Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eagles Soar Over the Center

It pays to look up! One of our wildlife staffers hustled through the hallways and back offices of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center this week to urge us to leave our computers and appreciate the spectacle of nature outside. They had spotted an eagle soaring in the sky and wanted to share the discovery.

We all tumbled out onto the sidewalk and after some patient scanning of the sky, we were treated to the beauty of not one, but two bald eagles soaring overhead. Instructor Bev Walborn shared binocular views with the kids who joined the small crowd staring into the blue expanse.

Bald Eagles are in the midst of baby season in Ohio. At least two Ohio pairs were confirmed sitting on eggs in the cold of early February and should have babies ready to hatch or in the nest by now.  

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, our state's bald Eagle population grew from 4 pairs along Southwestern Lake Erie in 1979 to a record 215 eagle nests in 2009. Please remember that state and federal laws protect bald Eagles and their nests, so if you come across a nest high in the trees, keep your distance and do not disturb.

Of course, you are always welcome to visit and get up-close to our resident Bald Eagle, a former rehab patient with injuries that prevent its release.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rehab Update: Transitioning From Winter Into Spring

The weather this week has us thinking spring! For our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program that means preparing for an extremely busy time of year. Before we jump into spring baby season, we wanted to share some photos and tell you about a few more of our winter season patients.

Back in January, we had a pair of Screech owls come in within weeks of each other with eye injuries. The outcomes illustrate how unpredictable Wildlife Rehabilitation can be. The treatment regimen for both included steroids and eye drops for the injured eyes. The red phase Screech made a full recovery and was released in Sheffield. The gray phase Screech Owl’s injuries were more severe and did not respond to the treatment. It had to be euthanized.

Another winter patient that was successfully released, was this opossum, found in a sewer with an amputated tail. Although it was lethargic and losing weight when it was brought to rehab intake, it made steady improvement and was released in February.  

Finally, our bat “hibernation” refrigerator is still hosting two winter residents. You can read more about how we care for bats who have their winter hibernation disturbed in these “bats on ice” stories from last winter. Once their insect food sources return, we’ll look to release these beneficial creatures back into the environment.

As we move into spring, we remind you to please CALL US with questions about wildlife BEFORE you interfere with wild animals including spring babies! You can reach us 7 days a week at 440-871-2900 x 204.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two New Eggstravaganza Time Slots!

This just in! Because of the popularity of our Eggstravaganza programs, we are opening up two new times for ages 1 - 5 WITH an adult on Thursday, April 1 at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Update: 10 a.m. is now wait-listing. That was fast!

This special spring program includes a low-key egg hunt (with a special "golden egg" among them) and a visit with one of our resident bunnies. If the weather doesn't cooperate we'll simply move our hunt inside!

Stop in or call the front desk at 440-871-2900 to secure a spot. The fee is $7/child; OR for Center Members $5/child. Pre-register as soon as you can, since space is limited and these will likely fill as fast as our Friday programs.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coyotes On The Move

Recent news reports in Northeast Ohio warn about coyotes coming out of hiding as they work harder to find food in this snowy winter. Our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program staff fields phone calls about coyote behavior throughout the year. Our Wildlife Educaton & Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds was interviewed by WOIO-TV’s Dawn Kendrick today and offered the following advice:

“Animals definitely have to work harder for food in tough winter conditions and you will see animals out during unusual hours when food is scarce. It's not common, but coyotes are capable of taking a small dog or cat, so we advise people to keep an eye on their pets when they’re outside especially from dusk to dawn. People should also avoid feeding animals outside and secure their garbage. Excess food will not only attract coyotes but will also support animals such as rodents which are a large part of a coyote's diet. We never want to alarm people, but we live side by side with coyotes in this area and we need to be aware of their behaviors.”

One of the more interesting behaviors this time of year is the way these canines use frozen Lake Erie to travel. It offers a much safer route than crossing our dangerous highways as they roam in search of hunting prospects. The photos here were taken in Bay Village by Erica Maddox. Erica reports that three coyotes were on the lake the day she snapped the pictures.

Watch for Dawn’s coyote report with Amy at 4 and 6 p.m. on 19 Action News. Check out our one-page flyer, Co-existing with Coyotes, at this pdf link.