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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter
December 2016

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

Editor: Loretta Carlson

For the seventh year in a row, Tri-State is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Delaware. From
December 1 through 19, we will collect food for distribution in our community through hunger relief agencies
such as food pantries, soup kitchens, daycare centers, senior centers, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and
faith-based organizations. Items in demand include canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned meats and tuna,
soups, stew and chili, peanut butter, cereal, pasta, and rice. Holiday items that would be greatly appreciated
include canned sweet potatoes, canned gravy, canned cranberry sauce, and stuffing mix. The Food Bank also
accepts donations of pet food. Collection bins are in the Tri-State lobby. Please open your hearts and share
your bounty with our neighbors in need by cleaning out your pantries at home or by shopping for items
urgently needed during this holiday season. For more information on the Food Bank of Delaware, go to
Tri-State’s Wing & A Prayer appeal is in full swing and features hand-painted
bird ornaments showcasing three familiar species, Adopt-A-Bird plush birds,
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. Ornaments
and calendars are also available in the lobby at Tri-State.
Please also consider purchasing volunteer-made crafts for your holiday gift
giving. Items include fleece throws, holiday cards, and paper-quilled
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the holiday season is far from ended. Below are clinic hours for
Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, we are open from 9 to 5 as usual.
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.
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!

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

The ocean was no match for a tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl plucked
from the waters off Fenwick Island on November 7. On admission, the
alert and feisty juvenile was in good overall condition and had no
obvious injuries. Radiographs confirmed our initial findings. We treated
the owl for parasites and administered pain medication, then prescribed
a night of quiet rest in the clinic. By the next day, the bird was selffeeding and flying well. We banded it and released the Saw-whet at
Tri-State on November 8.


Staff Photo

We’ve recently admitted and released several kinglets—both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned individuals.
On November 8, a Golden-crowned Kinglet came to us after hitting a window in Newark. The adult female was
alert but she was neurologic and laboring to breathe and had bruises on her head. We administered pain
medication and prescribed supportive care for this high-stress patient. By the next morning, she was flying in
her basket and had eaten everything on her songbird plate overnight. We released her at Tri-State and
watched as she immediately flew to a nearby tree to preen and glean water off pine needles. Learn more
about the Golden-crowned Kinglet in this month’s Featured Bird article.
Autumn can be the season for us to admit unusual species,
and we’ve had our share this year. On November 12, the
Raptor Trust in New Jersey transferred a Leach’s StormPetrel to our care. This small dark seabird was rescued off
the shore of Long Island City in New York. It had some
type of oily contaminant on its primaries and tail feathers
and was depressed, thin, and dehydrated. Radiographs
revealed no orthopedic injuries. Our initial concern was to
stabilize the bird and avoid further contaminating its
feathers before washing it. Consequently, we hand-fed the
bird rather than encourage self-feeding and allowed the
bird to take only short, supervised swims in shallow warm
water. Meals of krill and silversides enticed the petrel to
Danene Birtell releases Leach’s Storm-Petrel
eat, and it gained some much-needed weight. With its
from Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Staff Photo
condition stable, we washed the petrel for the first time on
November 16 and then gradually transitioned it from warm to cold water. Although the seabird began
preening and swimming more, it required a second wash on November 18. Soon after the second washing, the
bird began preening and eagerly swimming and eating. With its weight stable and its waterproofing completely
restored, we banded the bird, and Oil Programs Manager Danene Birtell released the petrel on November 19
from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
In November, we also released a Bald Eagle, a Pied-billed Grebe, Swainson’s Thrushes, a Northern Flicker, a
White-throated Sparrow, and a Gray Catbird.
At four inches long, the Golden-crowned Kinglet is smaller than a chickadee, but larger than a hummingbird.
On their large round heads, males have orange patches surrounded by black, while females and juveniles have
yellow patches. All have olive-green upperparts, buffy underparts, and black- and yellow-edged flight feathers.
Active and in perpetual motion in the upper canopy of trees, this somewhat tame bird can be difficult to spot
and even harder to view for more than a few seconds at a time. The best way to locate a Golden-crowned
Kinglet is by listening for its song, which consists of three or four high-pitched tsee, tsee, tsee notes followed
by a rapid trill.

Monthly Flyer, December 2016


The kinglet’s short, thin bill is perfect for its preferred diet, which consists
primarily of a variety of insects. It gleans grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders from
leaves, bark, and branches and “hawks” to catch flying insects midair. During the
winter, this bird adds small seeds to its diet.
The Golden-crowned Kinglet forms monogamous pairs and usually raises two
large broods of young, despite the short nesting season on its breeding grounds
in the northern boreal forest. The male establishes a territory and chases male
intruders, while giving rapid-fire tsee notes and flaring his crown patch. Both
Photo by Hank Davis
parents build the nest, which is so small that the female lays her five to eleven
eggs in layers. She incubates the eggs for fourteen days and feeds her first brood
until the young fledge at fourteen to nineteen days old. She then starts laying the second set of eggs while the
male takes care of the first brood. Males drive off other males all throughout the nesting period, but kinglets
become more social during migration and on their winter grounds. In our area, we could see them with other
small songbirds such as Downy Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, and Red-breasted Nuthatches.
Those of us who live in areas where kinglets winter can look for them in shrubs and deciduous trees or even
foraging in brush piles in our backyards. Learn more about the Golden-crowned Kinglet 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.
As 2016 comes to a close, this seems like the perfect time for some year-end reminders:

Please leave your cell phone in the volunteer office and do not use your cell phones anywhere but in the
volunteer office, out front, or in the upper lot.

If you have any problems using Volgistics, don’t hesitate to ask Julie Bartley for help.

Don’t forget to add your photograph to your Volgistics profile. It’s always nice to be able to put names
and faces together!

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.