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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter

May 2018

Celebrating 42 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research

Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing Editor: Loretta Carlson

Everyone agrees: This year’s Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on April 4 was a resounding success. The
food was fabulous, and the camaraderie among volunteers was heartwarming. Teamwork was at its best as
volunteers and staff members competed in a lively game testing their knowledge of bird trivia. Members of the
winning team, pictured below, each received new Tri-State T-shirts.

Staff Photo

One of the highlights of this annual celebration is the announcement of the volunteer award winners. This
year, we honored ten special volunteers.
2017 Volunteer Awards
Tom Jones, the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, has been a Tri-State volunteer since
2001. Although he was still working full-time when he first signed up, Tom served as both a clinic and oil spill
response volunteer. Once he retired, Tom not only continued bird care and oil spill work, he also began
retrieving and transporting birds. A volunteer that rarely says no to our requests, Tom works extra shifts,
trains new volunteers, assists at special events, and lends a hand with the all-important task of pricing items
for the annual yard sale.
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In only three short years, Volunteer of the Year Ray Bryant has become an invaluable member of our
Transporter Team. During 2017 alone, he worked 400 volunteer hours and put more than 8,000 miles on his
car retrieving and transporting birds. He helps raise money for Tri-State by speaking at Rotary Club meetings
throughout Delaware, mans exhibit tables at outreach events, recruits and trains volunteer transporters, and
works on the Raptor Renesting Team. Ray is not only a hardworking cheerleader for Tri-State in Sussex
County, but he also has developed a network of volunteers in Maryland’s Wicomico and Worcester counties.

(left to right) Daniel Pate, Sue McVoy, Julie Bartley, Becky Hargrove, Ray Bryant, Tom Jones, Lisa Smith, and Jerry Spilecki

Becky Hargrove, the Pat Wolters Wild Bird Stewardship Award winner, began volunteering at Tri-State
in 1998. Starting with bird care and oil spill response, Becky soon proved herself ready to try anything. She
has worked extra hours to help with botulism birds, trains and mentors new volunteers, and works at our
annual yard sale. In the spirit of the Pat Wolters Award, Becky has been a true steward to our native wild
Ro Francis, winner of this year’s Mary Robinson Award, learned about Tri-State working side by side with
our founder, Lynne Frink. She started as a bird-care volunteer and eventually joined the staff in the
Accounting Department. After retiring in 2009, Ro became a volunteer once again. As a member of the board
of directors, Ro helps Tri-State make sound financial decisions, enabling our organization to grow and continue
serving the community.
Fledgling of the Year Jerry Spilecki has been a Tri-State volunteer for only a short time, but he’s made a
lasting impression on everyone who knows him. Jerry’s work ethic and enthusiasm have made him an integral
part of the Wednesday afternoon clinic team.
Unsung Hero Dan Cotterman has been working behind the scenes at Tri-State for seven years. As a
member of the Facilities Committee, Dan has replaced panels in flight cages, repaired equipment, painted
offices, installed a new floor, and made many other improvements around the Tri-State campus. Dan is
currently helping replace the roof on cage 19, and he says he’s considering joining the Transporter Team.
Sue McVoy, another Unsung Hero, initially became involved with Tri-State by helping her husband, Jim,
who was already a long-time volunteer, when he answered the call to retrieve and transport injured birds.
Soon, Sue was transporting birds on her own. Now, ten years later, Sue has become one of the most reliable
members of our Transporter team. Interesting fact: Sue actually came into the Tri-State clinic before Jim did.
She wanted to register him for a bird-care workshop as a retirement gift. The rest, as they say, is history.
Monthly Flyer, May 2018 3

A quiet member of the Development volunteer team for the past three years, Mary Ann Schaefer merits
recognition as an Unsung Hero for her dedication to managing membership information, entering data into
the administration databases, and notifying presenters about the disposition of birds. You may not know Mary
Ann, because she quietly comes in, goes upstairs, and does her work. But she has a great sense of humor,
loves our birds, and clearly relishes being part of the Tri-State family.
Gloria Worrell, the fourth Unsung Hero, began volunteering with Tri-State when we were still operating at
Duncan Road. She has taken on every possible role at Tri-State: feeding baby birds, washing oiled birds,
retrieving and transporting birds, training new volunteers, and helping at special events. Since retiring from
her full-time job, Gloria now handles a variety of tasks for the Development team.
Daniel Pate received this year’s Rising Star Award. As a volunteer under the age of 18, Daniel has logged
more than 100 hours of service as a clinic support volunteer—and he only began volunteering in the fall of
2017. Daniel has spent nearly every Sunday training with volunteer Marian Quinn, learning how to prepare
diets, set up caging for new patients, cut up greens and grapes, and clean “the Tri-State Way.” We look
forward to seeing more of Daniel during the summer.

It’s early May, and we have already admitted our first nestling finches, wrens, goslings, ducklings, eagles, and
owls. It’s only a matter of time before more young birds in trouble 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. Contact rehabilitation
manager Aimee Federer ( if you know where we can find a good owl or hawk family.
A Northern Mockingbird, the presumed victim of a vehicle strike, came to Tri-State on April 9. On admission,
the adult was bruised, and it had sustained head, ear, and eye injuries, but no obvious fractures. We
administered pain medications, treated the eye injury, and prescribed cage rest and supportive care. By the
next day, the mockingbird was perching and eating well, and its neurologic symptoms had resolved. We
moved the bird to an outside cage on April 19, and it soon demonstrated its readiness for release by its strong
flight and lift. We released the Northern Mockingbird on April 20.

Staff Photo
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An American Crow spent more than a month in our clinic recovering from a dog attack. The corvid had a right
wing fracture and soft tissue damage. We started the bird on a course of antibiotics and pain medication, and
wrapped the wing to its body. After the crow rested overnight in the clinic, Dr. Cristin Kelley inserted pins and
immobilized the injured wing with a figure 8 wrap while it was anesthetized. Over the next couple of weeks,
the crow eagerly ate its peanuts, fish, and other delicacies, soon gaining weight and building up its strength.
In early April, after Dr. Kelley confirmed its injuries were healing, we moved the bird to an outside cage where
it immediately took flight. With another week of flight exercise, the crow was active, perching, and flying well.
We banded and released the crow on April 25. Learn more about the fascinating American Crow in this
month’s Featured Bird article.
So many seabirds come to Tri-State after mistaking a
shiny sidewalk or road for a body of water in which
they can safely land. This appears to be what
happened to an adult Northern Gannet admitted to
the Tri-State clinic on April 10. New York City police
found it on the side of a road in Staten Island.
Rehabilitators at the Raptor Trust in New Jersey gave
the bird supportive care and sutured a chest wound
before sending it to Tri-State. Our staff took
radiographs to confirm the gannet had no orthopedic
injuries and gave our patient access to a pool. The
adult was thin but soon gained much-needed weight
with a diet of mullet and other fish. Once its
condition stabilized, we debrided, cleaned, and
sutured its chest wounds while the gannet was
anesthetized. After two weeks of care, the seabird’s
wounds healed, and it rebounded to a healthy body
weight. With the bird readily spending time in the
pool and its waterproofing excellent, we released the Staff Photo
Northern Gannet into the Atlantic Ocean on April 22.
‘Tis the season for baby birds, and in the early spring, we admit many young raptors that have fallen from
their nests. In addition to several young Great Horned Owls, we recently admitted and renested a nestling
Bald Eagle and a nestling Barred Owl. The healthy male eagle fell from its nest and into a marsh at the
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. While U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Craig Koppie investigated
the site, we took radiographs and provided supportive care for the uninjured nestling. Two days later, Koppie
reunited this young eagle with his parents and sister. The Barred Owl nestling came to us after the presenter
noticed it on the ground near her Maryland home. Although radiographs showed no orthopedic injuries, the
youngster did require treatment for parasites and wing lacerations. We placed this Barred Owl in a
replacement nest, and the homeowner reported seeing an adult care for the nestling later the same night.
In April, we also released a Red-tailed Hawk, a Cooper’s Hawk, Great Horned Owls, a Turkey Vulture, a Black
Vulture, Canada Geese, a Cedar Waxwing, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Downy Woodpecker, a Hermit Thrush,
American Robins, Carolina Wrens, House Finches, a Northern Cardinal, a White-throated Sparrow, and
Mourning Doves.
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Often maligned for its aggressiveness toward other birds, particularly hawks and owls, the American Crow is
also among the most intelligent of birds, able to count, solve puzzles, and learn symbols. Entirely black with a
glossy sheen, this bird is easy to identify and one of the most widely distributed species in North America. At
17.5 inches long, the American
Crow is slightly larger than the
Fish Crow, which is also common
to our region.
This omnivorous species eats
insects and other invertebrates,
small reptiles and mammals,
grains, fruits, garbage, carrion,
and the young of other birds.
Crows have been observed
breaking mollusk shells by
dropping them onto rocks.
Although the American Crow is a
gregarious bird, it’s a solitary
nester that forms monogamous
pair bonds. Pairs have one or two
broods of three to seven young
Intelligent and inquisitive, crows like our patient 18-254 (see release story above) require each year. Both parents incubate
toys and other habitat enrichment to keep them active and help them cope with the the eggs and feed the young.
stress of rehabilitation. Staff Photo

Because of the American Crow’s tendency to roost in huge flocks, people harass, hunt, shoot, and even poison
them in attempts to drive the birds away. Nonetheless, this highly adaptable bird continues to thrive. Listen for
the distinctive caw-caw of the American Crow as you travel around our region. Learn more about the American
Crow at 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.
After more than eleven years as part of the Tri-State flock—first as volunteer, then intern, and ultimately
director of the Oil Programs—Danene Birtell is migrating at the end of May to a new opportunity in California.
We greatly appreciate her stepping in to take the reins of the Oil Programs team during a difficult time, as well
as her positive attitude, boundless energy, and team-oriented mind-set. We are also grateful to her husband,
Josh Cruse, for his many contributions to the Benefit for the Birds and the Open House, and his willingness to
help out in numerous other ways.
We also must say farewell to Elisa Silva, another member of the Oil Programs team. Eli came to Tri-State in
2016, following her passion to learn as much as she could about wildlife and the environment. We appreciate
her hard work, her many contributions to the team, and her sunny, friendly smile.
While we are sad to see Danene, Josh, and Eli leave, we wish them all the best.

22 years: Ann Banning 14 years: Donald Bauman 10 years: Rachel Despins 8 years: Melanie Figgs
7 years: Carol Donner and Mary VanderDussen 6 years: David and Tara Kee
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Baby Bird Care Upgrades. Although these sessions are designed for new volunteers that have worked only
with adult birds, they provide good refresher training for all volunteers. Sessions run a little over an hour, with
time allotted for questions. Sign-up sheets are posted in the Volunteer Room.
Sessions are scheduled for the following dates: May 4, Friday, 12 to 1:30 p.m.; May 12, Saturday, 10 to
11:30 a.m.; May 14, Monday, 1 to 2:30 p.m.; May 16, Wednesday, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; and May 20, Sunday, 1 to
2:30 p.m.
Yard Sale, Saturday, October 6, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s never too soon to start scouring your attic,
basement, and garage for items to donate to Tri-State’s annual community fund-raiser. And, of course, if you
would like to join the planning committee or sign up to volunteer, let Julie Bartley know. Contact Julie at or (302) 737-9543, extension 102. Watch for more details in upcoming issues of The
Monthly Flyer.
Benefit for the Birds, Friday, November 9, 6 to 10 p.m. The 2018 benefit will return to the Chase Center
on the Riverfront in Wilmington. We have begun making plans, and we would love to have your help. Contact
Chris Chapdelaine at or at (302) 737-9543, extension 109. Look for more details
in upcoming issues of The Monthly Flyer.