Grebe Acres is NOW Native Bird Care of Sisters, OR
First, I have rebranded from Grebe Acres Wild Bird Care to Native Bird Care of Sisters, Oregon. It was needed...what is a grebe anyway!
To quickly catch up on the summer special visitors, Luna the loon and the killdeer....Luna got released late May successfully at Wickiup Reservoir in the Mountains of Central Oregon. She is still there as her injuries, while we saved her life, likely made her feel less than confident in continuing her migration north and breeding. We hope that next year will find her with babies somewhere where loons go.
We have had 3 killdeer released of our 5 this year. The tiny ones - not so tiny now - have a couple more weeks to go. The killdeer were released at Summer Lake, which is a beautiful wildlife refuge for shore and water birds down in the central part of the state. If you have not gone...and are in Oregon, this place is a phenomenal place to bird. And there is a wonderful lodge, and a lodge with hotsprings nearby, nice!
Killdeer and loons are some of the most stressful birds to rehabilitate. I consider myself lucky to be able to release them healthy and able to go on to reproduce. Many of these birds languish in care, often through no fault of the rehabber. They require specialized care and facilities.
I currently have songbirds as well that will be released soon. It has been a busy season, as usual.
My next posts will be about what it takes to do wild bird rescue and rehabilitation. If you have ever wondered about what we do...well tune in.
Thanks for loving birds!
Here are a couple more pics.
Luna was released at Wickiup Reservoir, Central Oregon. We are lucky to have such incredible habitat to release birds back to. She is safe, tons of fish, and its a nice summer.
Always nervous about waterproofing with these kinds of birds, even if you have floated them on water for several hours or even over night. Luna here is already looking for fish, YES! If she had been breaching (standing up and flapping her wings over and over), that could have been a sign of lack of waterproofing. I could not have caught her again, so it is so very critical to get these birds fully waterproof before release. Giving them pools to stay in is the only real way to do that with confidence. Go Luna!
And here is another pic of the group of 3 killdeer released at Summer Lake. This one is already relaxed and grooming. Lots of bugs and other shorebirds, including killdeer, for them to hang with. Good luck little ones...
Well its been a real Killdeer season this year! Above is Sweetie, a baby raised by Kim F, here in Central Oregon and transferred to me to join my crew. These inland shorebirds come in mainly because they fall into storm drains, their parents are killed on highways, or dog or cat grabs them.
They come in tiny usually, under 6 grams and sized about that of a quarter with legs. They take special settings and care, are easily stressed, and require a lot of attention. IF they survive past a week or few days and are housed and cared for appropriately, they can grow to be released.
These two little ones came in after being found in a storm drain (someone heard the peeping). After not finding either parent, they came to us. The little black specs are flightless fruit flies, one of the many bugs they have to eat. Insects are the main diet for these guys, there is no gaping for a hand-made diet and I have never seen them eat dog food!
Fly larvae, white mealworms, waxworms, and baby crickets are what they need to survive...and A LOT of those. These have to be fed a particular way to avoid calcium deficiencies and other nutritional issues. All of the bugs we rehabbers feed are not nutritionally balanced and must be supplemented in specific ways, otherwise long-term issues will result. Many of these would not be seen before release, but only after. For example, without the right amount of calcium to phosphorus as a juvenile, a bird could grow up to be unable to fully calcify and egg, with that egg potentially breaking inside the bird and killing the bird. Leg and wing fractures also occur once in the while in birds raised with poor nutrition.
As baby birds grow, whether song, shore, or water, they all must be transferred to increasingly larger enclosures that fit their particular needs for feeding, enrichment, safety, and physical development.
Shorebirds require enclosures that protect, but also encourage muscle development in their feet and legs. Thus, these little ones moved into a larger setting, but are still on soft cloth.
After a bit, they all go into a 'shorebird box' or other much larger enclosure that for us in Central Oregon is still inside since our nights can be in the 30s. The box is not a box per se, but a large, wood structure that I can put pea gravel or sand in for their feet and they can run and even take small hopper jumps in. They grow in their for another bit, till finally they have the feathering to stay warm and can go outside in the shorebird aviary.
I had another intake of 3 more Killdeer just a bit older that were able to go out to the aviary sooner than my little ones.
This is the outdoor aviary, which is 12 x 16, and large enough for them to fly. The habitat is set up to allow them to learn to navigate high desert landscapes, which for them is shrubs, dirt, and grasses. They are found in all sorts of habitats, and while shore birds, they do frequent water, they also look for their bugs in other wide open spaces.
You can see the little mound of pea gravel in the center, Killdeer like to see around them, so this gives them an idea of a view. The walls are not completely enclosed so they can see their surroundings.
Anyhooo.....this is Killdeer rehab....Hard, expensive, and very time intensive....but sooo worth it. If you love shorebirds, make sure to support your local shorebird rehab expert, they need it!
I have been enraptured and fascinated by wild birds my whole life. I finally got involved in avian rescue when it became clear that while we need to do all we can to save habitat and ecological systems, for many populations of birds, every single bird matters. And thus, saving them one at a time is increasingly important.
This was no clearer than when I raised 4 long-billed curlews. Three of my patients made it to release. In contrast, there were no surviving fledglings at the end of the season for a researcher studying curlew breeding success on three plots in Oregon and Washington.
The rehabilitation needs of song, shore, and water birds is often underestimated and handling these birds can be tricky; they all require specialized training.
I wanted this blog to be about these birds. To share with the public how interesting, beautiful, and unique they are. And at the same time, I want to share just what it takes to get these birds to a state where they are healthy, have excellent flight ability, and are in a condition safe for release.
There are so many of these phenomenal and beautiful winged jewels on our planet, whom we often take for granted. Most impacts to birds are human related or caused, from windows to habitat loss to climate changes to cat depredation. One third of our bird species in NA are in peril, by 2050 if not sooner it will be 50%. It will truly be a planetary loss as their extinctions continue to increase.
There is so much we can all do. Please enjoy my blog as I write about the birds I get in care, plus others and how we can enjoy their beauty, appreciate their plights, and help them meet their life goals of love, community, happiness, and family.