For the Birds Radio Program: News from the Milwaukee Humane Society

Original Air Date: Aug. 6, 2004

Scott Diehl reports on a Peregrine Falcon with a fractured wing, someone intentionally running down a group of gulls, a Green Heron entangled in monofilament, and a Red-tailed Hawk that had been caught in Tanglefoot.

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News from the Milwaukee Humane Society

Scott Diehl, Manager, Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Milwaukee recently reported some news to the Wisconsin Bird Chat. He writes:

“On July 25th we admitted an injured hatching-year PEREGRINE FALCON. The bird was found down at the South Milwaukee Yacht Club. Unfortunately, the bird has a fractured elbow and will never fly again. However, we are stabilizing the fracture and hope to place the falcon with a good educational/sanctuary-type organization. A call to Greg Septon with the band numbers revealed that this is a male bird that was banded at the Oak Creek Power Plant on June 2nd, 2004.

We got a call last evening from a very concerned citizen reporting that someone had driven their car deliberately through a flock of RING-BILLED GULLS in a shopping center parking lot near the now defunct Northridge Mall on Milwaukee’s north side. We responded quickly and found three dead fledgling gulls and several badly injured second-year adults and juveniles. One had two broken wings; another an open fracture at the shoulder, another had a fractured pelvis and paralyzed legs…All of the birds were captured and brought to the rehab center – not all of them were repairable.

There was a witness to the event and we will be reporting the episode to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR. The local police were reportedly not interested when they were called by the witness to the incident. Reportedly, they said, “They’re just birds” and hung up the phone.

We rescued a GREEN HERON hanging by one wing from fishing line from McGovern Park on Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee yesterday. It took wading out into the water chest deep and then using a 20 foot extension pole with a net to rescue the bird. With a little time, it looks like this bird will be OK. PLEASE watch for discarded fishing line and lures as you bird and pick up any line and lures that you find. Take the material home and cut it into pieces 6” or less in length. This material is a hazard to birds if left in the environment!

In the Good News Department, we were delighted to release an adult RED-TAILED HAWK at West Milwaukee Park this week. This bird had been rescued by one of our volunteers about a month ago. Some police had seen the bird hopping on the ground and tried to corner it with their squads. The hawk jumped on top of one of the cars and wasn’t inclined to leave. Our volunteer happened by right at that moment and retrieved the bird from the top of the squad. The hawk was coated in a material called “Tanglefoot.” This is a very sticky substance that is sold to be applied to areas that you don’t want birds to perch or to things like bird feeder poles to keep squirrels off the poles. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS SUBSTANCE or materials like it! – there are several brands. These materials are not water soluble and will essentially kill any creature that becomes coated with the substance. The animal will not be able to clean it from its fur or feathers and in the case of birds, may be grounded, and in the case of birds and mammals, will lose waterproofing. The products are intended for “nuisance” species such as ROCK PIGEONS, but in fact are indiscriminate in the creatures they affect.

It took three anesthesias and special cleanings to remove this substance from the hawk’s feathers and get it back in the sky.

Please support your local wildlife rehabilitator and rehab facilities. They are not supported by your taxes.

That was Scott Diehl, Manager, Wis. Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Milwaukee.