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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter

February 2018

Celebrating 42 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research

Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing Editor: Loretta Carlson

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Tri-State. We try to remember to thank you every day, but once a year,
we plan a special celebration to honor you for your work at Tri-State throughout the year. Our 2018 Volunteer
Appreciation Celebration will take place on Sunday, April 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Wildlife Response Annex.
The day will include tasty snacks and sweets as well as the presentation of the coveted volunteer awards.
Please RSVP no later than March 30 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. Thank
you, and we hope to see you on April 8.
The last patient admitted on the last day of 2017,
American Robin 17-3304 spent two weeks in the clinic
recovering from injuries sustained when it was hit by a
car in Wilmington. In addition to eye trauma and bruising
on one ear, the robin was neurologic and had a keel
fracture. We rinsed the eyes, administered pain
medication, and prescribed cage rest. By the next day,
this feisty escape artist had eaten all the fruit and
mealworms we left for it overnight. After 10 days of
supportive care, the robin’s eye injuries resolved, and we
moved it outside to give it the opportunity to regain its
strength and practice its flight skills. By January 14, the
keel fracture had stabilized and the bird was flying
beautifully. We released the American Robin on-site.
A less-familiar patient than the American Robin, an adult
Swainson’s Thrush came to us on January 5 for an all-
too-familiar reason: it flew into a window. The adult was Staff Photo
quiet on admission and had blood in its mouth. With pain medications and a night of rest, however, the thrush
was soon eating mealworms and pokeberries. By January 7, we observed the bird perching and moving freely
in its basket. After a test flight confirmed the Swainson’s Thrush was fully recovered and flying well, we
released it on-site.
On January 6, a Greater Scaup came to us from Ocean County in New Jersey when a passerby spotted the
duck in the middle of the road after a storm. Although this diving bird was thin, it was alert and had sustained
no other injuries. With a plentiful diet of mealworms and time in the hydrotherapy tub, the scaup soon
regained its spunk, and we moved it to an outside pool. By January 8, it was readily spending time in the
water, diving for mealworms, and preening on the deck. With its condition stabilized and its waterproofing
excellent, the Greater Scaup was ready for release. Lynn McDowell released it into a suitable habitat on
January 9. Learn more about the Greater Scaup in this month’s Featured Bird article.
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research 2

Staff Photo

We are in the midst of another irruption of Snowy Owls, and birding enthusiasts have reported seeing several
individuals in Delaware. However, the Snowy Owl we admitted on December 23 came not from our region but
from South Carolina after former Tri-State veterinarian Erica Miller spotted a note on the Operation
SNOWstorm website from rehabilitators at the Avian Conservation Center. On arrival, the owl was thin and had
wounds on its abdomen. We cleaned and sutured the wounds and started looking for the perfect smorgasbord
of food to tempt our patient to eat. By December 28, the wounds were healing, and we moved the owl to an
outside cage. We soon observed the bird self-feeding—and even pressing its face in the snow that
accumulated in its cage—and by January 2, the owl was taking its first short flights. As its wounds healed and
the bird gained weight, its stamina and lift also improved. By the end of January, with its flight skills excellent,
we cleared the Snowy Owl for release. Volunteers Jim and Sue McVoy released the bird at Cape Henlopen
State Park on January 20.
In January, we also released Red-tailed Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk, an Eastern Screech Owl, a Bufflehead, a
Horned Grebe, a Red-necked Grebe, a Great Blue Heron, a Mallard, a Black Vulture, a Carolina Wren, White-
throated Sparrows, a Carolina Chickadee, a Northern Cardinal, a Mourning Dove, and Common Grackles.
A large diving duck with a rounded head, the Greater Scaup breeds farther north than related species. It
winters along the coasts of North America in flocks or “rafts” that can number in the tens of thousands. During
breeding season, the male has a black head with a glossy green sheen, as well as a black neck, upper back,
and breast. The middle of the back has fine bars of gray and white, and the sides and belly are white.
Nonbreeding males and females look similar, with mostly dark brown and gray plumage. Females have large
white patches around the bill that distinguish them from the males.
The Greater Scaup dives as deep as 20 feet below the water’s surface to feed on clams, snails, crustaceans,
aquatic insects, seeds, and aquatic plants. During its winters spent at sea, this bird eats mostly mollusks and
vegetable matter.
Monthly Flyer, February 2018 3

Photo by Snyders/moonbeampublishing

Forming monogamous pairs and sometimes nesting in colonies, the Greater Scaup has one brood of 5 to 13
young each year. The female makes a bowl-shaped depression in the ground close to the water and among
the tall grass. She lines the area with a thick layer of down plucked from her own breast, as well as grasses
and other plant material. The female leads the precocial young to water shortly after they hatch. Although
tended by the female until they take their first flight at 35 to 42 days old, the young can find their own food
soon after hatching.
Its call note, scaup, gave this species its name. Learn more about the Greater Scaup 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.
The 2018 nesting bird season will be here before we know it, and Tri-State has begun its search for qualified
summer interns. We have a limited number of paid 12-week internships available, as well as 12-week, 6-week,
and part-time volunteer internships. If you know someone who may be interested in applying for a Tri-State
internship, have them submit a letter of application describing their experience and reason for seeking an
internship at Tri-State, along with a current resume and references on or before March 30 to Andrea Howey-
Newcomb at For more information on internship requirements and descriptions of
position responsibilities, visit
24 years: Mary Birney and Mark Cameron 20 years: Roger Suro 19 years: Lucinda Peterson and
Perrie Lee Prouty 18 years: Liz Gontarz 17 years: Barbara Nichols and Al Ware 16 years: Sam Crothers
15 years: Dave and Donna Houchin 14 years: Rosann Ferraro and Mary Milroy 13 years: Cindy Ahern,
Joan Beatty, Doug and Arlene Reppa 12 years: Valnéa Persak 11 years: Linda Amundsen, Sharyn Fagone,
Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research 4

Rob Romeo, and Gail Schrenk 10 years: Terri Shaver 9 years: Betty Sharon 8 years: Gail Heath
7 years: Dan Cotterman 4 years: Marty Allen
A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who worked shifts during our recent bouts of snowy, icy weather. It
may be bitter cold outside, but your devotion to Tri-State and the birds warms our hearts.


To mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 2018 has been designated the Year of the
Bird. We are celebrating this momentous milestone along with National Geographic, the National Audubon
Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and numerous other wildlife organizations
dedicated to the conservation of our feathered friends. During the year, we’ll examine how each of us can help
reverse the current trend of dramatic loss among bird species. We’re asking you to make a resolution to
protect these birds and their habitats today and for the next century to come. You can start by joining wildlife
lovers from around the globe to learn about this important cause, and sign a pledge to participate in a year of
action for birds. Go to to find out more.

One way to get into the spirit of the Year of the Bird
is by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count
(GBBC). This annual event provides an opportunity
for you to see healthy birds in their native habitat,
whether that’s your backyard, a local park, or one of
the many wildlife refuges in our tri-state region.
The GBBC is an online citizen-science project for
collecting and displaying data on wild birds. Each
year, the GBBC creates a snapshot of the distribution
and abundance of birds over a four-day period in
February. You spend as little as fifteen minutes
counting birds on one or more of the designated
dates, then report your findings at Online resources include
tips on identifying birds and materials for teachers
and students.
When you take part in the GBBC, you will not only
be enriching your own knowledge of birds, you also
Look up. You just might spot a Red-tailed Hawk like this one on
will be helping provide data to the ornithologists who
your roof. Photo by Russ Carlson
study bird populations, migration, and conservation
throughout the year. Why not join the more than 100,000 people around the world who have participated in
the GBBC since its inception in 1998 and celebrate the Year of the Bird in a very personal way?
The GBBC dates for 2018 are Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19.
Monthly Flyer, February 2018 5

2018 Information Sessions. Do you have friends or family members who think they may be interested in
volunteering for Tri-State, but who want to make sure it’s 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 begin their volunteer experience.
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.
Transporter Training. February 25, 10 a.m. New and seasoned transporters are invited to attend. Contact
Julie Bartley at to register and for more details.
Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, Sunday, April 8, 1 p.m. Please join us for our annual celebration of
you and learn who has merited the coveted volunteer awards for 2017. Check the March issue of the Monthly
Flyer for more details and be sure to save the date. We want to see you there!
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.