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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter

April 2017

Celebrating 41 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research

Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing Editor: Loretta Carlson

Join the staff and your fellow volunteers on April 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Wildlife Response Annex as we
honor all you do for Tri-State throughout the year. The day will include a tasty lunch and sweets, a fabulous
free-flight bird show by Phung Luu, and the presentation of the coveted volunteer awards. Please RSVP no
later than April 1 to Julie at or (302) 737-9543, extension 102. We need an accurate
count for the food and drinks so not a single valued volunteer goes hungry. We hope to see you on April 9.

Now that spring has arrived, we know it’s only a matter of time before the first goslings, ducklings, finches,
and wrens find their way to our clinic. Our goal always is to return healthy youngsters to their parents.
However, some of our patients will be healthy orphans. With your help, we can place these youngsters with
wild foster families whose nests are located in suitably safe locations. Contact clinic supervisor Jessica Hicken
( if you know of good foster family candidates for goslings, ducklings, or songbirds—
especially species that nest in boxes. If you know where we can find a good owl or hawk family, contact clinic
supervisor Aimee Federer (

Young Canada Geese meet foster family. Staff Photo
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Are you looking for another way to help Tri-State care for the thousands of baby birds that will come into our
clinic this summer? Have we got a job for you! We need a volunteer to help us make FNS, the special diet we
prepare for our youngest patients. We supply the ingredients and the containers; you supply the time and the
love. Contact Julie Bartley at or (302) 737-9543, extension 102, if you can help.

On January 31, an immature American Kestrel came to Tri-State after
she hit the window of a home in Oxford, Pennsylvania. She was quiet
and depressed on admission, with obvious head and eye trauma and
open-mouth breathing. We placed her in an oxygen chamber to
alleviate the respiratory distress and later administered pain and eye
medications. The next day, she was alert and standing, and she had
eaten the food we left for her overnight. Radiographs revealed that
she had sustained a left coracoid fracture, but our vet determined the
injury required only cage rest to heal. Over the next two weeks, with
a hidebox to reduce her stress, the kestrel ate well, and the head,
eye, and wing injuries resolved. On February 22, we moved her
outside, and she immediately flew around the enclosure. The next
day we observed her sitting on high perches and flying circles in the
cage. After another week of flight exercise to build her stamina, the Staff Photo
American Kestrel was ready for banding and release. We thank
volunteer Kathy Wiwel, who transported the kestrel in January and then released her back in the area where
she was found on March 1.
Another impact victim, a second-year Eastern Screech Owl, came to us on February 26 after it apparently hit a
door or window at the Post Office in Georgetown, Delaware. Thin and quiet on admission, the owl had
sustained an injury to its right eye, but no orthopedic injuries. In addition to administering pain medication, we
treated the bird for parasites and offered it a hidebox. We took the owl outside for a test flight on March 1 to
assess its readiness to be in a larger enclosure. Although it flew to a low stump, the owl’s flight signaled it was
not yet well enough to be outside. After three more days inside, the owl gained weight and strength, allowing
it to perch normally. This time when we test flew the raptor outside, it passed with flying colors and was soon
self-feeding mice and accessing high perches. Once its eye injury healed, we moved the owl to a larger flight
cage on March 9. By March 12, its flight was strong and silent, and we observed it flying quickly and accurately
into the hole of its hidebox. After a few more days honing its flight and hunting skills, the owl was ready for
release on March 17. Volunteer Maryanne Yingst released the screech owl back in the area where it was
Tri-State volunteer Sharyn Fagone transported an adult Red-
tailed Hawk from Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, to our clinic
on January 30. The hawk was stressed but alert on arrival.
Although debilitated and neurologic with bruises and abrasions
on its feet, the hawk had no orthopedic injuries. We sent out
blood samples for analysis and started the hawk on chelation
therapy when results revealed elevated levels of lead. The Red
Tail’s recovery was slow but steady, and it was eating well and
gaining weight. We moved the bird outside on February 15, and
clinic volunteers and staff observed it perching on high perches.
After two weeks in the smaller cage, we moved the hawk to a
flight cage. Its flight was awkward and labored, however, and
Staff Photo
when follow-up blood work indicated the hawk still had elevated
lead levels, we resumed chelation therapy and moved it back to a smaller cage to give it more time to recover
and regain its strength. A week later, on March 15, the hawk’s condition was much improved, and this time
when we released it into the larger cage, it readily flew around the enclosure. After a week in the flight cage
Monthly Flyer, April 2017 3

to ensure its injuries were all resolved and it could sustain strong flight, we cleared this Red-tailed Hawk for
release. Volunteer Dennis Davis took the raptor back to the area where it was found in Sudlersville and
released it on March 22.
We’re always happy to have quick-turnaround patients. A Carolina Chickadee that came to us on March 5
required only a night of supportive care before it was ready for release. A Thornton, Pennsylvania, homeowner
found the chickadee outside his property, and when the bird did not seem to recover, he brought it to our
clinic. The adult songbird was in good overall condition and was already recovering its spirits by the time it
arrived. After a dose of pain medication and a night of quiet rest, the chickadee was perching, active, and
eager to escape our care by the next morning. It had eaten seed overnight, and its feathers and feet were
both in good condition. We released the Carolina Chickadee on March 6.

In March, we also released a Bald Eagle, a Cooper’s Hawk, a Canada Goose, a Mallard, a Fox Sparrow, a
Northern Mockingbird, an American Goldfinch, a House Finch, Northern Cardinals, and American Robins.

Smaller and less common in our area than the White-breasted Nuthatch, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is an
energetic bird that seems to be undisturbed by the presence of humans, although it can be aggressive toward
other birds. Its body is plump and compact—the effect accentuated by its very short neck. It has a long
pointed bill and a short blue-gray tail. In addition to the smaller size, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is easily
distinguished from its cousins by the black eye line, its white eyebrow, and cinnamon-colored underparts. In
fact, this species is the only North American nuthatch that has both an eye stripe and cinnamon coloring on its
Moving up, down, and sideways in its search for
food, the Red-breasted Nuthatch probes crevices P
in tree trunks and bark and then uses its bill to h
break shells or exoskeletons. During the summer, o
it favors a variety of insects and feeds insects to o
its young. During the fall and winter, it subsists on
seeds and nuts. Nuthatches can also be enticed to b
backyard feeders with peanuts, sunflower seeds, y
and suet. s
Forming monogamous pairs, the Red-breasted n
Nuthatch has one brood of four to seven young a d
year. It is one of the few non-woodpecker species e
that excavates its own nest cavity in solid wood, r
and it can take up to eighteen days for the parents s
to complete the site. The female uses grass, bark /
Photo by Bill Hardie
strips, and pine needles to build the nest and lines o
it with fur, feathers, and plant materials. Red-breasted Nuthatches are also known to safeguard their nests by o
applying resin directly outside and inside the nest entrance. The female incubates the eggs for twelve days, n
and the young fledge when they are fourteen to twenty-one days old. b
Traditionally birds of coniferous forests in the north woods, eastern populations of Red-breasted Nuthatches a
have recently begun expanding their territory south. Learn more about the Red-breasted Nuthatch at the m
Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds Web site, See also Birds of North America, u
published by the Smithsonian Institution, or your own favorite birding book. b
Next month, we will once again welcome members, donors, friends, s
colleagues, and the community, as well as staff and volunteers, to Tri-State’s h
annual Open House. The presenting sponsor is WSFS Bank. We’ll have the n
Frink Center for Wildlife and the Wildlife Response Annex available for self- g
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guided tours. Our “What Is Your Wingspan?” banner will be displayed on the second floor deck, and Phung
Luu and his trained birds will return with another fun-filled and educational show.
The Open House planning committee could use your help, input, and new ideas to grow this family-friendly
day. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the breakout area on the second floor of the
Frink Center. On Wednesday, May 3, starting at 2 p.m., we can use help stuffing the 400 Open House goodie
bags. Stop by and see Duke Doblick in the development office or call him at (302) 737-9543, extension 108, to
help with bag stuffing or to volunteer for May 7 to help run this important community event.

33 years: Sherry Grizzel 26 years: Jay Baumgardner 23 years: Vera Lee Rao 20 years: Linda Mullin
7 years: Paulette Derkach, Karen Dibble, Michael Gaul, and Carol Loveless
A huge thank you to all the volunteers who worked in the clinic, transported birds, and helped keep the
grounds and outside cages safe throughout the winter of 2016/2017. You made sure the birds received the
best care, even when conditions weren’t the best. Thank you!

Information Sessions and Adult Bird Care Workshops. Do you have friends or family members who
think they may be interested in volunteering for Tri-State, but who are concerned 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.
Spring Information Sessions: April 15, 22, and 29. All sessions will take place on Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Adult Bird Care Workshop: Saturday, May 13, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, Sunday, April 9, 1 to 4 p.m. See
the article above for details. We’re looking forward to celebrating with you!
Open House. Sunday, May 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. See article above for
more details.
Yard Sale, Saturday, October 7, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our annual fundraiser
for the birds will once again take place at the Aetna Fire Hall in Newark. Stay
tuned for more details in the coming months.
Benefit for the Birds, Friday, November 10, 6 to 11 p.m. We are Phung Luu will be at Tri-State for the
Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
returning to Deerfield in Newark in 2017. Deerfield is across Paper Mill on April 9 with a free-flight bird show
Road, just over one mile from the Tri-State turn at Possum Hollow Road. and for the Open House on May 7.
We will share more details about this important event in upcoming issues of Photo by Russ Carlson
The Monthly Flyer.