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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter

November 2017

Celebrating 41 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research

Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing Editor: Loretta Carlson

A resounding success once again, this year’s Giant Yard Sale garnered a gross profit of just over $12,000 for
Tri-State operations. We are grateful for the outstanding support of community members who donated items
and the hundreds of shoppers who searched for bargains at the Aetna Fire Hall in Newark on October 7.
Of course, this event would not be
possible without the help of many hard-
working volunteers. Special thanks, as
always, go to Julie Bartley and the
planning committee members for their
guidance. We also thank all the
dedicated volunteers who braved
summer’s heat to accept donated items
in the trailer, who helped set up the
hall on October 6, who manned the
tables and greeted the shoppers on
October 7, and who cleaned up
Every dollar raised ensures that we can
continue our efforts to help save birds’
lives. Mark your calendars now for the
2018 Yard Sale on October 6.
Staff Photo

You still have time to purchase your tickets for Tri-State’s annual Benefit for the Birds, which this year will take
place on Friday, November 10, from 6 to 10 p.m. We hope you will join us for this “Footloose and Fancy Free”
event at Deerfield on Thompson Station Road, just a
short ride from Tri-State.
The “Fancy Free” part of this year’s theme means you
can leave the black tie at home. This year’s benefit is
more casual, so wear your favorite party clothes and be
prepared to dance.
Your admission will include a fabulous buffet dinner and
desserts, hors d’oeuvres, open bar, and entertainment by
Amber Rae and the Swinging Foxes with social dance
instruction by the University of Delaware Swing Club. As
always, you will have a chance to bid on one-of-a-kind
Silent ‘Hawk’tion items, buy chances on the Big Card
Draw to win tickets to Philadelphia sporting events,
Photo by Hank Davis
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purchase “250 Raffle” tickets, and more.
You don’t need an invitation to attend. Get your tickets online now at You may
also purchase tickets by sending an e-mail to Rebecca Stansell at or by calling
(302) 737-9543, extension 110. Remember: Leave the black tie at home and get ready to join us for an
informal evening of friends and food in support of helping wildlife in need.

We happily released another long-term patient. Bald Eagle 17-2247 had been in our care since July 24. A
transfer from Owl Moon Raptor Center in Maryland, the adult male was neurologic and debilitated, with an old
hip luxation and extensive feather damage. After receiving pain medication and being allowed to rest quietly
overnight, the eagle began self-feeding the next day. We cleaned its feathers and soon observed the eagle
perching in its enclosure. By July 30, it had gained weight and its body condition was much improved, but it
had lost significant flight muscle. We moved the eagle into a flight cage and monitored its condition and flight
skills over the next month. By the end of August, new good-quality feathers were growing in, and the eagle
was attempting flight, although its lift was still suspect. With another month’s flight exercise, the bird’s stamina
and lift gradually improved, and we observed it on high perches. In early October, we observed the eagle
flying the length of its cage. With its flight skills, stamina, and feather condition all good, we banded the Bald
Eagle and released it on Tri-State’s grounds on October 12.
During the fall, many warblers get into trouble during their migration south, with impact injuries a common
issue. On October 12, we admitted an adult Northern Parula that hit a window in Dover. On admission, the
adult warbler was alert, but its eyes were swollen. We administered pain medication and rinsed the eyes. By
the next day, the parula was self-feeding mealworms and fruit, and it was active and attempting flight,
although it tired easily. With two more days of rest and a steady diet of invertebrates and fruit, the parula
gradually regained its strength, and we moved it into a screened cage for flight exercise. Once it was flying
well, its stamina improved, and the eye swelling resolved, we released the Northern Parula on Tri-State
grounds on October 16.
It’s not uncommon for people to tell us
they’ve found an injured raven. Invariably,
they bring in an injured crow. We expected
the same outcome when a gentleman called
us from Eddystone, Pennsylvania, asking if
we would accept an injured raven. Before
the front desk person could say anything
about crows versus ravens, he identified
himself as an ornithologist who had been
observing a pair of ravens in that area for
some time. Sure enough, on September 20,
Tri-State admitted a Common Raven. This
massive corvid, equal in size to a Red-tailed
Hawk, required the same careful handling
we use around raptors. The adult was thin
and quiet and exhibited mild respiratory
Staff Photo distress, necessitating some time in an
oxygen chamber. Radiographs revealed
densities that could have been flecks of metal. When the lead screening panel indicated mild lead poisoning,
we began chelation therapy. By September 26, the raven was perching, eating well, and strong enough to
move outside, We provided an enriched environment, including hollowed-out pumpkins with food hidden
inside and a variety of toys that we moved around, to keep this highly intelligent bird engaged and active as it
continued its rehabilitation. Gradually the raven gained weight and began taking short flights. Once it moved
into a flight cage, the raven began taking stronger, controlled flights. On October 18, Tri-State staffers met the
presenter in Eddystone, and we released the Common Raven back to its territory. Learn more about the
fascinating Common Raven in this month’s Featured Bird article.
Monthly Flyer, November 2017 3

The hazards of discarded fishing line and fishing hooks are all too apparent to wildlife rehabilitators. On
September 29, we admitted a Great Black-backed Gull from Cape Henlopen State Park with a hook embedded
in its esophagus and fishing line coming out of its mouth. The juvenile gull was alert but thin and required
surgery to remove the hook and about 3 inches of fishing line. Fortunately, the gull sustained no major
damage. By the next day, the youngster was eating well and enjoying its time in the hydrotherapy tub. As the
gull gained weight and its injuries healed, we moved it outside. At first reluctant to go into the pool, the gull
began enthusiastically swimming and preening by October 5. We observed the gull outside for another week
to ensure its wounds healed properly, its waterproofing was good, and it was flying well. On October 11,
volunteers Tom Jones and Becca Snow joined forces to return the Great Black-backed Gull, with Tom driving
the bird to Dover and Becca releasing it at Cape Henlopen State Park

In October, we also released a Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Horned Owls, a Black Vulture, a Turkey Vulture, a
Herring Gull, a Pied-billed Grebe, a Cedar Waxwing, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, a
Swamp Sparrow, a White-throated Sparrow, American Goldfinches, House Finches, a Northern Mockingbird, a
Gray Catbird, and Mourning Doves

The Common Raven has long captured our imagination, appearing in fairy tales, uttering the unforgettable
“nevermore” in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, and serving as a revered totem and spirit to Native Americans.
Considered among the most intelligent of birds, ravens can solve novel and complex problems. According to All
About Birds, ravens can also determine cause and effect. For example, a study in Wyoming discovered that
during hunting season, the sound of a gunshot draws ravens in to investigate a presumed carcass. The birds
ignore sounds that are just as loud but harmless, such as car doors slamming.
The largest passerine in North America at 24 to 26 inches long, this massive but slender member of the corvid
family has a long heavy bill, shaggy throat feathers, and a wedge-shaped tail. Males are slightly larger than
the females. Entirely black, the Common Raven rivals hawks and falcons with its graceful aerobatic feats,
including sudden rolls, wing-tucked dives, and playing with objects by dropping and catching them in midair.

Staff Photo

Known to mate for life, the Common Raven performs elaborate courtship rituals, and the male and female fly
wingtip to wingtip with their heads touching. This species has one brood of three to seven young each year.
The female incubates the eggs for about three weeks and broods the young, which stay in the nest for 38 to
44 days. Both parents feed the young. All About Birds notes that young ravens are incredibly curious and will
pick up and examine almost anything new they find as they learn what’s useful and what isn’t.
Common Ravens thrive in many habitats, including the forest, the high desert, along the seacoast, and in
grasslands. They have adjusted well to humans and live in urban as well as rural areas. An omnivore, the
Common Raven eats a wide variety of foods, as well as refuse and carrion. Included in its diet are small
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invertebrates such as tadpoles and insects as well as small vertebrates such as fish, the young of other birds,
and rodents. This intelligent and resourceful bird also hunts in packs, enabling the group to bring down prey
that would be too large for a single bird to manage.
Once shot, trapped, and poisoned because of its supposed threat to wildlife and domestic animals, the
Common Raven now can be seen across most of Canada and the western United States. It has recently
expanded its range in the eastern and southern United States along the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more
about the Common Raven at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds Web site,
See also Birds of North America, published by the Smithsonian Institution, or your own favorite birding book.

16 years: Erika Schirm 14 years: Terri Shankie 8 years: Joanne Stickle

Despite the recent run of sunny, mild weather, we cannot forget that winter weather will soon be upon us.
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!

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.
Benefit for the Birds, Friday, November 10, 6 to 10 p.m. Our “Footloose and Fancy Free” event will be
held at Deerfield in Newark. Deerfield is across Paper Mill Road, just over one mile from the Tri-State turn at
Possum Hollow Road. See the article above for more details.
Information Sessions. 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.
Winter Information Sessions: February 24 and March 10 and 24. All sessions will take place on Saturdays
at 11 a.m.
Spring Information Sessions: April 7, 14, 21, and 28, and May 12, 19, and 26. All sessions will take place
on Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Open House. Sunday, May 6, 2018. It’s never too early to start thinking about Tri-State’s annual Open
House. Stop by to see Rebecca Stansell in the Development office or contact her at
or (302) 737-9543, extension 110 to learn how you can help with this important community event.