Friday, April 30, 2010

Beautiful Loon Wild and Free Again

Diving birds have legs that are set far back on their bodies, as you can see in some of the photos of an uncommonly beautiful “Common Loon” which came into our Wildlife Education & Rehabiliation Program this week. The placement of the legs and feet on these birds is ideal for propelling them through the water and diving for dinner, but not so great for walking. In fact, some of these birds can’t even walk on land and they require open water for proper take-off.

The loon in these photos was picked up from a ditch in town of Wellington with no major injuries -- just a scratch on the foot, perhaps due to a struggle to take off from a hard surface.

Once Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's rehab staff had a chance to check out the injuries and determine the bird is largely in good health, the best course of action was to get this loon back to open water. In this case, we released this bird on Lake Erie. There, take off and landing should be smooth sailing.
We generally see these birds during the spring and fall migration seasons since NE Ohio is right on the edge of the territory that provides their northern summer nesting grounds.

Thanks to our new Seasonal Wildlife Specialist, Tim Jasinski, who took the photos of this Common Loon that's now wild and free again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Student Project Receives Habitat Certfication

A group of  Elementary School Students have seen a year of hard work (and fun!) building a wildlife habitat at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center pay off with national certification. The students who participate in the Center’s “After School Adventures Club” program received approval from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) designating their garden project in front of our Center as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Center Executive Director Catherine Timko cut the ribbon at yesterday's celebration of the habitat which is enhanced by a rock-rimmed water feature constructed by the students.

The NWF recognition goes to individuals or groups who follow specific guidelines for creating a garden area that provides food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young in addition to incorporating sustainable gardening practices. The 24 students in the After School Adventures Club are in grades 1 – 4 and hail from a variety of tNE Ohio towns.

The best part of the year-long experience for 4th grader Adam Goyetche of Westlake was, “all the hikes we did collecting items and observing where animals live.” Adam's  said the class has already observed a nest being built high in the trees in the newly certified habitat.

Education Specialists Bev Walborn and Jennifer Lee say they are proud of what the students learned in the hands-on project. “The kids were involved in experiences that created a real awareness and a connection to the wildlife that share our backyards,” said Walborn.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Birds Fly Into Windows Attacking Their Own Reflection

Once again this spring, our wildlife staff is answering many phone calls about 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. What causes this behavior? The bird is seeing its reflection in the window and thinks another bird is invading its territory.

A possible remedy 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).

This behavior is noted all over the world. This very cool series of photos of a Grey Wagtail confronting its reflection were taken in India this Spring and posted on the Bird Ecology Study Group website. The image is by Ganesh Mani Pradhan & Son.

Our more detailed explanation of the phenomenon can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section on Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's website. This is such a common occurrence, "There's a bird repeatedly flying into my window, how can I make it stop?" is the number two FAQ 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 between the hours of  10 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shredding Day Green Impact

If you are one of the 250 people who brought paper to our Shredding Day on Saturday, here's how your collective actions impacted the environment. According to Shredding Network, they collected 4.9 tons of paper, saving 83.3 trees and keeping 14.4 cubic yards of material out of landfills. Shredding Network also estimates 294 pounds of air pollutants and 98 gallons of water were saved through our 3-hour event. All that, plus smart protection from identity theft.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. If you missed this one or have more to recycle, we have another Shredding Day coming up on Saturday, November 6... same place, same time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We Have a Winner!

A Bay Village student has claimed the top prize in Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s 2010 T-shirt Art Design Contest. Nine-year-old Allie Maust’s winning design will be featured on the Center’s 2010 Limited Edition T-shirt. The Westerly Elementary School student produced colorful crayon art, edged in black and featuring a snake, a fish and an owl (animals that all reside at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center) surrounded by the stars and planets from the Center’s planetarium dome.

Allie’s artwork was chosen from among 15 finalists and more than 100 entries from artists of all ages. Facebook fans, online voters and Center visitors helped select the winner by submitting nearly 2,000 votes for their favorites!

Center Executive Director Catherine Timko presented Allie with a $100 cash prize during Spring Break week. She will also receive a T-shirt featuring her design once they are produced. The T-shirts go on sale to the public at the Center’s annual Family Fun Fest, June 6 from Noon to 4 p.m.

Girl Scout Camp Registration Starts Tomorrow!

Calling all NE Ohio Girl Scouts! Registration for Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's 7th Annual "Back to Nature" Girl Scout Day Camp begins tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14 at 10 a.m.
By popular demand, we have TWO weeks to choose from this summer, June 21 - 24 OR July 12 - 15.
All the exciting camp details are at this pdf link.

Registration is taken in person or by phone on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call Carole Lynn Stratdman at 440-871-2900, ext. 211 to secure your space. We suggest you sign up as soon as possible after registration opens because this camp fills quickly!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gull Report On WOIO-TV Today

Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator Amy LeMonds provides the expert wildlife information for a report on recent downtown Cleveland gull behavior. Reporter Tiffany Tucker's story is expected to air today on WOIO-TV Channel 19 at 4 and 6 p.m.

There's a perfectly natural explanation for the large groups of birds observed downtown. Gulls are nature's "clean-up crew." These scavengers do well in populated settings along the lakeshore because of the abundant food sources.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sun Shines On Eggstravaganza

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's popular Eggstravaganza program has been a big hit the last two days! The weather allowed us to enjoy outdoor family egg hunts under brilliant, warm sunshine. Trent Gordon from Olmsted Falls gets a little help from his Dad in the photo at left.

Our soft, white and black bunny Gizmo has gotten lots of pats and hugs from loving little hands during indoor craft time, too. Education Specialist Maggie Watson and Alexis Tisler from Rocky River posed for picture with Gizmo here.

By the way the fortunate finders of two shiny golden eggs (like Emily Hackwelder of Avon Lake, pictured here) won an eggscellent reward.

We had such a wonderful response to this program, we added additional times this year and still ran out of spaces. Facebook Fans, Twitter followers and Email subscribers got the fastest notice when we added times, so if you're not following us in one of those three ways, sign up today!

We plan to schedule even more times for this event next year to accomodate demand! Have a wonderful weekend!