Thursday, April 30, 2009

NASA Cancels May 2 Stagazing Event

The NASA Glenn Visitor's Center issued a statement today canceling the May 2nd Stargazing Event:
"In light of the health issue and other contributing factors, out of concern for our general public, we are officially cancelling the Stargazing event that was scheduled for Saturday, May 2."-NASA Glenn Visitors Center
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Schuele Planetarium staff was a collaborating partner for the event and planned to take all of our programming for the day off-site to NASA. Because of the event cancellation, all May 2 Schuele Planetarium programs, including the 7 p.m. "Monthly SkyQuest" & telescopes, will now run on our usual schedule here at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.
Check the public program schedule for the planetarium here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Robin's Backyard Nest

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center staffers are not immune to the "wow factor" of a backyard wildlife encounter. I recently discovered an American Robin nesting right outside the window of my family's Westside suburban home. I carefully snapped a few photos of "mom" on her beautifully crafted nest through the blinds and consulted our expert wildlife staff for advice.

Robins will often nest low to the ground, sometimes just in shrubs, so it was no surprise to Wildlife Specialist Amy LeMonds that "my" Robin's nest is at eye level. She also told me that the four blue eggs I spotted from a second floor window is the average number in Robin's clutch. Amy says the mother bird should incubate the eggs for 12 - 14 days and both mom and dad will care for the young once they hatch.

The birds fledge (leave) the nest another 12 - 14 days after hatching. The Fledglings then spend a few days on the ground until they learn to fly. According to Amy, dad will often continue to care for young fledglings while mom incubates another nest. But until they're flighted, I plan to pay special attention to my two Golden Retrievers' activity in our fenced backyard.
I worry that the nesting location is not ideal or safe, but Amy reminds me (and you) that we should never interfere with a nest like this. In fact, with most species of birds, everything is protected by law, the bird, the nest, the egg-- even the feathers!-- so it would be illegal to interfere. So, I'm planning to sit back, keep my dogs on a very short leash and enjoy Mother Nature's show! Check back. I'll keep you posted.
-Shawn Salamone, Community Relations Coordinator

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brown Bat & Brown Snake Rejoin Nature

Volunteers for our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program were able to put animals back into the natural world today, under the supervision of Wildlife Specialist Derek Skapes.

A Brown Snake and a Big Brown Bat, which both spent the winter here, were waiting for suitable spring conditions to allow their return to the wild. The tiny, young snake was found in a suburban basement in January. The Big Brown Bat was disturbed during winter hibernation. Both were released in the woods near Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

If you don’t know about our refrigerator bat hibernation technique you can read all about it on this 2008 blog post or in this news release. The Big Brown released today was squirming and ready to go when our volunteer attached it to a tree. It immediately flew away.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let's Explore Worms!

In true Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, hands-on style, our Nature Nuts preschoolers hit the Great Outdoors yesterday as part of "Let's Explore Worms" day.
Armed with hand shovels and intense curiosity, our intrepid young explorers turned over the damp soil in search of our friend, the earthworm.

Of course, their teacher, "Miss Teece," had some earthworms on hand and ready to hold for anyone who was not able to find one on their own.
Isn't it great to see kids happily unplugged and connected to the simple joys of nature?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baby Screech Owls Are Unfortunate Tree-Trimming Surprise

The story of two adorable Screech Owl babies, who were briefly in our Wildlife Rehab care, offers an important lesson for anyone trimming back trees this spring. The baby owls were discovered nesting in the cavity of a large tree, AFTER it was taken down.
We kept the birds hydrated and fed. (In the video clip, you can see them eating crickets, fed by Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist, Amy LeMonds.)

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center quickly transferred the birds to the Medina Raptor Center, a facility that has a “foster mom” Screech Owl, who may be able to care for them and to encourage a more natural upbringing. Of course, this situation is not guaranteed to work out and is not nearly as good as the babies remaining with their mother in their nest.

The lesson? If possible avoid cutting any trees down which may have hollows during this time of year and make sure you check your trees for nesting wildlife before taking them down. The goal is to keep wildlife in the wild and not in captivity.
-Dave Wolf, Director of Wildlife

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Duck Sponsors Lining Up for Cash & Prizes

We're dusting off our collection of rubber ducks in anticipation of The Great Duck Race, part of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's popular Family Fun Fest on June 7. Early sales of numbered Duck Race Sponsorships are brisk and we're beginning to add to our list of prize sponsors as well.

You can view and keep track of the prize list here. It's always a blast to watch the swarm of yellow rubber ducks bobbing along Porter Creek to the finish line, but you don't need to be present to win cash, Indians tickets and other great prizes. Individuals can sponsor a duck at $5 for one duck or 5 for $20. A limited number of duck sponsorships are on sale now at True Value Stores in Bay Village and Avon Lake and at the Center through 1:30 p.m. race day or until they sell out.

Family Fun Fest also features live animal and planetarium shows, nature crafts, carnival games, bounce houses, nature hikes, food and new this year: a rock climbing wall! The non-stop activities will run from Noon – 4 p.m., with the Duck Race at 2:30 p.m. The event is a fundraiser to support the nature education programs, wildlife rehabilitation, live animal exhibits and planetarium at the non-profit, donor-funded Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Admission to Fun Fest is free, but most activities require a ticket. Activity tickets are $1/ticket,$10/12 tickets or $20/26 tickets. Activity tickets will also be available for presale this year beginning May 1. The event is held rain or shine.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creatures On The Mend

Our Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Program is getting busier as the weather gets warmer. Current animal patients in Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's care include these pictured:

-a Canada Goose found along a highway with a broken beak, lacerated foot and dislocated wing. Veterinarian Dr. Frank Krupka of the Avon Lake Animal Clinic sutured the beak. You can see the suture ties at the tip of the beak if you look closely. It will take time to determine if the dislocated wing will heal.

-a baby bunny with a broken right femur (upper hind leg.) We’re optimistic about the outcome for this spring baby.

-a Mallard with a fractured fibula (leg bone). We stabilized the leg for 7 days and, after two weeks of healing, the duck is gently putting weight back on the leg.
Of course, our goal is to help the healing process along and return these animals back to the wild.
Want to help us rehabilitation wildlife at no charge to the public? Find out more about joining Partners in Wildlife Rehab at this link.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Friday, April 17, 2009

Slow & Steady Wins the Rehab Race

We have an update on a wildlife rehab patient we told you about in the Summer 2008 issue of our WREN Newsletter. This week, we marked an important milestone in the long recovery of a Common Snapping Turtle that suffered multiple shell fractures after it was hit by a car on May 4, 2008. After nearly a year on the mend, Dr. Frank Krupka, of Avon Lake Animal Clinic, was able to remove the pins that have supported the shell during the continuing healing process. You can compare the new photo of the shell to the shot below taken last year before the pins were put in.

This turtle’s story offers an important springtime wildlife lesson. The injury occurred at the beginning of May when turtles begin to seek places to lay their eggs. For water turtles, this process involves coming out of the water and finding a good nesting spot on land. Sometimes they move a great distance and are more prone to being hit by cars. If you a see a turtle crossing the road, drive carefully to avoid hitting it.
If you want to help, and can do so safely, you can move the turtle to the side of the road in the direction it was heading. If you take it to the side it just came from, it will start crossing the road again! A turtle is very persistent in getting to the exact spot it wants to go in order to lay its eggs.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Landscape Art On Exhibit

A new collaboration between BayArts and Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will bring nature-inspired fine art to our visitors. Our first exhibiting artist is David Ward, who has a series of oil landscapes up in our main exhibit hall.

The retired greeting card company artist from Strongsville studied at the Cooper School of Art and Cleveland Institute of Art. Mr. Ward is a member of the Oil Painters of America and has been represented in several national, regional and local shows. His work is currently available from BayArts, another of the non-profit organizations located on the Huntington campus.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

T-Shirt Art Contest Winner Announced

A Bay Village Middle School student has claimed the top prize in Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s 2009 T-shirt Art Design Contest. The winning design will be featured on the Center’s 2009 Limited Edition T-shirt, which goes on sale at Family Fun Fest, June 7.

The 11-year-old Bay Middle School student’s drawing featured a vivid trio of animals that all reside at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center: a deer, a fox and a snake. The colorful artwork was chosen from among 14 finalists and more than 65 entries from artists of all ages. Visitors to the Center's website and to the Center helped select the winner by submitting more than 1,100 votes for their favorites.

Development Coordinator Barb Caskey presented Emily with a $100 cash prize this week. She'll also receive a T-shirt featuring her design. T-shirts go on sale to the public at the Center’s annual Family Fun Fest, June 7 from Noon to 4 p.m.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Migration Season Brings Big City Dangers

The intake and release of a stunned Yellow shafted Flicker this week is another sign of the big city dangers that birds face during migration season. This bird, a species of woodpecker, was picked up in Cleveland after it collided with one of the tall, downtown buildings. This bird is rarely found this far north in winter, so it was likely in migration when the collision occurred.
The Kenneth A Scott Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program sees hundreds of birds that collide with the brightly lit big
city buildings during the two month migration season. We are in the early part of the season when we see many species of sparrows and American woodcocks. As migration progresses through May we see a variety of species of warblers.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center performs wildlife rehab at no charge to the public, relying on donations to fund our non-profit mission.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lake Erie Wing Watch Weekend

Look for Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Executive Director, Larry Richardson, at the Lake Erie Wing Watch Weekend (April 3-5, 2009) at Port Clinton High School tomorrow. You can joins area naturalists and fellow bird watchers for seminars, a reception, exhibits and forum focus on bird watching hints and habitats.
Larry, who's an avid birder (with a "life list" of 2,014), will lead a Saturday afternoon seesion on Warbler Identification. The Lake Erie Wing Watch region covers Erie, Ottawa and Lorain Counties and includes some of the most diverse habitats and spectacular bird watching in the country!

Why Birds Fly Into Windows

This week, the wildlife staff is answering many phone calls regarding birds repeatedly flying into windows. This is a common occurrence during mating and nesting season, particularly with cardinals and robins because of their bright colors. The bird is seeing its reflection in the window and thinks another bird is invading its territory.

The remedy for this is to tape newspaper or wax paper to the OUTSIDE of the window. This behavior is likely to diminish as each individual bird's breeding season progresses (usually after a few weeks).
A more detailed explanation can be found in the FAQ's on Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's website. This is such a common occurrence, it's the number two most frequently asked question on our list. If you need more information, you can call the Kenneth A. Scott Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program at (440) 871-2900 ext 204. - Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Saw-whet In Sun, Villager & Plain Dealer

You'll find more news coverage of last week's Saw-whet owl release in the current issues of the West Shore Sun and Villager News. Plain Dealer Animals In the News Columnist, Donna Miller, wrote about the owl's release and bird banding here and in the Metro section of the Sunday, April 6, Plain Dealer. We're proud of the education and rehabilitation that's carried out by our Wildlife Department!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WestLife Captures Rehab Release

Great photos of last week's Saw-whet owl rehab release in today's WestLife newspaper. Photographer Larry Bennett captured the little owl in flight moments after it left Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds' gloved hands. More of Larry's work including 13 photos from the release (some, of the Woodcock that was sent back into the wild on the same day) can be found on his fotops website and click on auto-photo. The release slide show is labeled BVLENSCOwl.