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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter
November 2016

Celebrating 40 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research
Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing

Editor: Loretta Carlson

Tri-State’s Giant Yard Sale once again generated significant funding to help sustain our important operations,
garnering a net profit of just over $11,000. We are grateful for the support of the more than 1,100 shoppers
who discovered hidden bargains at the Aetna Fire Hall in Newark on October 1 and made this success possible.
Every year, this much-anticipated event succeeds only because
of the help of many hard-working individuals. Special thanks, as
always, go to Julie Bartley and the planning committee
members for their guidance. We also thank all the dedicated
volunteers who accepted donated items at the trailer starting
back in June, set up the hall on September 30, executed a
flawless event on October 1, and cleaned up afterward.
We also want to thank Rich Gaudiosi from Delaware Bay and
River Cooperative, one of Tri-State’s longtime partners. We
needed a last-minute savior to get the trailer from Tri-State to
Staff Photo
the Aetna Fire Hall on September 30. Rich provided a CDL rig
and driver as an “emergency response” to save the day.
Every dollar raised ensures that we can continue our efforts to help save birds’ lives. Mark your calendars now
for the 2017 Yard Sale on October 7.
Newark, Delaware never saw a red carpet event like this before. Tri-State’s annual
Benefit for the Birds, with A Ruby Carpet Tribute to 40 Years & Flying Strong
theme, drew more than 220 friends, volunteers, members, staff, board members,
and corporate supporters at Deerfield.
Guests were treated to a served surf and turf dinner, complimentary coffee tasting
and truffles, and entertainment by the Rolling Thunder Blues Revue. They also
enjoyed an evening of fun activities, including the always-fabulous Silent
HAWKtion, 250 Raffle, Big Card Draw, Wine
Bottle Ring Toss, and a Hollywood-style stepand-repeat photo area complete with

Executive Director Lisa Smith presents
the OWL Award to Phung Luu.

Volunteer Becky Hargrove and her
husband John walk the Ruby

As part of the celebration, we also recognized
four individuals for their outstanding service
to Tri-State and the birds. Danene Birtell, oil programs manager,
presented the Corporate Wildlife Stewardship Award to Richard Davi from
ExxonMobil. Lisa Smith, executive director, presented the Outstanding
Wildlife Leadership (OWL) Award to Phung Luu of Animal Behavior and
Conservation Connections. Tri-State clinic director emeritus

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research


Dr. Sallie Welte presented the Lynne Frink Award to Patricia and Charles Robertson.
Tri-State would like to extend its thanks to the planning committee, our
generous corporate partners, enthusiastic guests, and so many friends
who helped make our 40th Anniversary of saving birds’ lives one for the
ages. This support means so much for the realization of Tri-State’s
ongoing efforts to make a difference, one bird at a time. Information on
the 2017 Benefit for the Birds will follow in upcoming issues of The
Monthly Flyer.

Guests enjoy the anniversary video.

We also extend special thanks to photographers Thomas Hedrich and
D.C. Cebula for helping us preserve so many wonderful memories from
our anniversary benefit.

Although the 2016 Baby Bird Season seemed to go on forever, it at last
came to a close on September 27 with the release of our final baby bird.
The nestling Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived at the Tri-State clinic
on September 3 after a member of a maintenance crew found the tiny
bird on the sidewalk in Bethany Beach. Fortunately, the young male was
uninjured, and he quickly began hand-feeding nectar. On September 4,
we transferred him to the care of Mary Birney, a volunteer who
specializes in hummingbirds. She raised the youngster until he was
flying well and strong enough to tackle his arduous migration journey.
Photo by Annie Gallagher
We extend our sincere gratitude to Mary and to all volunteers who
came in week after week, doing the many tasks required to keep the
clinic up and running throughout the busy summer. Your dedication helped make it possible for this
hummingbird—and many other babies like him—to return to the wild. Thank you!
At this time of year, many of our patients are migrating species that have sustained
impact injuries. Such was the case for Broad-winged Hawk 16-2608. Admitted on
September 11, the juvenile raptor was hit by a car in Coatesville on September 10. In
addition to a corneal abrasion of the right eye and wounds on its keel, the bird had
blood in its nares and glottis and on its feet. After giving it time to recuperate in the
oxygen chamber overnight, we flushed its injured eye and cleaned and sutured the
keel wound on September 12. Within a couple of days, the hawk was alert, selffeeding, and perching. However, we were concerned that the keel and cornea injuries
would not resolve in time for the hawk to rejoin other migrating broad wings.
Staff Photo
Fortunately, by September 24, the keel was stable, allowing us to remove the sutures,
and its eye was slowly improving. On October 5, we moved the hawk outside for a few days to practice its
flight skills and build up its stamina. With its weight stabilized, its injuries resolved, its feet and feathers in
good condition, and a successful live-test completed, we released this Broad-winged Hawk at Tri-State on
October 11 in time for it to resume its migration journey.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, during spring and fall migration, significant numbers of Swainson’s
Thrushes die from collisions with windows, radio and cell-phone towers, and tall buildings. Fortunately, the
Swainson’s Thrush that came to us on September 25 after striking the window of a home in Chadds Ford had
a happier fate. The bird sustained a keel fracture and a right coracoid fracture as well as bruising on its left
side and left ear. We administered pain medications and prescribed cage rest for this high-stress juvenile,
keeping a close eye on its progress. Over the next few days, we observed the thrush perching and self-feeding
fruit, crickets, and mealworms. Although its weight and body condition were good, the young thrush continued
to exhibit signs of stress, dropping its tail feathers. By October 3, with the fractures stabilized and the bruising
resolved, we moved the thrush to a playpen with a bath pan to further decrease its stress and help protect its
feathers. Once it began attempting flight in this enclosure, we moved the young bird outside. With the tail

Monthly Flyer, November 2016


feathers growing in and the thrush demonstrating excellent flight and lift, we released it onsite at Tri-State on
October 11. Learn more about the Swainson’s Thrush in this month’s Featured Bird article.
On October 7, we admitted a bird not often seen in our clinic: a Common Gallinule.
Typically a bird that frequents marshlands, this adult was found pressed against a
drainpipe near a retention pond in a Wilmington parking lot. Although radiographs
revealed no fractures, and its feet, waterproofing, and overall body condition were good,
the gallinule was subdued on admission. In an effort to reduce its stress, we moved the
bird outside, and it soon began taking short flights, although it tired easily. With pain
medications to ease the way, its flight skills and stamina gradually improved. A few days
later, the gallinule was flying well and reaching high perches. On October 12, volunteers
Jim and Sue McVoy released the bird to a suitable marshland habitat.
Autumn is also the season for warblers. Among our recent warbler patients was a
Staff Photo
Blackpoll Warbler that came to us on October 13 after hitting a window in Newark.
Although the adult was subdued, careful examination revealed the bird had sustained
no injuries. After receiving pain medication and resting quietly for a few hours, the Blackpoll was alert and
active. During a test flight in a large playpen, the warbler sustained a hovering flight, convincing us it was
ready for release that same day.
In October, we also released a Bald Eagle, a Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Screech Owls, a Black Vulture, a
Mallard, a Great Egret, a Great Blue Heron, a Herring Gull, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, a
Northern Flicker, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an Eastern Phoebe, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Gray Catbird, a
Carolina Wren, House Finches, Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, and a Dark-eyed Junco.
15 years: Erika Schirm 13 years: Terri Shankie 7 years: Joanne Stickle
The recent plunge to near-freezing temperatures reminded us that winter weather will soon be here to stay.
When the snow and ice fly, our scheduled volunteers are sometimes unable to come in for shifts. But our
patients still need care. So if you own a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle and are willing to come in on short
notice in bad weather, please contact Julie at (302) 737-9543, extension 102, or
Thank you!
As our newest wildlife response specialist, Eli (pronounced Ellie) Silva is following her passion to learn as much
as she can about wildlife and the environment. After researching numerous rehabilitation centers, she jumped
at the opportunity to apply her field experience and research skills to work with oiled wildlife at Tri-State.
Eli earned a bachelor of arts honors degree in environmental studies from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg,
Florida. She also completed a double minor in coastal management and Chinese. Through a grant program
sponsored by the Luce Foundation, Eli traveled to China, where she and another Eckerd student studied the
effects on the local fishing industry of a reserve established to protect the
lancelet, a small anchovy-like fish. In Florida, Eli conducted field and lab research
on shorebirds and dolphins and completed an internship with Defenders of
Her duties as an Oil Programs staffer include contributing to the development of
oiled wildlife response protocols; assisting with research and preparedness for
contingency plans; assisting with preparedness for oil spill response readiness,
training, and workshops; maintaining permits; and providing information to the
Photo by Eva Wixon

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research


Of her earliest experiences at Tri-State, Eli says, “Recently we had a small spill in Milltown, New Jersey, where
we picked up one goose. That was my first oil spill, and it was very rewarding to be a part of that team.” She
has also enjoyed working in the clinic. “I hope to be able to continue shadowing Rosann [Ferraro] and learning
about the BCA program.”
Eli says her favorite birds are penguins, and she loves watching movies, traveling, and looking at pictures of
dogs. Born in Venezuela, Eli would love to help staff and volunteers practice their Spanish. She says she’s
looking forward to getting to know everyone at Tri-State. “If you see me walking around, say hello!”
A medium-sized thrush of the forest, the Swainson’s Thrush was named for the nineteenth-century British
ornithologist William Swainson. Persistent birders can sometimes spot this shy but vocal thrush by following
the sound of its upward-spiraling, flutelike song. During fall and spring when this species migrates at night, its
soft, bell-like “peeps” are sometimes mistaken for the calls of frogs.
The Swainson’s Thrush is 7 inches long with predominantly olivebrown upperparts and whitish-gray underparts. It has a prominent eye
ring, a black bill, and pink legs and feet. Although it has less spotting
than the more familiar Wood Thrush, the Swainson’s Thrush does have
small brown spots on its throat and breast.
While it sometimes forages on the ground and catches insects in the
air, this thrush prefers to eat while remaining hidden in trees. It eats
insects, snails, and earthworms for much of the year, but adds fruits
and berries to its diet during fall migration.
Photo by Hank Davis

Forming monogamous pairs, the Swainson’s Thrush begins courtship
with the male chasing the female. The pair progresses to slow flights, until they finally perch together to seal
the pair bond. The female incubates three to five eggs in a compact cup nest constructed of plant materials.
Once the young hatch, both parents feed the young until they leave the nest at ten to thirteen days old.
The Swainson’s Thrush is a common species, but it has been gradually declining across its range, experiencing
a loss of about 38 percent between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.
This neotropical migrant is vulnerable to habitat loss from logging and deforestation on its breeding and
wintering grounds. Learn more about the Swainson’s Thrush at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds
Web site,, as well as in Birds of North America, published by the Smithsonian
Institution, or your own favorite birding book.
Keep an eye on your mailbox in late November for the Wing & A Prayer appeal. This annual fund-raiser will
feature beautiful hand-painted bird ornaments showcasing three familiar species, our Adopt-A-Bird plush birds
for that special someone, and the 2017 Tri-State calendar of stunning bird photos. You can purchase these
unique gifts for family and friends for the holidays by mailing back the response form or going online at the
Tri-State website to order.
We also will have volunteer-made crafts in the lobby for the holiday gift-giving, including fleece throws,
holiday cards, and paper-quilled ornaments.
The holiday season will be here before we know it. Below are clinic hours for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and
New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, we are open from 9 to 5 as usual.
Thanksgiving Day: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Christmas Day: Open to the public from 8 to 10 a.m. Morning shift: 8 to 10 a.m. Afternoon shift: 3 to 5 p.m.
New Year’s Eve: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monthly Flyer, November 2016


2017 Information Sessions. Do you have friends or family members who think they may be interested in
volunteering for Tri-State, but who are afraid that this may not be the right choice for them? We have the
perfect solution: a one-hour Information Session that gives prospective volunteers a good overview of our
operations and expectations. All those interested in volunteering at Tri-State must attend one Information
Session before they can register for a bird-care workshop.
February: Saturday, February 25, 11 a.m.
March: Saturdays, March 4, 11, and 18, 11 a.m.; and Thursday, March 23, 6 p.m.
Adult Bird Care Workshop. April 1, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Open House. Sunday, May 7, 2017. It’s not too early to start thinking about the 2017 Open House. As
usual, we’ll have the Frink Center and Wildlife Response Annex open for tours. Stop by and see Duke Doblick
in the Development office or call him at (302) 737-9543, extension 108, to learn how you can help us plan this
important community event.