Posts Tagged ‘birds’

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Snow Pictures 2014

February 22nd, 2014

More snow pictures of the most recent storm to hit NC.

 

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  1. nothing like a goat in a coat.

    Posted by sherry

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Where Are the Babies Hidden?

July 14th, 2013

This nest of Carolina Wrens (CAWR) is the third we’ve had in the Farmyard this year –that we knew about, anyway–. Mom and Dad wrens have been very protective of their three youngsters, but now that the babies are a little bigger, I managed to sneak a peak at the little ones without being crashed into by a grumpy parent.

Look closely, can you see them?

All feathered and nearly ready to fly!

Normally our CAWR nests are well hidden up in the rafters of the barns. This one, however, is my favorite of the season. Can you guess where it is? Post your ideas in the comment section, I’ll post the answer as soon as the babies fledge!

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  1. In a bucket of cleaning supplies?

    Posted by Janell
  2. This is a great game, Sarah! (and great post). I won’t give it away…

    Posted by Michele
  3. Keeper Comment :

    It is a bucket with a brush, but WHERE the bucket is located is really the question.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  4. Bucket from the Keepers/Supply building in the barnyard?

    Posted by Hans
  5. I had a bird’s nest at my place inside an open bag of potting soil! Is it is a feed bag or a bucket?

    Posted by Giovanna
  6. Oops, didn’t see the above comments. Is the bucket in a stall with the animals?

    Posted by Giovanna
  7. Keeper Comment :

    The bucket/brush is not in a stall or even in a building! The answer will be posted soon, keep an eye on the blog!

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Volunteer
I like volunteering to work with the animals and the Keepers (both are quite exciting and entertaining). I speak several languages including chicken. In another life I teach physics, but mostly I just love to learn (anything!) and be outdoors. When not volunteering I like to watch the bears and photograph around Explore the Wild. Follow me on Twitter @ktraphagen

Quik Pic: Photo with new Blue Jay

March 20th, 2011

Animal Keeper Sarah holding new education bird Jaybird (he's a blue jay!). Can you see the tiny alymeries (leather anklets) and jesses (these are harder to see here, they are threaded through the eyelets in the alymeries and are about an inch long) on his legs?

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  1. Glad to see Jay is out of quarantine. Are he and Chicken chatting with each other?

    Posted by Kristen
  2. Volunteer Comment :

    I think Chicken and Jay are still working on the language barrier, but I have no doubt they will soon be fluent in each other’s language.

    Posted by Karyn Traphagen
  3. Director Comment :

    Love the photo Karyn!
    The alymeries and jesses are homemade by Courtney. She made them herself because no one makes teeny tiny sets!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  4. Jaybird….you look great. Sure miss your loud screams around here.

    Posted by Randy
  5. Hi! I volunteer at Alaska Wildbird Rehabilitation Center in Alaska and I caretake a blue jay. We made alymeries but they’re way too big for him – too cumbersome. Can you tell me who made the jesses for this handsome Jay? They look much more comfortable than the ones I’m using. Thanks! Nancy

    Posted by Nancy Podgorski
  6. Director Comment :

    Hi Nancy- we made the alymeries, as there was nothing pre-made that was small enough. Actually, one of our educators made the alymeries. I’ll contact Courtney so we can send you the instructions.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Quoth the raven “Nevermore”

October 29th, 2010

Once upon a midnight dreary…  I decided to write  about crows and ravens. Yea, I know…not as good as old Edgar but,nonetheless I am sure you will learn something in this post. One thing is my birthday falls on Halloween(presents can be left at the front desk),secondly we all know I love birds so I decided to talk about birds associated with Halloween.

Crows and their relatives are in the family Corvidae. You can find them everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic. Whats most fascinating to me about these birds is that they are the most highly developed of all the birds. They are intelligent, sociable and can adapt in many situations. There are about 117 species of these birds that range from 8 to 26 inches.

But Jill, whats the difference between a crow and a raven? Good question. There are some differences between the two. In the air, you can tell that ravens have a tail that is tapered and almost has a diamond wedge pattern. The crow has a shorter tail that is more square. A raven will also soar and flap in the air, whereas the crow will not. Personally, I have had a few cool experiences with ravens. On my recent trip to Bryce Canyon in Utah, a raven was hanging out in the parking lot. I was amazed on how huge this bird was compared to crows. It was the size of Misha, our red tailed hawk.

The other experience was when I visited the Tower of London last year. Now, for a little history lesson, King Charles II decreed six ravens were to be kept at the tower at all times. If the ravens were to leave, the tower would fall and so would England.  This tradition still holds today, and a Raven master is appointed to take care of them full time. He probably helps the tower out in this myth since he frequently trims the feathers so they cant fly away.

I mentioned intelligence a little bit earlier. These birds are known to make and use tools to get what they want. Below is a video of a New Caledonian crow using his brain.YouTube Preview Image

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  1. Cool! This reminded me of this radio piece about crows and their ability to tell humans apart: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106826971

    Posted by kelly
  2. Ranger Comment :

    Nice!
    For a bit more on ravens and their smarts, check this out from “Ravens in Winter” a copy of which sits on my bookshelf-http://www.angelfire.com/id/ravensknowledge/ravensvscrows.html
    Also, check out this video of a “crow foraging.” There’s lots of neat crow videos on YouTube.

    Posted by Greg Dodge, Ranger
  3. Ranger Comment :

    I forgot to add the URL for the “Crow Foraging’ video:

    Posted by Greg Dodge, Ranger
  4. Awesome video – thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Emily

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Vultures

September 7th, 2010

A vulture is probably one of the most underestimated birds of prey. It is associated with death and isn’t exactly the most beautiful thing in the world.

They are the garbage collectors in the world of nature.  They can prevent the spread of diseases that dead animals  may have by consuming them before they rot. They have great eyesight to search for their next meal and are also believed to have the best sense of smell in the variety of birds of prey. Vultures can vary in size from 22lbs to 5 lbs in weight. Their wingspan can reach as much as 10feet, however,  they are built more for gliding then flapping.

Around this area, we have plenty of Turkey Vultures. You will recognize them from their dark feathers and their head which is red,resembling a turkey. There are no feathers on their head for hygienic purposes.  What??  Something that hangs around dead animals is worried about its hygiene?  Well…yea! Birds are very clean animals, if feathers covered their heads, bacteria and pieces of raw meat would get caught in there and pose a hazard. The birds suns himself and bakes off the nastiness on his noggin. But, Jill…what about their legs?  Don’t they step all up into that mess?  Of course,but that’s where peeing on your legs comes into play. Yes folks,  its true,  these guys will urinate on their legs to kill the bacteria and it helps them cool off as it evaporates. You’re probably grossed out by now so,  I wont even broach the subject of defense by vomiting.

Photos by Gohier and Nussbaumer

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Birds of Prey

July 17th, 2010

Many people that know me are aware of the fact that I love birds.  I especially like birds of prey and parrots.  Being, that I am a new blogger, I decided to do a few posts about birds.  In this one, I am going to introduce you to Birds of prey and raptors.  All raptors are birds of prey, but not all birds of prey are raptors. Confused?  Well, a raptor is defined as birds that kill prey with its feet while a bird of prey refers to birds that are carnivorous.  An example of that would be a hawk is a raptor and a vulture is a bird of prey.   They fall under the order of Falconiformes and are under  different families.   Nocturnal birds, such as owls are under the family of Strigiformes.

A bird of preys senses are all geared to one purpose,eating.   Take for example its eyes.  Birds will hunt mainly with its eyes,they can pick up at least four times the amount of detail of something then a human can.  Some birds have great hearing, such as an owl who hunts with little light available.  These hunters also have bills that are shaped for specific foods they eat.Some are designed for tearing through skin and muscle and breaking bones.Some beaks are made for pulling certain foods from inside shells such as the snail kite. Many people don’t know that a birds sense of smell isn’t the greatest.  However, most vultures have exceptional smelling abilities to sniff out that  yummy rotten carcass on the side of the road.  Feet are very important to a raptor, it  is the main method of killing its prey because sharp talons will pierce through skin and muscle.   The coloration of raptors are made for blending in with their environment.   Another feature is flight, some birds soar,some dive,some birds ambush and some hunt out in the open.   I hope to do another blog on this subject alone.

The last thing I wanted to mention was conservation of the birds of prey species.   Many of them are on the threatened list.   Some of this has to do with people shooting birds like Misha.   Others are in trouble because of their place in the food chain,they are one of the top dogs, or should I say birds on the order.  When its prey is affected such as fish being poisoned, it effects the birds as well.

Hopefully, you were able to take some information away with you on birds of prey.   Like I said before, I intend to do several posts about birds.   If you have any requests, let me know.

bird of prey

Photo by Rolf Hicker

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  1. Keeper Comment :

    Jill loves birds, except ones bigger than an owl. Anything larger scares her to death!

    Posted by Larry Boles
  2. Larry,you lie like a rug. ;)

    Posted by jebrown

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Wildlife wins: refuges get to stay refuges

August 2nd, 2009

In a series of previous posts, I have discussed many different threats to the wild red wolf population in eastern North Carolina. About a year ago there was another topic that, had it not been abandoned, had the potential to threaten red wolves and several other wildlife species, as well.

There was a proposal to place a naval outlying landing field (OLF) in the areas surrounding two of eastern North Carolina’s wildlife refuges. This Navy landing field would have been located within 3.5 miles of the Pocossin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, where tens of thousands of migratory birds flock each year. The OLF would have also been stationed very close to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where the only wild red wolf population currently resides.

The Navy had been trying to establish the fighter-jet OLF in the area for almost five years. The plans suggested about 31,000 departures and landings a year, and many of them would occur at night. This constant onslaught of noise would be extremely stressful for many of the animal species living on the refuges, including red wolves. The noise would make it difficult for the red wolves to communicate with one another by their usual method of howling. The repeated low-level flight patterns of the jets would have also put migratory birds and pilots both at risk for deadly collisions. Fortunately, these concerns were addressed by conservation groups and local residents in several court cases against the Navy, and the plans were finally abandoned.

At least for now, these beautiful sanctuaries for our wildlife are not under any threat of an OLF. But this sort of proposal brings up an important question for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): Are there any alternate wild population locations for red wolves in the future? Stay tuned for my next post where I will talk about how the USFWS is addressing this question in regards to the current location at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) and whether it could soon reach its carrying capacity for red wolves.

The information in this post can be found here.

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

The Birds

March 4th, 2009

Lately, when you walk out the main museum doors into Loblolly Park, it’s like a scene out of Hitchcock’s The Birds. The holly bushes are full of berries right now and large flocks of birds are hanging out around in the nearby trees, flying in and out of the bushes, and creating quite a symphony of bird song. I’m not the best birder, but have noticed large numbers of robins and cedar waxwings. It’s a better effect in person, so if you can get out to the museum in the next few days, before they strip the bushes entirely of berries, you can see what I mean. Here’s some video to give you an idea of it:

YouTube Preview Image

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Creature Feature: Misha the Red-tailed Hawk

March 13th, 2008
You may have seen a recent post about Birdapalooza, an event held here a few weeks ago. The day-long event included programs that discussed different species of birds, including raptors. Keeper Jill took the opportuntiy to do a program with our red-tailed hawk, Misha. Misha was born in the wild, but in November 1991 he was brought to the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, N.C. with an eye injury.The staff there rehabilitated him and taught him to sit on a glove so he could be used for programs. The Raptor Center entrusted Misha to us in February 1993.

Misha was shot in his left eye with a beebee that left him blind on that side. Unfortunately, this meant he was not releasable into the wild after rehabilitation at the center. Raptors rely heavily on their keen binocular vision and depth perception to catch their food. Being blind in one eye meant that he no longer had these advantages, and would also be prone to running into objects on the left side while in flight.

We are not sure how old Misha is since he was born in the wild. Red-tailed hawks don’t get their red tail plumage until their second year, and Misha had them when he arrived at the Raptor Center. This meant he was already an adult, at least 1.5 years old. Based on that, Misha would now be around 18 years or older.

For many years we were also not sure what sex he was. Male and female red-tailed hawks share the same basic plumage and they also overlap in regards to size, so there was no way of knowing unless we ran further tests. Just recently we sent his blood for DNA testing and it was determined that he was, in fact, a male.

Misha is currently one of the longest standing residents in the animal department. According to 12-year veteran Keeper Kent, he has barely shown any signs of aging in all his time here. Below is a picture of his beautiful red tail plumage, which is the best way to identify this species of hawk in the wild. The plumage of red-tailed hawks can vary between individuals, so Misha’s colors and patterns will not be exactly the same as others.Please visit the web site of Carolina Raptor Center at www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/ for more information on red-tailed hawks and other raptors.

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  1. Awesome post…it is nice to be able to share Misha with the public.

    Posted by Katy
  2. Misha is tha bomb!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Jill
  3. Wait- Misha’s a male? All the time I visited, camped, volunteered, and worked at the museum I thought Misha was a “Mi-she”.

    Posted by Taylor

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by , Keeper
Although a native tarheel, I came to the museum from Texas, where I taught Biology courses at a small college. In graduate school I studied the behavior and ecology of marine organisms (mostly crabs, lobsters and sea turtles).
You can find me in the Animal Department Monday-Thursday. Fridays I work for the Department of Innovation and Learning all day.

Birdapalooza

March 4th, 2008

!!!***Guest Blogger Keeper Jill***!!!


On February 9th, Birdapalooza offered a further glimpse into the world of birds and gave guests an opportunity to learn about native and non native species to North Carolina. Since birds are one of my favorite types of animals, I jumped at the chance to attend Predators from the Sky which gave information about birds of prey. The Carolina Raptor Center gave an excellent presentation about some of the birds they have rehabilitated and general facts about these raptors. We were able to see several types of birds up close, including Barred Owls and Eastern Screech Owls which we have right here on display in the museum.
The highlight of the day was a close-up program I was able to do with our Red Tailed Hawk, Misha. He is one of my favorite animals here and I love any opportunity to talk about him. Many of the guests seemed interested in asking lots of questions and at the museum we try to provide ample opportunity with our other “Meet the Keeper” programs.

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  1. Great to see Jill get in on the fun! Nice Post Jill!

    Posted by Troy Livingston
  2. thanx, Misha did a good job

    Posted by Jill

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