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Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

A Volunteer Newsletter

July 2018

Celebrating 42 years of excellence in
wildlife rehabilitation and research

Photo: snyders/moonbeampublishing Editor: Loretta Carlson


Although we have released many of the earliest babies,
we are bracing for our second wave of American Robins
and Blue Jays, as well as the first nestling Cedar
Waxwings and American Goldfinches. Whether they have
lost their parents, fallen from nests, or become victims of
human interference or attacks by other animals, these
young patients require special attention.
Even with our many interns, we still need our dedicated
volunteers—especially considering the upcoming Fourth
of July holiday. So please check Volgistics to see where
we need help most—typically evenings and weekends—
and then sign up.
If you cannot work a full shift, but you find yourself with
Gray Catbird demands your attention! Staff Photo
some unexpected free time—even a couple of hours—
leave a message for the supervisors on extension 103. Thank you!
Large Nest Cups Needed. We are running low on our supply of large nest cups for our youngest patients.
See Andrea or a clinic supervisor if you have questions about specific needs. Thank you!

A great event in October starts in the spring. Preparations are already underway for the Giant Yard Sale for
the Birds taking place on October 6 at the Aetna Hose Hook & Ladder in Newark, Delaware. The trailer is here,
and volunteers are already tirelessly sorting, pricing, and organizing donations. If you would like to help with
sorting books, cleaning items, or taking unusable items to Goodwill, please contact Chris Chapdelaine at
If you have donations, volunteers will be accepting items at the trailer in the upper parking lot on Sundays and
Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information on the items we can and
cannot accept can be found at We will be accepting items until
September 23.
A big event like the yard sale happens only with the support of many people. Thank you to all our amazing
volunteers who collect, price, and sort items. Thank you to those who help us set up for the event, work at the
event, and break down the event, as well as the bakers who populate the bake sale with delicious treats. If
you would like to help in any of these capacities, please contact Chris at the e-mail above. Thank you!
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Volunteer Dennis Davis releases the hawk on Tri-State grounds. Staff Photo
Although we rejoice over the release of any bird, the release of Red-tailed Hawk 18-205 brought special
satisfaction. The Pennsylvania Game Commission rescued this young raptor from a basement in Philadelphia,
where a woman had kept it captive for an unknown length of time. The juvenile came to us on March 8 alert
but severely dehydrated and with extensive feather damage and soft tissue injuries due to its long
confinement in a small cage. We cleaned and wrapped its wounds and administered fluids and pain
medications. By early April, it began molting new feathers, and we moved the hawk to a flight cage to practice
its flight and hunting skills and regain its strength and stamina. By the end of April, its wounds had healed and
its flight skills were improving. Still, because of this bird’s long captivity, we were concerned about imprinting.
However, the hawk’s behavior toward both humans and other hawks proved appropriate, giving us confidence
that it would do well in the wild. As a final step before release, we implanted two primary feathers on each
wing and two tail feathers to supplement those that molted on their own. On June 21, we watched in
admiration as this young Red-tailed Hawk flew to freedom.
Monthly Flyer, July 2018 3

The Semipalmated Sandpiper is a small shorebird, and so it is somewhat understandable that a concerned
passerby in Atlantic County, New Jersey, mistook it for a stranded baby. On its arrival at our clinic, we
determined the adult had no orthopedic injuries, but its feathers were dirty and it exhibited neurologic
symptoms. With pain medications, fluids, and a snuggle buddy for comfort, the neurologic symptoms resolved,
and the sandpiper began self-feeding. Two days later, we spotted the bird running in its enclosure. After a few
more days of supportive care, the shorebird was eating well, taking flight, and hovering in midair. Clinic
Director Andrea Howey-Newcomb released the Semipalmated Sandpiper into an appropriate habitat on June 3.

On June 5, seven nestling Northern Flickers came to us from
Pennsylvania after their nest tree fell down during a storm.
Fortunately, all seven woodpeckers were healthy and
unharmed after the fall. Even better, the presenter reported
the parents were still in the area, and so we called on
volunteer-extraordinaire Rand McIlvaine to construct a new
nestbox. For the next twenty-four hours, we provided
supportive care and treated the youngsters for lice until their
new home was ready. On June 6, Marian Quinn and Rand
McIlvaine placed the nestling Northern Flickers into the
securely situated nestbox, fashioned from the original
nesthole. All the while, one of the attentive parents was loudly
scolding them. Later that evening, the homeowner reported,
“Mom has been feeding them, and we have seen them sticking
their faces out the hole.” In photo on the left by Marian Quinn,
Rand McIlvaine places one of the flickers into its new home.

Learn more about the Northern Flicker in this month’s Featured Bird article.
In June, we also released an American Kestrel, a Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcons, a Broad-winged Hawk, Red-
Tailed Hawks, an Osprey, a Barred Owl, Green Herons, Canada Geese, Mallards, American Crows, a Red-
bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers, Barn Swallows, a Cedar Waxwing, Chipping Sparrows, an Eastern
Bluebird, Carolina Wrens, House Wrens, a Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbirds, American Robins, House
Finches, Blue Jays, Common Grackles, a Mourning Dove, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

It took more than a year to line up the funding and
more than a month to complete the installation, but
the new generator for the Frink Center is finally a
reality. This 60 kW beauty purrs like a kitten and will
be able to power just about everything in the Frink
Center in the event of a power outage. Installation
of a surge suppressor was also part of the project.
No longer will we have to shuffle incubators around
in the summer to get them to the limited outlets
that were powered by the old generator, which was
installed in 1999. No longer will we shudder at the
rumble of thunder, hoping the storm will spare us
and the freezers.
While this was an expensive project, it was funded
by groups that tend to support capital improvements
and not general operating costs. We are always
working to bring in so-called “unrestricted”
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donations for the everyday costs of providing high-quality, professional care to our patients. We balance that
with requests for funding for specific projects, like this generator. These “restricted” donations can only be
used for their specified purpose and cannot be used for operating costs. Our Development & Marketing team
works hard on both fronts to ensure we can continue to maintain both our high standard of care and our
amazing facilities.
We are grateful to the Welfare Foundation, Pepco Holdings, Inc., and PSEG for making this $30,000 critical
improvement a reality. We also thank our friends at CMI Solar & Electric for their excellent work completing
another project here at Tri-State. (They installed the solar array on the Annex roof.)

At 11 to 12 inches long, the Northern Flicker is a
large brown woodpecker with a slim, rounded head, a
slightly downcurved bill, and a long, flared tail that
tapers to a point. Until the early 1980s, its two easily
distinguishable populations in the East and the West
were considered separate species. In the East,
flickers have yellow underwings and undertail and a
black mustache. In the West, they have red
underwings and undertail and a red mustache. When
they fly, in addition to the flash of color from the
wings, you will see a bright white flash on the rump.
Female flickers are similar to the males but lack the
The Northern Flicker frequents open habitats such as
woodlands, backyards, and parks. Although this
species nests and perches in trees, it spends a
significant amount of time on the ground, digging for
the ants that make up most of its diet and snagging
them with its barbed tongue. The flicker also eats
fruit and seeds, especially during the winter.
Forming monogamous pairs, Northern Flickers
perform a complex courtship display sometimes called
a “fencing duel.” The male rivals face off on a branch
then fly in a figure-eight pattern while the female
observes. Both parents contribute to nest-building—
sometimes drilling their own nest hole, other times
Photo by Snyders/moonbeampublishing
reusing cavities that they or another species
excavated. The female lays five to eight eggs and has one brood each year. The young stay in the nest for
about a month, during which time they are tended by both parents.
The Northern Flicker is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. On walks, keep
an eye out for flickers on the ground digging for ants and beetles, and listen for the ringing song—wick-er,
wick-er, wicker-er — and the piercing call—klee-yer. Learn more about the Northern Flicker 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.

• Please come to the shift meetings. If you arrive early for your shift, feel free to restock supplies, wash
dishes, or help in the Window Room.
• Wash all rodents before feeding them to our birds.
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• NO peeking at birds.
• Wear closed-toe shoes when working in the clinic. Sandals, crocs, and other open-toe styles do not afford
protection should you trip or drop something on your foot.
• Please remember that all volunteers and staff members should park in the upper lot. We need room in the
lower lot for transporters and members of the general public bringing in baby birds and other patients. If
you are working the third shift, you may park in the lower lot. Volunteers who have difficulty walking or
other health issues may park in the lower lot at any time.
• Please do not use your cell phone while you are working around the birds. Not only could making and
responding to calls or texts distract you from your work and become a safety hazard, but the sudden
ringing or “pinging” of the phone also could be stressful for the birds. Keep your phone in your car or the
Volunteer Room. You may send and receive calls or texts in the Volunteer Room, breakout area, or any of
the offices.
• General Safety Reminder: The speed limit along Possum Hollow Road is 25 mph. Young songbirds
released from Tri-State or raised in the wild are trying to navigate their way through their woodland
homes, as are foxes, squirrels, rabbits, and deer. Please be on the lookout for these young animals.
33 years: Gary Patterson 25 years: Mary Birney 24 years: Elaine Smith 16 years: Sara Hutchinson
15 years: Catherine Feher-Renzetti 14 years: Jill Constantine 7 years: Bill & Natalie Allen and Denise Dee
KUDOS to all volunteers who helped us throughout the busy months of May and June. We are grateful for all
the time you donated, whether you worked in the clinic, transported birds, did laundry, mopped floors, or
tackled any of the other myriad tasks necessary to keeping Tri-State running smoothly. Thank you!

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. See the article above
for more details.
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. This year’s theme is “A Night in Vintage Vegas,” and the house will be flush
with entertainment, complete with the sounds of Sinatra and casino games like Blackjack, Poker, and Roulette.
Tickets go on sale soon. Don’t miss out on this fabulous fiesta to benefit the birds. It’s sure to turn up Aces.
Contact Chris Chapdelaine with any questions at or at (302) 737-9543,
extension 109.