Blog Archive April 2007

Red-tailed Hawk Recovers from Spinal Trauma

Posted on 25 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

We were blessed by divine weather last Friday when Patrick, an adult Red-tailed Hawk, returned to the wild near St. Patrick's School. Patrick had apparently struck a window in the courtyard of St. Patick's School in January, causing head trauma and significant spinal trauma.

We began around-the-clock supportive care for Patrick that included fluids, medication to reduce spinal swelling and tube feedings. Unable to stand for almost a week, we monitored Patrick for any signs of improvement. He showed little improvement for the first three days except that his feet, which were intially clenched into tight little balls, began to relax. By day four, Patrick could begin standing back on his hocks. By about day seven Patrick was able to stand, albeit somewhat unsteadily. He began to eat small pieces of food unaided.

After almost two months, Patrick was ready to be transferred to a large flight chamber. Here Patrick spent the next several weeks reconditioning his muscles in preparation for his release......

Patrick and I were joined on release day by several people from St. Patrick's School, Frank E. Lee from WXRT, a Chicago Park District employee and a fabulous volunteer for Flint Creek Wildlife. I removed Patrick from the box and loosened my grip on him. He immediately took off, gaining altitude and flying to a nearby tree where he proceeded to contentedly rouse and preen.

Fortunately, Patrick's initial leg paralysis was completely reversible with intensive care. We wish him long life and many offspring.


Great Horned Owl Stuck in Soccer Net

Posted on 14 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

This time of year, male Great Horned Owls busily tend to their nest. First, the male Great Horned brings food to the female while she incubates the eggs. Later, after the eggs have hatched, he is a critical part of caring for the young.

So it was distressing to get a call in early April from Glencoe Animal Control reporting a Great Horned Owl stuck in a soccer net. The owl had been found by the homeowner hanging in the reddish color net where he remained until Animal Control correctly cut the net to extricate him, leaving us to perform the more delicate work of removing him from the actual netting.

Assisted by Animal Control, we patiently removed piece after piece of netting, almost like working a jigsaw puzzle to avoid inflicting injury during the process. Finally, with all netting removed, we performed a physical exam. Luckily for this owl and for his mate and young, he didn't suffer any injuries - no broken bones, no soft tissue swelling, no lacerations. We turned the owl back over to Animal Control for its immediate release so that it could continue to help care for its young.

Many owls that get caught in soccer nets do not fare as well and suffer from broken wings, deep lacerations or significant bruising. Soccer net injuries can even cause such significant damage that birds are never again able to fly or return to the wild.

Soccer nets should never be left unattended. Schools, athletic associations, park districts and homeowners beware! It only takes a few minutes to take down the nets after soccer practice or on game day and ut the consequences of not doing so could be devastating. A few minutes of your time after a game or practice could save an owl's life.

Thanks for helping us help the wildlife!


Earth Day Wine Tasting April 21, 2007

Posted on 12 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

Come and join Flint Creek Wildlife, including our educational birds of prey, on April 21, 2007 to taste organic wines in celebration of Earth Day. We'll be at the new, beautifully outfitted Kelley Cellars in downtown Barrington from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. Thanks to the kindness of the proprietor, Greg Kelley, there is no charge for the tasting and 10% of all proceeds that day will be donated to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. So come meet us, have a relaxing afternoon, stock your cellar, and help us help the animals!

Description: Earth Day Wine Tasting with Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation
Location: Kelley Cellars
100 East Station Street, Suite 160
Barrington, Illinois 60010

See you there!

Dawn, Phil, Volo (Red-tailed Hawk) and Fluff (American Kestrel)

Mother Fox and Kit Happily Reunited

Posted on 11 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

A very nice lady called us a couple of days ago regarding what she believed to be a Coyote pup or a Red Fox kit that had fallen into her window well. She thought perhaps it had been down there a couple of days given that her dog had been scratching on the top of the deck over the presumably (externally) inaccessible window well. As she spoke, I heard a noise and advised her that it sounded like she had a Fox kit rather than a Coyote pup.

She retrieved the kit from the window well and brought it to us. The Fox kit was in excellent condition - not even suffering from dehydration and clearly had not been in the window well for days. It looked, rather, that the kit had fallen into the window well the night prior.

We kept the Fox kit overnight while plotting the best way to try and safely reunite her with Mom. She ate well but made very clear her displeasure about being with us.

The kit was too old to place her outside in an unconfined space as she would wander off, perhaps never finding Mom and dying - all without us ever knowing. We had to find a way to reunite them so that Mom would find the kit in a confined space that still enabled Mom to get her out. This was the conundrum....

The next morning, we finally hatched a plan. The homeowner agreed to buy a 3' high pet excercise pen. These are the metal pens that stake into the ground - often used to contain puppies, thus creating a confined play area. Our thought was that the kit would bark or yip, the Mom would eventually hear her and come to her aid and that the Mom would dig under the excercise pen to release her. Wanting to avoid nocturnal predators such as raccoons, we felt it was safer to being in the afternoon and pull the kit back inside at dark. The homeowner agreed to keep vigil from inside her house and intervene if the kit was in danger.

We put the kit in the excercise pen at around 2:00 pm, hoping for the best....As we thought, the kit started barking about 45 minutes later. About 5:00 pm, the mother Fox arrived. She circled the pen several times and then started digging. Soon the kit was able to crawl under. Mom and kit wandered off together back towards the den.

We couldn't be happier that Mom was smart and tenacious and that the homeowner was committed to do her part to reunite mother Fox and her kit. We only wish that we had pictures to share with you of this happy ending. Hopefully neighbors will witness the joy of the Fox kits playing together and socializing over the coming weeks. If we get photos, we will post them for your enjoyment.

Please consider covering all window wells. We have seen many animals trapped in window wells that dehydrate and starve to death, or young that subsequently die of hypothermia like a fawn we saw last year. Even window wells that seem inaccessible can often be accessed by young animals.

Our thanks to the homeowner!

Northerly Island Opened April 1st

Posted on 7 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

Effective April 1st, Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation's Northerly Island satellite facility, commonly referred to as "the bird hospital" will be open daily. The facility treats injured and orphaned birds from across the Chicago area and, due to its proximity to downtown Chicago, not only offers convenience for Chicago-area residents, but also has increased survival rates for acute trauma cases such as when birds collide with buildings by 5% as compared to when birds are transported to the suburbs for treatment.

Flint Creek Wildlife will staff Northerly Island daily from 8:30 am until 10:30 am. We will also accept birds by appointment outside of these core business hours but request that you call us first at (847)602-0628 to make arrangements to get the bird from you.

Injured birds should be placed in a bag or box, ideally with paper towel folded flat in the bottom of the bag or box. The bag or box should be closed and placed in a quiet, dark location until it can be transferred to us. Once the bird is secured, please call (847)602-0628.

Orphaned birds should not be picked up unless they are in immediate danger or unless instructed to do so by a member of our staff. Please call us for further instructions regarding baby birds.

To get to our facility at Northerly Island, take Lake Shore Drive to the 18th Street exit. If headed southbound, turn left at 18th Street and proceed under Lake Shore Drive. Follow the road around as it curves north. Keep heading towards the Shedd Aquarium and then follow the road east towards the Adler Planetarium. Before you get to the Adler, turn right on Lynn White Drive. Pass the Burnham Harbor Yacht Club and the Charter One Pavilion. Our building is the last building on the left-hand side of Lynn White Drive. (It is a stone aggregate building with glass and white pillars.) Park in the first parking lot for that building (north side) and walk around the outside of the building to the east. Our entrance is an exterior entrance on the east side of the building, furthest to the north.

Coyote Returns to the Wild

Posted on 5 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

Well, you've probably already heard that the Quizno's coyote is back in the wild after his wild ride in the loop. The coyote had been captured on Tuesday after he wandered into downtown Chicago and ended up in the beverage cooler at a Quizno's. We speculate that the coyote, a young male (about 1 year old) was leaving his family and moving off to establish his own territory. He probably went the wrong direction and panicked after ending up on the congested streets of Chicago. Wandering aimlessly and unable to find his way out of the city, he saw an ajar door and thought it might be his way out! After going through the door, he realized that he was in an even more confined space and tried to jump the counter to escape. Sadly, he hit the counter and fell back into the beverage cooler where he remained until Chicago Animal Control removed him.

Chicago Animal Control called Flint Creek Wildlife on Tuesday following their capture of the now-famous coyote. We picked up the coyote from Animal Control yesterday amid a flurry of cameras, microphones and inquiring minds.

We took the coyote back to our Barrington location with reporters and videographers following. They filmed us removing the coyote from the vehicle and then went over to one of my personal favorite burger joints - Wool Street - where they waited for the verdict....would or would not the coyote be released. Finally, about an hour later, we called our friends at Wool Street to give them the news - the coyote would be released! Although the coyote had sustained some minor abrasions during his failed attempt to jump the counter, none of them were serious enough to require ongoing care.

Entourage in tow, we left our Barrington facility to head for privately-owned land in northwestern Cook County. As soon as we removed the top of the carrier the coyote leapt out and ran for freedom, never looking back. His return to freedom was a beautiful sight.

Good luck, Adrian.

Quizno’s Coyote Update

Posted on 4 April 2007 by Dawn Keller

If you haven't seen the news a young coyote was found yesterday in a Quiznos in downtown Chicago. Chicago Animal Care and Control recovered the coyote and has transfered it to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. Dawn picked up the coyote late this morning and is transporting him back to the Barrington facility. The coyote will recieve a complete examination upon arrival. We will provide updates as news becomes available.