Blog Archive September 2008

Hummingbird Update

Posted on 7 September 2008 by Dawn Keller

On August 21st, we admitted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a broken right humerus (major bone in the wing). We are so pleased to report that the Hummingbird is doing great and it looks like she may end up regaining full use of her wing thus enabling her to fly and be released back into the wild. She is starting to "hover" at low heights - albeit just for brief moments - while we feed her. Stay tuned....

On a side note, I was thrilled to spot a male Rufous Hummingbird in one of the gardens here at the Itasca Nature Center. I had never seen one of these beauties in person. The little bird flitted flower to flower until I turned away and lost him forever. The Nature Center is home to our newest Flint Creek Wildlife location and is located at 130 Forest Avenue in Itasca. Check out the Hummingbird garden on the north side of the property although I spotted the Rufous in the garden on the south side of the building, immediately adjacent to the bird baths and the mew (cage) for our permanent educational Barn Owl.

Hope you find him when you visit.


Birds Released at Itasca Nature Center Today

Posted on 7 September 2008 by Dawn Keller

Today we released the following species of birds at the Itasca Nature Center, home of our newest Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation location:

  • Common Yellowthroat
  • American Redstart
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler

These birds were picked up in downtown Chicago this morning by our Rescue and Recovery teams after colliding with windows in downtown buildings. They received medical attention at our Northerly Island bird hospital and fortunately 100% of this morning's birds that arrived for treatment at our Northerly Island bird hospital survived and were released.

Sadly, there were many more species that were dead when our teams found them....

Visit our website at for more information about our rescue and recovery efforts and how you can volunteer.

Mark Your Calendars for October 11th!!

Posted on 7 September 2008 by Dawn Keller

Mark your calendars for October 11th! Join us for an educational program on migration followed by an evening / sunset bird walk at Northerly Island. We're hoping to get lucky and see the state-endangered Short-eared Owls that have frequented Northerly Island over the last several migratory seasons. The arrival of the Short-eared Owl is a testament to the incredible grassland restoration that has occurred at Northerly over the last several years.

The Chicago Park District and Flint Creek Wildlife have worked together to bring you daytime bird walks on Northerly Island in the past. These bird walks have been a really good time for beginning and intermediate birders as our bird walks are led by experienced birders that can help you learn how to spot and identify the Island's birds. October 11th will be our first sunset bird walk.

Don't forget your binoculars and field guide if you have them. If not, then the Chicago Park District has some binoculars at Northerly Island that they will lend you for the evening.

See you then,


Back to the Wild - Kestrels Recover and Find Freedom at our New Itasca Facility

Posted on 2 September 2008 by Dawn Keller

Labor Day was a day to celebrate the fruits of our labor and release nine fully-rehabilitated American Kestrels back to the wild. The release couldn't have been more perfect - blue skies and the beautiful setting of our new Itasca location with its tall trees, open prairies and plenty of good habitat.

Each Kestrel flew magnificently. Seven of the nine Kestrels has been relatively healthy orphans or babies that fledged the nest too early and whose nests we couldn't locate in order to put them back. Two Kestrels require special mention.

One was a baby with a badly broken wing that couldn't be repaired surgically. Rather than euthanize him, we took a chance and wrapped the wing (kind of like a wing soft cast). Although he had a slight wing droop and we initally feared he would be non-releasable, he flew perfectly in the flight chamber and perfectly on release. We have no doubt that he had 100% normal use of his wing.

The last of the nine Kestrels was an adult female who originally arrived in 2007 with a broken wing. She broke many of her flight and tail feathers and we had to wait until she molted into perfect new feathers before releasing her. When I opened my hands for her to fly to freedom, she flew to the roof of the facility (the Village of Itasca donates space to us in their Nature Center). She sat for almost a minute and then took off soaring. She flew back and forth across the blue sky, gaining altitude with each consecutive pass, displaying a typical Kestrel wing beat pattern (flap, flap, stall). This magnificent bird seemed to be celebrating her new-found freedom after a year of rehabilitation.

We wish them good luck and long life. Enjoy the release photos below. By the way, stay tuned for YOUR chance to see a release! Check the website as details will soon be posted.


< 1 2