Calendars are Sold Out

Thank you to everyone who donated during our winter fundraiser. Together, we raised over $2500 to support the care of orphaned and injured birds of prey in the coming year. The calendars are now sold out, but we are happy to accept your donations any time of year on our donate page.

Raptor Talk at Meadowside Nature Center

Sir Galahad. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Sir Galahad. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

You are invited to a free raptor talk at Meadowside Nature Center! I will share stories about wildlife rehabilitation and my work with birds of prey. Two of my former patients, Duke (formerly known as “Sir Galahad”) and Sterling, will be there too! You can read Duke’s story here.

Light refreshments will be provided. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited so please go to the event page or call 301-258-4034 to register. I’d love to see you there!

Wednesday, January 15, 6:45-8:30pm
Nature Matters: Rehabbing Raptors at Owl Moon Raptor Center
5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville, MD 20855

Master Wildlife Rehabilitator Suzanne Shoemaker shares her experiences and stories from working with raptors at the Owl Moon Raptor Center (OMRC), in Boyds, MD.  Suzanne is the founder and operator of OMRC and an expert on animal behavior, animal adaptations, and ecology. Two of Meadowside’s birds will be present at the lecture — both rehabilitated by Suzanne! Free. Ages 14 and up. Call 301-258-4034 to register. Light refreshments provided.

Happy Owlidays from Owl Moon!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Owl Moon! It was a quiet and peaceful holiday for us, filled with family, food, and five new Eastern Screech Owl patients. More about them shortly, but first I want to thank everyone who donated during our winter fundraiser. We have raised over $2500 to support the care of local birds of prey. I am so grateful to all of you, and I am sure the birds would be too if they understood how important it is for them. If you have not yet contributed but would like to, there are still a few calendars left. Please take the time to donate $25 now, and we will gladly send you a calendar (5 calendars for donations of $100!). The birds and I thank you.

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Eggnog Peers out from under a towel.

This holiday we were able to give two birds the gift of a new start. I released “Egg Nog” the Barred Owl at dusk on Christmas Eve back in her home town of Potomac, MD. She and I were returning from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, where I had transferred her a week earlier for live prey testing. Egg Nog had recovered from head and eye trauma. Arturo had found her on November 21st along Falls Road in Potomac, MD, where she probably had an accident with a car. Fortunately, she regained vision in both eyes. Though her vision will never be quite as good as it was, she proved that she was capable of catching live prey. I was alone as I watched her fly off into winter woods.

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Suzanne holds Nutmeg just prior to her release.

We released “Nutmeg” (pictured above) here at Owl Moon on Christmas morning. Ray found Nutmeg on November 8th in Thurmont, MD. Frederick County Animal Control transferred her to Owl Moon on November 10th. We treated her for a long laceration along her back left shoulder. Like Egg Nog, she had probably been hit by a car. On the day of her release she was feisty and ready to go. The family and I took a break from the holiday festivities to bid her farewell.  Nutmeg took off toward the forest and did not look back. 

December has been the month of the Screech Owls. We currently have five red-phase Eastern Screech Owls: “Dora,” “Nora,” “Angora”, “Diego,” and “Pepe le Pew” (he has the perfume of a skunk!) All are victims of car accidents. Diego and Pepe have head and eye trauma. Both will probably will lose sight in one eye. However, they may still be released if they, like Egg Nog, can show they are capable of catching live prey. Dora and Nora have wing injuries. Dora’s is a fractured right humerus. The bone was surgically repaired by Dr. Erica Miller at TriState Bird Rescue and Research Center on Christmas Eve. We are grateful to Dr. Miller for taking holiday time to help this bird. We are optimistic for a full recovery. Nora has a soft tissue injury in her left shoulder. If the injury does not involve nerve damage, we can hope for her full recovery, as well. We’ll know better in the next couple of weeks. Angora is the latest arriving on December 29th with head trauma. She is lucky that her eyes were spared serious damage, but too look at her you know she has a whopping headache. Her prognosis is good and we hope our medicine will make her feel better soon!

Thank you to everyone who has helped Owl Moon this year. We wish everyone a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2014!

-Suzanne Shoemaker

The Owl Moon 2014 Calendar is Here!

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I am proud to present the third annual Owl Moon Raptor Center calendar! This year’s calendar features striking images and endearing stories of some of Owl Moon’s most charismatic patients of 2013, including a Northern Saw-whet Owl, an immature Bald Eagle, a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, and a Common Barn Owl. As in previous years, it also includes an informative Raptor Calendar with important nesting and migration dates for birds of prey in our Mid-Atlantic region.

The Owl Moon calendar makes a great gift for nature-lovers! All proceeds directly support the care of orphaned and injured birds of prey. The Owl Moon 2014 calendar is available with donations of $25 or more while supplies last. Contributors of $100 dollars or more will receive five calendars. Donate today and get your calendar in time for the holidays!

Details:

  • Dates: 12 month calendar (January 1st – December 31st, 2014)
  • Dimensions: 9×12 inches
  • Materials: Durable card stock covers with a wire binding

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Zen’s Anniversary Gift: Freedom!

Today Owl Moon is celebrating the one year anniversary of the arrival of “Zen,” the Barred Owl featured on the February page of the 2013 Owl Moon Raptor Center calendar. Zen was hit by a car on the I-70 off-ramp in Mount Airy, MD on February 27, 2012. Wes rescued him on his way to work and transported him to Owl Moon. Today we are celebrating because on Monday, just two days before his anniversary, Zen returned home. He is finally flying free again!

Zen soon after he was admitted to Owl Moon Raptor Center. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Zen’s rehabilitation was prolonged and for much of that time we were guarded on his prognosis for a return to the wild. His left elbow was fractured, and the resulting callus reduced range of motion in that joint. We began physical therapy early, and continued even after it appeared that his flight was impaired and release was unlikely. In hindsight, we could not give him a fair flight assessment due to feather damage. Convinced that Zen was not a release candidate, we found him a permanent home as an education ambassador at Meadowside Nature Center in Rockville, MD. Before he could be placed however, Zen went through a molt which replaced his damaged feathers. With time, Zen’s flight improved. We continued to exercise and recondition him. By November his flight had improved so much that we were convinced he could survive the rigors of life in the wild.

While we love nothing more than returning the birds to the wild, it is still a bittersweet moment. When we work with a bird as long as we have Zen. We can’t help but get to know them as individuals, and grow attached. Zen is a boisterous, irrepressible soul. He served as a foster dad for “Little Bear,” an orphaned fledgling Barred owl, and a lively companion for “Lucy”, a female Barred Owl also a victim of a car collision. He was fun to work with and we will miss him. It can be difficult to trust nature to take care of those we’ve grown to love, but because of his indomitable spirit, we know Zen is where he needs to be. We wish him a full and satisfying life, and hope he will raise lots of little Zens.

Zen (right) served as a foster dad for Little Bear. Photo by Suzanne Shoemaker

Monday was a beautiful day here, made even more beautiful by witness of Zen’s release. Fortunately, my daughter Natasha was present. Using a video camera borrowed from her friend, David (thank you!), she was able to capture the happy occasion to share with all of you. Enjoy!

You did it!

Henry the Eastern Screech-owl enjoys a scratch behind the ear-tufts. Photograph by Liz Falvo.

Henry the Eastern Screech-owl enjoys a scratch behind the ear-tufts. Photograph by Liz Falvo.

Thank you to everyone who supported Owl Moon this holiday season! With your donations, we topped our fundraising goal of $2000 dollars! I am proud to report that Owl Moon Raptor Center is starting 2013 in our strongest position ever. Your support will provide medicine and supplies to help dozens of sick, injured, and orphaned birds of prey in the coming year. We are glad to have you alongside us as we continue our mission into the new year.

Happy New Year, and THANK YOU!

– Suzanne Shoemaker

Owl Moon is a family effort. Suzanne and her husband Jan return from a session of creance flying. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.

Owl Moon is a family effort. Suzanne and her husband Jan return from a session of creance flying. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.

The Calendars have Arrived!

A sneak peak from the 2013 Owl Moon calendar!

A sneak peak from the 2013 Owl Moon calendar!

The 2013 Owl Moon Raptor Center calendars have arrived and they look even better than last year!

Our goal is to raise $2000 by December 31st!

Every year, Owl Moon responds to hundreds of cases throughout Maryland, and into Virginia and Pennsylvania, which involve:

  • Rehabilitating injured raptors
  • Re-nesting young raptors
  • Rescuing trapped wildlife
  • Assisting other organizations with oil-spill response

We rely exclusively on donations to cover our operating costs, including medical supplies, equipment, and transportation.

Donate $25 dollars or more, and you will receive a gorgeous 2013 calendar* (five for $100) as our way of thanking you for your support.

*while supplies last

The calendar features twelve heartwarming stories about Owl Moon patients, together with twenty four evocative full-color photographs, and a Raptor Calendar: the courtship, nesting, and migration dates for raptors native to the mid-Atlantic region.

Please contribute through our Donate page and support local birds of prey!

The Definition of Cute!

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Northern Saw-whet Owl. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

This Northern Saw-whet Owl was admitted briefly yesterday to Owl Moon Raptor Center for flight testing and release. It came from my friend Judy Holzman at All Creatures Great and Small, a wildlife rehab center in Columbia, MD, where it recovered from a soft tissue injury to its left wing. It flew well, and was released at Lamb’s Knoll on South Mountain in Middletown, MD. Lamb’s Knoll is prime Saw-whet Owl habitat and the location of a banding station where a long term study of Saw-whet Owls is underway. The study is called Project OwlNet.

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Northern Saw-whet Owl. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Helping Oiled Wildlife after Hurricane Sandy

An oiled bird is cleaned. Photograph courtesy of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Inc.

When a hurricane strikes, the human loss is palpable. Where I live, in New Brunswick, NJ, downed trees and broken windows were the worst of the damage. It takes only a short drive to reach places where the devastation was much worse. In some places people are still without power in their homes. In other places they have lost their homes entirely.

Hurricane Sandy caused extensive environmental destruction as well. You may have seen images of New Jersey’s storm-ravaged barrier islands on the news. In some cases it wasn’t the wind and flooding that caused the damage but the forces they released. In northern New Jersey, several oil refineries were damaged by the storm in spite of preparations made before the storm. Oil from these refineries spilled into surrounding wetlands affecting hundreds of geese, ducks, turtles and other wildlife.

Unlike large open water oil spills, such as the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, smaller fresh water spills rarely receive national media attention. Yet the damage caused by these smaller spills accounts for the majority of wildlife casualties.

Fortunately, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Inc., a wildlife rehabilitation facility located in Newark, Delaware, specializes in oil spill response. Lynne Frink founded Tri-State in 1976 after witnessing the devastation caused by a series of oil spills on the Delaware River. Since then, Tri-State has researched the effects of oil on wildlife and developed effective treatment and response procedures that are used across the country.

This turtle was a victim of the oil spill. Photograph courtesy of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Inc.

After Hurricane Sandy, Tri-State has led the effort to catch, clean, and care for birds and other wildlife affected by several oil spills in New Jersey. Suzanne has attended Tri-State’s Oil Spill Training Workshop, and was recruited to help clean oiled birds. Knowing they were short on volunteers, Suzanne asked if I could come as well.

We met at Tri-state on Thursday November 8th. I watched a short training video, and then was put to work. Eight Canada geese had just arrived. Together with other volunteers, I held the oiled birds while Tri-State veterinarians Drs. Erica Miller and Charity Uman examined them.

First, we weighed each bird and took its temperature. Feathers provide waterproofing and help regulate a bird’s body temperature. When the feather structure is compromised by oil, it does not provide adequate insulation and the birds and can get dangerously cold. The birds were given fluids to hydrate them. Many were emaciated. The vets took blood and feather samples. They cleaned around the bird’s eyes and beaks. Oil is bad enough on the feathers, but it can also cause chemical burns to the eyes and skin. When ingested, it can damage internal organs.

Before returning the birds to the waiting area, each one was given a temporary leg band and photographed for evidence. With oil spills there are legal considerations. Federal law requires the company that spilled the oil to pay for clean up. I was not permitted to photograph oiled birds because the images would be considered evidence.

Water birds were not the only animals affected by the spill. A large snapping turtle and a little garter snake were also among the incoming patients. Although Tri-state is primarily a bird facility, they treat all oiled wildlife.

Suzanne and I spent the whole day helping to clean enclosures and prepare food for the animals. It was wonderful to see the transformation in the animals after they were cleaned and fed. As their health returned, so did their wild spirits. Many began to groom themselves and interact with each other. Unfortunately, help arrived too late for many animals. Rehabilitating oiled wildlife is challenging. In addition to the oil, other unknown storm water contaminates can add additional complications.

For animals that do survive, there is the matter of where to release them once they have recovered. They cannot be released into an environment where they may become re-oiled. It has been learned from experience that birds released elsewhere often find their way back to their original homes.

Fortunately, many of the turtles and birds affected by this spill have already been released. The oil clean-up efforts are going well. It will take time for the habitat to recover, but the immediate danger of re-oiling has been addressed in many places, allowing wildlife to return to their homes.

This holiday, I give thanks that my town escaped the worst of the hurricane damage. I am thankful to all the people who gave (and continue to give) their time to help the people and animals hurt by the storm. I am also thankful to Tri-State for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the clean-up effort.

If you would like to help wildlife affected by Hurricane Sandy, please consider making a donation to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research Inc. For more information about Tri-State, oiled wildlife, and what to do if you find at oiled animal, please visit Tri-State’s website.

-Natasha Lewandrowski

Announcing the Owl Moon Raptor Center 2013 Calendar!

Owl Moon Raptor Center 2013 Calendar, cover. Photograph by Luis Camacho.

Owl Moon Raptor Center is excited to announce our second annual calendar! The 2013 calendar features twelve heartwarming stories about Owl Moon’s patients, together with twenty four evocative full-color photographs. Seven talented photographers contributed images to this year’s calendar. We are sure you will be delighted by the beautiful imagery and the stylistic variety!  Check out the sneak peak below.

10 great reasons to pre-order your Owl Moon Calendar today!

  1. 100% of your donation supports care and treatment for injured and orphaned birds of prey.
  2. Owl Moon is funded completely by donations…so we’d um…really like it if you donated.
  3. The calendar contains many stories and images that were not featured on the blog.
  4. Owl Moon calendars make great gifts!
  5. Do you need a calendar? Do you like awesome birds of prey? You will love this calendar.
  6. Know someone else who needs a calendar? Do they like awesome birds of prey? They will love this calendar.
  7. Have a boring empty spot on your wall? You know what’s NOT boring? Birds of prey!
  8. Need a little inspiration to get you going in the morning? Birds of prey are very motivational (just ask a mouse).
  9. C’mon! You know you want one.
  10. Please, please, pleeeeeease buy a calendar!

Calendars are only available while supplies last, so pre-order yours today!

Donate: $25 each or $100 for five

Donations can be made on our Donate page. Owl Moon is not a licensed 501(C)(3), so donations are not tax deductible.

Owl Moon Raptor Center 2013 Calendar. June. Main photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker. Inset photograph by Tony Zuccarelli.