During this season of giving, consider partnering with RAPTOR Inc. to preserve birds of prey in our local environment. Visit our website at http://raptorinc.org/raptor-support/ .
RAPTOR Inc. Is Going Viral!
We are working to expand our social media presence and we need your help! In addition to our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel, we have added a Flickr group, a Twitter account and an Instagram account. We will also be adding a GoFundMe account and a CrowdRise account in the next few weeks to assist us with fundraising. In today’s tech-savvy business environment, social media is an essential tool to connect with the public and to develop professional relationships. These outlets will allow us to expand our conservation impact and build upon RAPTOR Inc.’s stellar reputation. In accordance with our social media policy, we are hoping our members and volunteers will share our posts, add supportive comments and contribute photographs to make our accounts entertaining and educational. We will share additional information about our social media accounts in future Hackback issues, but for now let’s start with Flickr…
RAPTOR Inc. has our own group and we would love to have you join us! Our goal is to compile a comprehensive collection of high-quality photographs in a centralized location to illustrate the value of raptors in our environment and the contributions RAPTOR Inc. makes toward their conservation. Please consider visiting our group and adding your photographs to help expand our mission and share our story. The website can be accessed at: https://www.flickr.com/groups/raptor_inc/
Connect with our other social media accounts:
An evening with Kate Heyden from Kentucky’s Eagle Tracking Project
Oct. 19, 2015 7 PM
Winton Centre, 10245 Winton Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231
From a joint effort of the Audubon Society and RAPTOR, Kate Heyden, a non-game Avian Biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, will be speaking about the eagle tracking project which started in Kentucky in 2010. Kate has satellite-tracked bald and golden eagles from Kentucky to many other states and Canada. Hear what the biologists are learning from the data collected from these transmitters. You can follow online at http://kyeagletracking.wordpress.com/.
Raptor researcher, Jeff Hays of RAPTOR, has assisted Kate with her tracking project in KY for the past 2 years. See photos below of “Carly” being removed from her nest for banding and affixing the transmitter.
posted October 3, 2015
Inside This Issue…
- Off-site Education Programs Prohibited under ODA Avian Exhibition Ban by Cindy Alverson
- Downtown Peregrine Falcon Soars Again! by Cindy Alverson
- 2015 Admissions
- Upcoming Programs
- Thank You Vets!
- RAPTOR Hosts Fundraiser for Future Expansion, by Alice McCaleb
- A Huge Thanks to our Event Sponsors
- Raptor Ink, by Catherine Adams
- Welcome Back, Jiminy! by Alice McCaleb
- Upcoming Event: An evening with Kate Heyden from Kentucky’s Eagle Tracking Project
- RAPTOR Inc. Gives Osprey a Second Chance
- RAPTOR Inc. Contributions
- 2015 RAPTOR Members Meeting & Picnic
- 2015 Calendar Photos
- Rescue, Rummage, and Raffle
- Time to Re-enroll your Kroger Plus Card
- RAPTOR Wishlist
- Update to RAPTOR Inc. Membership and NEW Benefits
Download your copy of the 2015 Summer HackBack HERE!
The American Kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon. They tend to live in areas with low vegetation and a few isolated perches, often perching on wires or poles. Kestrels are one of the most colorful of all raptors and their plumage distinguishes males from females. A male kestrel has slate blue wing contrasting with its rust red back and tail. Females lack this slate blue and have a barred rusty red wing, black, and tail. People often are amazed to see them hovering in the air waiting for a mouse to make a wrong move. They feed mostly on large insects, but also eat small rodents, bats, lizards, and small snakes. They even hunt small bits and scorpions in areas when food is scarce.
Kestrels nest in cavities such as woodpecker holes. The same nest site may be used in successive years. They will lay 4-6 white eggs with brown spots. The male does most of the hunting and provides food for the incubating female and nestlings.
In recent years, researches have become alarmed by the decline in the kestrel population. Causes of the decline are largely unknown, however, they may include land use, climate change, depredation by Cooper’s Hawks and other birds of prey, competition with for nesting cavities, and environmental contaminants.
The American Kestrel Partnership was formed in 2011 in order to research the kestrel population and coordinate managed nestbox programs. RAPTOR recently joined the program and set up kestrel nestboxes in our area. Volunteer Jake Sberna has built 8 nestboxes to date. One has been installed in the lower property field of RAPTOR Inc. Three have been installed at the Cincinnati Nature Center – Rowe Woods; they can be seen at the Bone Yard, Redwing Trail and Lookout Trail. Nestboxes will also be installed at Long Branch Farm and at a private farm in Batavia. Volunteers will monitor these boxes during breeding season, recording the number of adults nearby, the number of eggs and nestlings, and if other species are using the box. This data will be sent to the American Kestrel Partnership. RAPTOR is excited to be a part of this important conservation initiative. We hope to have active nestboxes in the near future. Stay tuned! Learn more about the American Kestrel Partnership by clicking here.
With a careful toss from skilled hands, the osprey’s journey from near-death to new life began. RAPTOR Inc., Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky’s premier raptor rehabilitation organization, returned the magnificent bird of prey to its natural habitat on Saturday, August 1 at Campbell Lakes, part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County, located in Harrison, Ohio.
The bird was found injured on June 25 by Ranger Shannon, a Great Parks Ranger, and admitted to RAPTOR Inc. for care. The bird sustained trauma from an unknown source which left it grounded, weak and thin, with parasites and a broken toe. During its rehabilitation the bird improved slowly and steadily, until it could fly. Then it began reconditioning in a huge flight enclosure to prepare for its release. The entire rehabilitation process took approximately 5 weeks.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, ospreys are North American raptors uniquely adapted to feed almost exclusively on live fish. They dive feet-first into the top meter of water to catch the fish near the surface. All but the southernmost populations are migratory, traveling annually from Alaska and Canada to Central and South America. They build conspicuous stick nests in open areas over or near water, often on man-made structures like poles, channel markers and platforms built specifically for nesting birds.
Their numbers plummeted between 1950 and 1980, when pesticides like DDT were in common use. Pesticide bans and construction of artificial nest sites have allowed osprey populations to rebound, but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife still considered ospreys rare or absent in Hamilton County until 2012, when ospreys were removed from Ohio’s “threatened species” list.
Ospreys are uncommon admissions to rehabilitation facilities and are exceptionally challenging to successfully rehabilitate. They often refuse to eat in captivity and are prone to self-induced injury. The last osprey admitted by RAPTOR Inc. was in 2012. Fortunately, the Campbell Lakes osprey arrived with a voracious appetite. Dedicated and generous RAPTOR Inc. volunteers and fishermen like Joe Lucas and Zan and Liz Smith provided the bird with a steady supply of local fish, allowing it to gain strength.
Jeff Hays, long-time RAPTOR Inc. volunteer, researcher and licensed bird bander, placed a band on the leg of the osprey prior to its release. The band numbers can be used to collect indispensable information regarding the movement, survival and behavior of North American avian species. Analysis of this information can direct important conservation and management decisions.
posted by Jackie Bray
August 7, 2015
Looking for an opportunity to photograph raptors up close and personal? The RAPTOR Inc. avian ambassadors will be on display for your photography pleasure. These birds are perched outside or handheld as close as 10 – 15 feet away. See the Ohio Valley Camera Club website at http://www.meetup.com/ohio-valley-camera-club/ for details on how to register for this special experience. Preregistration is a MUST as each date is limited to 10 photographers. Available dates are August 8 or 22 and September 5 or 19 at the RAPTOR Inc. facility.
An opportunity to compete in the RAPTOR Inc. annual photography contest is also available. Participants enter photos of the RAPTOR Inc. ambassadors. 13 winning photos will be chosen to be showcased in the 2016 RAPTOR Inc. calendar. Complimentary calendars will be awarded for the winning photos. See http://www.ohiovalleycameraclub.com/raptor for photo entry information.
Thanks for checking to see the locations of RAPTOR Inc.’s public presentations!
Although there is usually a tremendous amount of public presentations to choose from to see our fun and informative educational presentations during the summer and fall, we are temporarily unable to travel off-site! A ban issued from the Ohio Department of Agriculture does not allow for anyone with educational permits for birds to travel away from their facility. This is an attempt on their part to prevent the avian influenza from entering Ohio.
At this time, we do not know when the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s ban will be lifted. For more information, see the information below.
This is a huge impact to RAPTOR Inc. and regret we can share our birds with you at this time. We look forward to the time when we will again be able to travel off-site!
Please check here or on Facebook to see when we will once again be able to share our feathered friends.
Click here to learn about ODA canceling bird shows.
Peregrine Falcons No Longer on Ohio’s Threatened Species List
2014 was the last year that the Cincinnati peregrine falcons from the downtown 4th and Vine building were banded. This is wonderful news because it is due to the success of Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) restoration project! Officially, peregrine falcons left Ohio’s list of threatened species on July 1, 2015 and no longer require specific monitoring.
On a federal level, peregrine falcons were listed as endangered in 1970 as a result of the use of the pesticide DDT. Due to their successful comeback across the country peregrines, were removed from the federal endangered list in 1999.
This year ODNR identified 35 peregrine falcon pairs in Ohio. Last year, 67 young falcons fledged from 30 known Ohio nests. Besides the downtown Cincinnati nest, there is one in Cleves at the Miami Fort Station Power Plant, one in Moscow at the Zimmer Power Plant, and at the Beckjord Power Station in New Richmond. Known to nest on cliffs, these locations offer tall nesting sites with a commanding view.
ODNR will continue to keep a distant eye on the peregrine falcon nests statewide and RAPTOR Inc. will continue to keep them informed of any admission of injured falcons. The live downtown Cincinnati RAPTOR Cam camera operated during their nesting period, approximately April through June, will continue to provide a window into their world. For a video of the last 2014 downtown Cincinnati banding, see https://vimeo.com/99275744.
posted by Cindy Alverson
Inside this Issue…
- Cincy Peregrines Nesting Again! By Cindy Alverson
- 2015 Admissions
- Upcoming Programs
- Thank You Vets!
- RAPTOR Inc. Holds Annual Trustee and Officer Elections, by Marc Alverson
- RAPTOR Inc. Gets Involved with Kestrel Conservation, by Alice McCaleb
- Owl Banding: Once in a Lifetime Experience, by Alice McCaleb
- Mission Moment: Cub Scout Pack 902 Earns Award, By Cindy Alverson
- Introducing our newest barred owl, Spencer!
- Cincinnati Zoo Showcases Endangered Parrots, Protects Native Birds, By Jackie Bray, Kim Klosterman and Erica Locke
- 2015 RAPTOR Inc. Calendar Photos
- Wild About Birds Father’s Day Rummage Sale
- Time to Re-enroll your Kroger Plus Card!
- RAPTOR Wish List
- AmazonSmile and Raptor Inc.
Download your copy of the 2015 Spring HackBack HERE!
Time is drawing near for the hatching of the Peregrine Falcon’s eggs in downtown Cincy! After the last egg is laid, incubation starts and hatching begins approximately 32 – 34 days later. This year, there was unseasonably cold weather and the adults were sitting on the eggs some of the time before the fourth egg was laid on April 2. An approximation would be no earlier than April 28, but some time the end of April and beginning of May. We’ll just have to continue waiting patiently, but time is definitely near!
The great advantage of live bird cams is getting to see the bird’s behavior. In the wild, you just don’t get to see everything up close and personal. A day or two before hatching (pipping) you will begin to see the change in the adult’s behavior. The adults will become more active as they feel the movement of the chick inside the egg trying to peck its way out. It’s hard work for the tiny chick, using its egg tooth chipping away at the shell. They rest between spurts of making progress breaking through the shell. To recap the dates of the egg laying:
1st egg – March 26
2nd egg – March 28
3rd egg- March 31
4th egg – April 2
What’s your guess?
It’s the 2015 nesting season for the downtown Cincinnati Peregrine Falcons! So far 3 eggs have been laid. Thanks to a faithful RAPTOR Inc. follower and photographer, James, the first one was reported on the morning of Match 26th. Peregrine Falcons usually lay eggs ever 2 – 3 days and sure enough, the second egg was laid March 28th, followed by the third egg on the Morning of March 31st, 2015. We’ll have to watch and see if a fourth egg is laid!
The photo above is possibly the female watching over the eggs. Before incubation starts, the female is most often seen standing by the nest, guarding, and often looking out during the day. During incubation, it is the female, who is most often incubating during the day and all of the night. The male does most of the food gathering and incubates the eggs for short periods, so the female can eat away from the nest.
We are guessing that this is the same adult falcon pair as last year. Since we have not seen any leg bands on the falcons, we do not have any history of the adults. The bands have a unique identification number, which could provide information such as the age of the bird or location of banding. The falcons occupying this nest box for the past 2 years have been unbounded, so we will never know if they are the same pair as last year or their history.
Typically, Peregrine Falcons lay their eggs and do not begin incubation till the third or fourth egg is laid. This behavior results in the eggs all hatching within a day or two, and as we noticed last year, the chicks looked about the same size. With the cold snap here in Cincinnati, we noticed the adults sitting on the egg or 2 eggs to prevent them from getting cold. This year, the hatching of the eggs may be spread out over a longer time period. We’ll have to watch and see what happens!
April 1, 2015
A generous donation from an anonymous donor allowed RAPTOR to construct two new flight cages to support our rehabilitation efforts. We have been running short on flight cages, especially for smaller birds, and needed cages that were “mouse-proofed” to support live prey testing. These two new cages, one 10′ x 22′ and the other 10′ x 24′, will primarily support rehabilitation of smaller birds such as screech owls and kestrels, but will also be useful for live prey resting of larger birds.
These new cages numbered 9 and 10 will supplement our existing rehab cages 1 through 8. They are both equipped with double doors and small vestibules to prevent escapes and have the lower portion of the walls lined with slick metal to prevent live mice from escaping. When a bird with questionable hunting skills is being evaluated, or in some cases trained, the bird is weighed and put in the cage along with a number of live mice. The bird must hunt and capture the live mice in order to feed itself. Sometimes the mice are sneaky and hide and sometimes they escape.
The bird under evaluation is weighed daily to ensure it is finding and eating the mice. If a bird loses weight, it either “doesn’t get it” or else has a problem such as poor vision or coordination that prevents it from finding and eating the mice. In either case , the new cage will allow us to evaluate and determine the birds’ ability to successfully hunt.
The construction of the new cages is similar to that of our other cages. with treated lumber and gravel on the floor. Solid panels are used to provide protection and privacy, so birds in one cages cannot see birds in an adjacent cage. Slatted walls allow light and air circulation but prevent escape without risk of feather damage. A combination of slats and wire screening on the roof maintains the cage’s integrity while allowing sunlight and air circulation. The new cages were build by Dan Gallagher Contracting & Remodeling, the same contractor who build our other cages.
The new cages will allow us to support more species simultaneously and will allow us to “live prey test” birds more quickly so that birds can be released as soon as possible. Previously, birds often had to wait for “a turn” in the only other cage suitable for live prey testing. We look forward to using these new cages and wish to thank the donor and volunteers who made this possible.
Inside this issue:
- RAPTOR Adds Two New Flight Cages
- Upcoming Programs
- Board of Trustee Nominations
- Ravenous Raptors
- 2014 Admissions
- Raptor Ink
- Ohio Wildlife Diversity Stamp
- 2015 Calendar Photos
- Crazy Cooper’s Hawk Repaired with Krazy Glue
- A Community Rewards Thank You!
- RAPTOR Wish List
- RAPTOR Inc. Donors
- AmazonSmile and RAPTOR, Inc.
- Want the Hatchback by email
- Thanks to All of the RAPTOR Inc. Volunteers!
Download your copy of the 2015 Winter HackBack HERE!
It’s almost time for nesting season for the Cincinnati Peregrine Falcons! And with that comes the spring cleaning of the nest box on the 4th and Vine building downtown. The biologists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources provide oversight of the nest box as part of the monitoring program of the Peregrine Falcons, and so have been busy cleaning out the box, replacing the gravel, and painting the box.
As biologist Diana Malas, was busy with the maintenance, the adult peregrines were nearby watching.
This is also the time the cameras will need to be reinstalled in a room inside the 4th and Vine building for the live web cam which will become active in the near future for viewing from the RAPTOR Inc. website. The 2 cameras will be positioned for viewing the activity inside the nest box as well as the top of the box where the adults will sometimes sit and preen. Stay tuned…
On Oct. 21st, RAPTOR volunteer Dan Bailey was dispatched to the corner of 6th and Race streets downtown to pick up an injured raptor. Most times we are not quite sure exactly what type of bird it will turn out to be – this time it was an immature Cooper’s Hawk, CH 14-25. These birds are common woodland hawks normally found prowling near a forest edge or possibly near a backyard bird feeder. Apparently the “coop” was able to find a ready supply of smaller birds for his prey in downtown Cincinnati.
CH 14-25 was found to be a bit dazed with five primary feathers on its right side broken off. Primary feathers are feathers that extend from the birds “hand” which are very strong and important for flight. After a week in rehab, the bird was active and energetic
but, with the missing flight feathers, was a poor flyer that would not be able to successfully hunt other birds for food. Unfortunately, the Cooper’s Hawk would not grow replacement feathers until next summer when new feathers grow in as part of the normal yearly feather “molt”. This would require RAPTOR to keep this bird for an extremely long time, and possibly risk further injury or feather damage.
The decision was made to “imp” in new feathers. The imping process was developed by
ancient falconers as a way of repairing broken feathers of their hunting birds. RAPTOR obtained replacement feathers from a dead donor bird of the same species and size. These feathers were then grafted to the stubs of the broken feathers using wood splints and Krazy glue. Each broken feather was matched to a new, perfect feather from the same position on the donor bird. The new feathers were then trimmed so that the overall length of each new feather plus the length of the broken feather’s stub exactly equaled the length of the corresponding unbroken feather.
Splints were made by carefully shaving small bamboo skewers normally used for making kabobs until they just fit into the hollow shafts of the feather stubs on the bird as well as the trimmed ends of the donor feathers. Once he splints were made, the feathers were attached using Krazy glue. The glue set up instantly and holds well. Mind you, the bird was not happy at all during this operation, but neither the bird nor its helpers were injured in the process.
Once all of the new feathers were attached, CH 14-25 was placed in a flight cage for exercise and flight evaluation. After about a week, the new feathers were holding up nicely and our coop was flying like a banshee and ready for release.
RAPTOR normally attempts to release birds near to where they were originally found, since they have their own territories. In this case, CH 14-25 was immature and had not yet established its own territory. We felt that downtown was not the best habitat so CH 14-25 was released at RAPTOR’s facility in Milford. Dan Bailey, the volunteer who originally picked up the bird, did the honors on December 11th.
~By, Cindy Alverson