen by three different groups this week. Two group programs were here at the Nature Center and another was held in Indianapolis. Eagle was also weighed on the 5th. She was back down to 10 lbs 8 oz. from 10 lbs 14 oz a few weeks ago. She was also seen by the groups that the owl was displayed for including the trip to Indianapolis. Eagle took a bath on Tuesday after our group program. Tuesday was also the day that we received a huge fish delivery. We have filled both of our freezers and had to haul some of the fish up to Wildlife to store until we have room in ours. Eagle has been exhibiting signs of jealousy now that I have been training with the new hawk. She is becoming more difficult to handle and more vocal. Every time I get the hawk on the glove she screams at me from inside her shelter and jumps to her door when I go to put him away after training sessions. I may have to do a little training with her when I handle the hawk. Hawk has been on the glove every day I’ve worked since we got him. He is improving quite a bit with each session. It went from taking 8 minutes to get him on the gauntlet down to about two. Every once in a while he gets overwhelmed and jumps past me in the shelter. He is very quick to hop around the perches and ladder to get back up to the high wall perch. We have done a little bit of transport training also. He has been eating remarkably well over the last week. He has only left food behind on one occasion. He has been given a rat and ate the top half of that. He has also been given 5 to 6 mice and eats all of those.
13: Eagle is definitely having some jealousy (imprint) issues. On Friday after our offsite in Indianapolis, I put eagle and owl away and spent about 30 minutes with hawk on the glove. Then in Saturday, after the kayak tour, I came back to the Nature Center and handled the hawk for about 20 minutes. I came in this morning to get eagle out for our afternoon school group and she jumped from her ladder to the ground and refused to get onto her perches to get on the glove. I left her and came back one hour later. She jumped to the ground again as I approached with the gauntlet. I left her shelter for a second time and came back 30 minutes later. Again she jumped to the ground and I chased her around attempting to get her to a higher platform. I left for approximately 5 minutes this time since it was only 30 minutes until our groups arrival time and I still needed to eat lunch. I unfortunately had to get her on the glove from the ground but she was not aggressive about her approach. She got on the glove calmly and I walked her to the viewing mews.
I placed her on the wall perch and came back out about 1 hour later with the group. The first group she was on the second ladder rung and I coaxed her to the top. She got on the gauntlet without issues. Then the second portion of the group came through and she jumped to the ground while I was handling the owl. I had to get her from the first ladder rung to the top perch and then was able to get her jesses leashed for the program. Once I put her back thought, she was not pleased. She did spend the entire time during the second group voicing her displeasure with me and kept chattering the entire time I talked. I went back to get her just 10 minutes after the second group left to put her back in the night mews. When I did this, she was already on the ground and she raised her hackles at me. The ones between her shoulder blades raised the highest. It took me about 10 minutes or better to get her onto the stump where I was then able to get ahold of her jesses and walk her back to the night mews. She has never done this before to me and I can only account that it is due to my time being spent with the hawk. We have never had such an imprinted bird here at Patoka before so I am reaching out to other raptor handlers to see what advice they may have to correct this issue. I am doing everything I know to do. I believe it will just take time and effort on my part to retrain her the same way we trained her in the beginning back in 2013- 2014.
20: Dana is looking to the eagle’s vet and Minnesota Raptor Center for advice on the eagles’ actions. In the meantime, training the hawk and repeating training with the eagle will continue. The owl has been eating every bit of food we provide him. His weight has increased to over 5 ounces now and his molting appears to be going well this summer. Come August he will lose all of his head feathers and have what I refer to as his “male pattern baldness.” Hawk has also been eating everything in sight whether it’s chicks, a rat, or mice. He has a healthy appetite. Eagle has been eating about half and half. Some days nothing is left and others she has left most of her food. Tom and I are discussing the possibility that the blood feathers in her damaged right wing could be causing her discomfort. We will look into this more with the vet when we go for a visit next month.
28: Eagle has had a much better temperament this past week. Today, I noticed her talons needed trimmed so Tom handled her while I trimmed them down with a dog nail trimmer. We prefer to keep the birds on the glove to do all minor exams and procedures in order to keep the bird calm and relaxed. She does fairly well with this method. The red-tailed hawk took a bath last night. The water was a complete cloudy, flaky mess this morning. The birds have been eating the same as the week prior.
2: Training with the eagle has been progressing wonderfully. The eagle is responding well to the training. She took 6 pieces of fish from the glove within 45 minutes. She remained on her perch the entire time, never once jumping to the ground as she was doing early on in training.
6: Tom, Whitney and I teamed up to trim all three birds’ beaks and talons today. We also took eagle’s weight. She came in at 10 pounds which is the lowest she has been in a while. All three birds took baths after their trimmings were complete.
10: Tom and I traveled to the Indiana State Fair today for a program at the DNR amphitheater. At 4:30 p.m. the birds were out and on the glove for over 100 people to enjoy despite the severe weather and rain that was moving through the area. Thankfully it only sprinkled slightly while we were on stage and the crowd enjoyed the light cool rainfall on this warm summer day. The birds all performed really well during their time on the glove. The birds fasted tonight since we arrived home after dark. DNR photographer John Maxwell was able to capture several images of eagle on the glove. This is just one of them!
25: The birds have been eating well the past couple weeks. They have had only a few days each that they have left food behind. Owl is currently experiencing the “male pattern baldness” of molting that I discussed earlier this summer. He has not been out for viewing as much and will continue this way until he looks like an owl again!
3: Eagle and hawk both received talon and beak trimmings today. Hawk handled the situation really well and has transitioned smoothly into a life in captivity. Owl received only one mouse today after leaving two mice behind. Hawk ate all his mice and was given five chicks today. Eagle left only the gills and bone from her carp. She was provided a squirrel for dinner tonight.
16: It was a stormy day so we moved the birds into the program room for our morning school group. The hawk did well seeing this room for the first time. He stayed on the glove for both program sessions. The kids loved it when the hawk lifted his tail feathers and sliced on the floor. They really got a kick out of it when the eagle did the same and it splattered half way across the front of the room! Hawk was given six mice for his meal tonight. Owl left nothing behind last night and was provided with 2 mice today. Eagle on the other hand left behind two half rats. She was given a medium carp tail section.
24: The birds all took baths last night after their water was changed out leaving clouded water with waterproofing powder and flakes on the water surface. The eagle and hawk were put on display for viewing this morning until about 3:30p.m. They both handled nicely during an hour long program in the backyard. Hawk received four chicks for his meal today. Eagle was given a medium carp and owl had two mice. Since we only have two viewing shelters and three birds we have to decide who goes out for viewing each time. It is a hard choice and we hope that soon we will have the finances to rebuild the raptor shelters with three mews available for public viewing any hour that the Nature Center is open.
30: The birds have been eating well but will be traveling to Evansville for an early program tomorrow morning. Eagle gets car sick so we determined that all birds would forgo eating tonight. The hawk was weighed and he came in at 2 pounds 6 ounces. This was his first weigh in! He was not alarmed by the perch scale one bit. Tom and I changed jesses on the owl since they were looking a little worn and we trimmed eagle’s talons too. If the birds talons get too long they could end up taloning themselves and causing further issues. Eagle’s talons were long enough that we felt it best to trim them before the program tomorrow.
5: All three birds were out for the school group today. Owl remained in his transport box until I was ready to present him during the program. It ended up raining on us during the first half of the group so we had to bring all the kids indoors. I performed one large raptor program for them with the hawk inside. Once the rain stopped we proceeded outdoors to talk about the eagle and owl. Eagle bated the glove numerous times during the 20 minutes that she was on the glove. After he program she was calm and well-mannered the remainder of the day. Owl received two mice. Hawk had five mice and eagle was provided with a small carp. The birds were given calcium and supplements on their food this afternoon.
11: It has been unseasonably warm and the birds have taken notice. They have been bathing daily for a solid week. Their appetites have also been hardy as well. Owl was given his usual two mice. Hawk received four mice today and eagle was given the mid-section of a carp. The eagle was very hungry and jumped immediately onto the food before I could step away from the tree stump I set it on.
22: The birds have had a busy week. We traveled on Wednesday to the Bedford Library for a Fall Break program. On Thursday evening, Tom and I spent three hours in Columbus for the Bartholomew County REMC Appreciation Dinner. I held eagle for the first hour and 45 minutes while Tom switched back and forth between the owl and hawk. Then we traded birds for the last portion of the evening. Eagle got a little restless on the drive home and was bumping around inside of her transport box. Finally today the birds traveled with us to the Dubois County Museum for an hour long children’s program. Thankfully we didn’t experience any bouts of bird car sickness from any of our feathered friends including the eagle. All three birds were amazing to handle during these programs as we helped to educate over 1,117 people!
25: The birds all had their beaks and talons trimmed today with assistance from Tom and Brian, Wildlife Specialist. This was Brian’s first time assisting me and Tom in the process and he did really well. It is not easy finding people who are not intimidated by such a large bird! The birds have been eating really well lately. Owl was given two mice tonight. Hawk received six mice and eagle was given a carp tail section.