Thursday, July 30, 2009

Young Cooper’s Hawk On the Mend

A feisty juvenile Cooper’s Hawk is now in our rehab care; brought in on July 26 with a fractured radius (broken wing bone.) We’re keeping that red-colored wing wrap on for about a week to stabilize the bone and promote proper healing.
This bird is eating well and maintaining a healthy wariness of the human caretakers in our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. We keep our rehab cages covered to minimize the wild animal's visual interaction with us so they maintain a chance to return to nature with wild instincts intact. You can read more about the Cooper’s Hawk on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Monday, July 27, 2009

Backyard Baby Cottontail Experience

The discovery of a baby cottontail rabbit in our backyard over the weekend turned me into a rehab "client" instead of an employee of Lake Erie Nature & Science. As Community Relations Coordinator for the Center, I have basic backyard wildlife knowledge, but not enough to know exactly what to do when one of our Golden Retrievers presented us with a tiny baby bunny, eyes still closed. We placed the little animal on some yard greens in a bowl, resisted the urge to rush the creature right to rehab and went inside to do what we advise anyone in this situation to do-- call first!

Since there was barely a scratch on the bunny, I was pretty sure Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds would encourage me to try to put the baby back in its nest, but I wasn't sure what to look for. Amy advised us that cottontails nest right on the ground, covering a divot with dried grass and gray rabbit chest hair, often along a shrub line. A quick check of the shrubs and hosta where my dogs had been sniffing turned up the nest, with no siblings around. Amy also advised that the mother only returns to her nest at dusk and dawn to quickly feed the babies. During the day, Amy suggested we place a laundry basket over the nest and weight it down (with bricks, etc.) to keep the dogs from disturbing the baby's home again.

So, our fingers are crossed for the lone baby bunny whose mom unwittingly picked Golden Retriever territory for a nest. We resisted the urge to believe that we might offer it a better chance by attempting to hand raise it. In fact, baby cottontails are NOT like domestic rabbits and they have a poor survival rate in captivity. We also understand that in Nature, wild cottontails produce many young because they are so vulnerable in the nest, but our family now feels partly responsible for this little one and we're hoping for the best!

If you have questions about wildlife babies or adults in your backyard, you, too can call the experts at our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program 440-871-2900 ext. 204.
-Shawn Smith Salamone, Community Relations Coordinator

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grab Discounts for the Full School Year!

Our full School Year Registration for members gets underway tomorrow, Saturday, July 25 at 10 a.m.

This special, discounted registration for Members-only is available for all three sessions (Fall-Winter-Spring) of Frogs and Polliwogs parent & tot classes, Nature Nuts preschool, Log Cabin Explorers Club for 5 and 6 year olds and After School Adventures Club for grades 1 - 2 and 3 - 4.

If you know a little one who deserves all the magical, natural fun that takes place at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, sign up for the full school year and save! You'll also lock in your child's spot in our popular and often wait-listed classes!

By the way, here's how the math works out for Nature Nuts or Log Cabin Explorers:

  • Good Value - Regular Price for each 10-week session:
    $300 x 3 sessions = $900 for the school year
  • Better Value - Members Price for each 10-week session:
    $250 x 3 sessions = $750 for the school year
  • Best Value - Members advance full School Year registration:
    All 3 sessions = $675 for the school year

Get program details in our Fall 2009 Program Guide (pdf). Download and print a Fall 2009 Registration Form (pdf) here and find Online Membership Information & Registratio at this link.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Get the Inside Scoop on Orion-Ares I

If you enjoy keeping up with NASA's plans for future space exploration, you'll want to join us for a very special night in the Schuele Planetarium. The 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18 Monthly Skyquest program will feature Deputy Director Joe Baumeister of NASA Glenn who will provide the latest information about NASA’s replacement for the Space Shuttle, Orion – Ares I, including the test flight set for later this year.

Free tickets for this event are on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the presentation at 8 p.m. Although we love welcoming the little ones to planetarium programs like Twinkle Tots and Stellar Stars, this program is not suitable for small children. There will also be free telescope viewing at 9 p.m., weather permitting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Survival of the Weirdest In PD Lens

Smiling kids and critters from one of our cool summer camps were featured in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. Look on page D2 for the Out&About photo feature. Talented photographer Bob Migra took the beautiful full color shots during our recent "Survival of the Weirdest" Kindercamp for 5 and 6 year olds. The collection of pictures can also be viewed on at this link. (Scroll down to find the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center slide show).

The photo of instructor Maggie Watson and two of her campers featured below was also snapped by Migra, who really captured the joy of a Log Cabin Kindercamp! We have a few openings in some of our remaining camps and you can check out the options on our website.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Campers Arrive - You Can Join Us!

Summer camp season is in full swing at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! Among the campers we've already welcomed this summer, 160 terrific Girl Scouts, featured in the photos posted here. The crafts, puppetry and picnic pictured here are just a small sampling of the creative, fun activities enjoyed at Back to Nature Camp.

We still have a few openings in upcoming camps, including next week's (July 14 - 17) "Wonders of Water" which will include Lake Erie beachcombing, fishing and a whole lot of natural H2O fun! Perfect for the heat of mid-summer!

Camp listings online show what camps are still available. Make sure you scroll past the Kindercamps to find Wonders of Water and Moon Camp.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bat Family In Rehab

A “family” of three bats recently arrived at our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. A mom and two baby Eastern Pipistrelle bats were found down on the ground in Bay Village.

These bats rarely are found in buildings and prefer roosting in trees. In the winter they often hibernate in caves, mines and rock crevices. Nursing bat pups will cling to their mothers until they are too big to carry. (In the photo above, you can see the baby clinging to the mother in the gloved hand of Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist, Amy LeMonds.)
In spite of the Halloween fiction surrounding them, bats are not aggressive and in fact, quite beneficial to have around. A single bat can catch more than 1,000 mosquitoes in just one hour! Populations of Eastern Pipistrelles are said to be stable in the United States, but these bats are highly susceptible to pesticide poisoning and habitat destruction.
Surprising "Bat Facts" from the US Humane Society & other sources:
  • Bats are the only mammals capable of flight.

  • Bats may resemble rodents, but scientists believe they are more closely related to primates.

  • The world's smallest bat, the bumblebee bat, weighs less than a penny. One of the world's largest bats, Lyle's flying fox, has a wingspan of nearly six feet.

  • North America's common little brown bat has the longest lifespan for a mammal of its size, sometimes living more than 32 years.

  • Bats have been known to “adopt” orphan bats.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mink Almost Ready for Release

An elusive and beautiful furbearing creature is progressing well in our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. A young mink was brought suffering from the effects of ringworm. (In the photo below you can still see the circle marks under the fur that are a hallmark of this fungal disease, even though the ringworm is now greatly improved.)

You can also see that the mink looks a lot like the Weasel that we briefly had in rehab intake last week. Mink are excellent swimmers and are found near still and running water in all parts of Ohio. For the wildlife lover, they can be hard to spot in nature since they prefer solitude and are active mostly at night.

The typical diet of this little carnivore includes small mammals, with the muskrat a favorite, as well as birds, frogs, eggs, fish and crayfish. The video below shows our mink "patient" enjoying a fishy meal this morning.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Find more fun facts about the mink from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and at this link to Enchanted Learning where you can download a mink coloring sheet.