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Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Kathy Maas
Bleu (Great Blue Heron) (Ardea herodias)

On August 21, 2015, a surprised Douglas Island resident (near Juneau) discovered a Great Blue Heron in her carport. The bird was hunkered down in a feathery ball. When approached cautiously, he stood upright and spread his great wings; then unsteadily made his way around the building and onto the beach where he again huddled. Another heron flew in and landed alongside for a time but then flew away.

After a call to the Juneau Raptor Center (JRC), a volunteer arrived and attempted to capture the heron who, though unable to fly, was able to avoid his captor on the slippery beach. The next day though, he was successfully caught and transported to the JRC clinic. He was initially kept in a large kennel for observation and later examined for injury. On examination, he was found to be thin but no bones were broken and there were no obvious injuries. Nothing explained his inability to fly. He was force-fed small jack salmon but as is common with stressed herons he nearly always regurgitated his food. Being a large bird, he needed more space in order to reduce his stress and allow him to begin his recovery.

On August 25th, he was transferred to another volunteer's large enclosure that would provide him room to exercise and hopefully regain his strength.

Upon release in the mew, he stumbled a bit and unsteadily bumped into a wall. He appeared to have balance issues perhaps from a head injury or an ingested toxin. Since herons usually catch and eat live food, his caretaker provided 11 feeder goldfish in a large tub of water. A few hours later 6 had been either tossed aside or eaten and by the end of the day all were gone. The bird was standing and walking but showed no inclination to perch.

Small thawed jack salmon were then offered in the water tub, but were ignored so more goldfish were purchased. This time only 3 goldfish were offered along with 4 thawed smelt and the water was set to swirling to encourage Bleu to eat. Very soon all food was eaten. This was repeated twice a day, gradually increasing the number of fish offered until, after several days, the heron was eating smelt and small jack salmon readily and had begun to perch on a log. He continued to make slow but steady progress and began using a higher perch and then flying just a few feet at a time.

On September 11th he was moved to a larger enclosure where he could use a number of perches and fly from one to another. Gradually after some awkward first attempts, he was able to fly from perch to perch eventually landing gracefully. On September 21st he was transported back to the beach where he was rescued. It was low tide, a favorite time of day for the herons to hunt for food. After being released, he immediately flew far out toward the waters of Gastineau Channel, rested awhile and then flew to the edge of a creek where he alertly watched the water. No doubt he soon caught a meal. The reason for his illness was never determined but, given time, he was able to heal himself.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Bato (adult northwestern crow) (Corvus caurinus)

On November 24, 2014, two generous locals stopped on the road near Juneau's Costco to pick up a crow in distress. Bato made no attempt to fly away, seemed to have an injured leg, and was placed in a small kennel until someone from the Juneau Raptor Center (JRC) could pick him up later that day. There were no fresh wounds and he was very hungry, so Bato had probably been on the ground for some time. A JRC volunteer examined him that evening and discovered a bruised left elbow and feathers matted in dry blood over his limp left leg, but no broken bones. Puzzled by the non-functional leg, an x-ray later revealed that Bato had been shot with a pellet gun; the pellet, lodged in the knee, was removed and the wound cleaned, but it had damaged the nerves beyond repair.

Thankfully, crows and other corvids routinely survive in the wild with one leg. Bato received antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for two weeks while he recovered. After several days in a large dog kennel, he moved into an outdoor mew where he was soon flying laps, demonstrating strength and control on the wing. The mew was outfitted with a variety of perches to test his balance on one leg and he was able to perch comfortably on everything (preferring the highest perch available). Throughout his captivity, Bato demonstrated unusual patience and alertness to his circumstances, resisting much less than most rehabilitating birds. He also bathed and ate well, both good signs for his recovery. Crows will protect each other from predators, so as his release date approached, his caretaker kept an eye out for crow activity in the Juneau area. Bald eagles and other predators will target birds that stand out, and Bato would be especially vulnerable immediately after release. During the winter, northwestern crows often band together into large flocks which include many family groups that disperse more widely during the breeding season. They sometimes break into smaller groups to feed during the day, but always group together at night to roost in the same tree. Because they tend to be more concentrated, finding a group of crows can be a challenge in the winter months.

On December 13, Bato’s caretaker found a small group of crows feeding in the intertidal zone south of the Juneau-Douglas bridge and Bato was released there in the presence of his caretaker and rescuer. He flew into an alder tree and perched overlooking the water while he regained his bearings. About ten minutes later, a flock of over 65 crows flew up the channel; as they passed, Bato bolted out of his tree and flew after them, disappearing over the bridge in their wake. They likely met up soon thereafter and we hope that Bato reunited with his family (crows mate for life and can form long-term bonds with their offspring). Bato sports a silver U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band on his good leg, so please keep an eye out for him, and let us know if you see him!


Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Bob Armstrong

Juvenile Albino Robin (Turdus migratorius)

On May 28, 2014, an all white bird with pink eyes was delivered to a Juneau Raptor Center volunteer’s home. The person that delivered the bird said there were adult robins close to where this bird was found. The bird was very quiet when first brought to JRC but after it made its first sounds, it was determined to be a juvenile, albino-pigmented robin.

Bob Armstrong, a local birder who has written several books, took pictures of this bird and shared the pictures with JRC. He also shared a web site with JRC concerning albinism in birds. Research shows pure albino birds seem to have weaker feather structure than a partial albino. Almost every species of bird has albino or partial albino birds. Hence the feathers are more easily damaged. Also, as with human albinos, albino birds lack pigment in the eyes which makes them sensitive to light.

Interestingly around the same time JRC received the albino robin, another member saw a robin at the golf course that had partial albinism with scattered white tail, wing and body feathers but full adult plumage elsewhere. Several years ago, another member reports having seen a robin with a white tail but the rest was natural coloration.

On June 3, his caregiver reported that the robin was doing pretty well. The bird was starting to eat on its own and eating a lot of earthworms, small meal worms and wax worms. He also seemed to be grabbing at crickets, eating berries and soaked monkey chow. It was noted that the bird should soon be able to fly but the tail feathers are not full length as yet.

Most songbirds become prey or are otherwise compromised long before they die of old age. Because JRC’s mission is to rehabilitate and release wild birds, the decision was made to release this bird as long as it exhibited the ability to feed itself and fly.

On June 15, the albino robin was transferred to an outdoor enclosure in order for it to build up strength for flying. The robin managed to squeeze itself through a small open space in the enclosure and self released on June 19. We hope for the best for this very unusual bird.

Photo courtesy of Bob Armstrong

Click to enlarge

Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis)

JRC was contacted by the naturalist aboard the cruise ship Carnival Miracle on April 30, 2014.  These two birds had encountered bad weather and were found on the deck of the ship on April 30.  Upon the ship's arrival in Juneau on May 1, the birds were transferred to JRC's care.  

The birds' feathers and beaks were cleaned with water.  They were also given subq fluids and an antibiotic injection.  They were placed together in a large kennel with netting so that their feathers would stay clean.  They rested all day.  

Later in the day they were taken to Lena Cove ("out the road") for release.  The male immediately went into the water and swam away.  The female, after looking around for a bit, flew away strongly.  

Informational:  Formerly known as Oldsquaw, the Long-tailed Duck breeds in the Arctic and winters along both coasts of North America. It is distinctive among ducks in plumage, molt sequences, foraging behavior, and vocalizations.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Samantha - Red-breasted sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)

On August 28, 2013, a state worker found a red-breasted sapsucker on the ground next to the Department of Natural Resources building downtown. The bird showed no inclination to move and, after 10 minutes of observation, was picked up by JRC; she was likely the victim of a window strike. A volunteer took Samantha home and placed her in a kennel overnight with wild elderberries, some of which she readily ate. 

The next morning, her caretaker put her on a regimen of anti-inflammatory/pain relievers (standard procedure for head injuries) and was examined more closely. She had no visible injuries and was able to fly, but did not have full use of her feet, especially the left foot, and so was unable to perch. She moved around the kennel with her wings and feet, drinking from bowls of diluted maple syrup (which mimics the tree sap she would eat in the wild) and eating from a variety of offered foods including berries, crushed nuts, hardboiled egg yolk, peanut butter mixture, meal worms, and suet. On the morning of September 1, Samantha began trying to perch on vertical logs placed in her kennel; at first she was unable to remain upright, but by the afternoon she was perching upright. We hope to release her soon.

Update:  On September 2, Samantha was transferred to an outdoor mew where she had more room and where her caretaker could better assess her recovery. The mew was outfitted with two tall logs and several shorter logs for her to perch on, since the typical horizontal perches are not desirable for woodpeckers. The logs were smeared in places with peanut butter mixture and suet so she could forage more naturally.  She drank from bowls of diluted maple syrup and ate from cups of nuts and other foods. Over the course of a week there, Samantha gradually gained more control over her feet and legs until she was able to move up and down the logs and could even perch on the vertical plywood walls. Her flying also improved until she could fly circles in the mew without landing (which made capture difficult) and she’d started drilling holes in the logs and bathing regularly. 

On September 9, Samantha was released in Cope Park and immediately flew into a spruce tree. After circling it for a few minutes, she flew into a nearby hemlock tree where she appeared to start actively feeding in the bark. Red-breasted sapsuckers typically migrate in September to overwinter farther down the coast, so we hope she’s on her way there now.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Maas


An Uncommon Visitor!

The Juneau Raptor Center recently had an uncommon visitor arrive for treatment. 

The bird was found alongside Thane Road at the south end of the Juneau road system on August 19, 2013.  The initial report was that a hawk of some kind had been found “flopping” along the side of the road in the early evening hours.  Obviously injured, the Good Samaritans quickly contacted the Center to report the injured bird and a volunteer was soon on scene to recover the hawk and get it into treatment.  Upon arrival the bird was already wrapped for transport.  Picking up the bird the volunteer was thinking this was a pretty small hawk and maybe it was a small falcon or owl but the identification would have to wait.  The volunteer had already put in a call to a second member of the Center advising she would be on the way long before the picking up the bird so all was ready when the bird arrived for treatment. 

Both volunteers were curious as to what kind of raptor they had in their hands and slowly unwrapped the injured animal.  The first comment was “what’s that” followed by “I don’t think we’ve ever had anything that looked like that before.”  The bird was small and dark with long, tapered wings and there was a white patch on the upper and lower surface of each wing.  The head was very small as was the beak.  Again identification had to wait as the initial exam indicated a head trauma that needed attending to.  The bird’s left eye was partially closed and the right did not react to light very well.  An anti-inflammatory was administered and the bird checked for other injuries but surprisingly the bird was otherwise uninjured and went into a treatment kennel for the night.  The next day would let us know how severe the injuries were. 

It was now after 11 PM but the question of what kind of bird was in care still lingered.  But thanks to Bob Armstrong’s book Guide to the Birds of Alaska the mystery was soon solved. Using the grouping of birds in the book it was easy to eliminate most everything the bird wasn’t.  The few sections left quickly revealed we had a hawk, sort of! 

The bird is known as a Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) from the family Goatsuckers.  They don’t actually suck milk from goats or anything else for that matter.  The name comes from European folklore that the birds, with gaping mouths and penchant for hunting in pastures, were believed to suck milk from livestock at night.  But actually the birds are insect eaters and this particular variety normally hunts at dusk.  The Common Nighthawk is usually found in Southeast from August thru mid-September and mostly in open woodlands near the mouths of rivers.  (Again thanks to Bob Armstrong for the descriptions of the bird and habitat in his book.)

The next morning the bird was standing, the eyes were bright and alert, it was vocalizing and trying to get out of the kennel.  The kennel was covered up and all lights turned off to let the bird rest some more and then determine if a quick release was possible.  By late afternoon the bird getting very aggressive in the kennel as soon as the light came on and was hitting the sides of the kennel in an attempt to escape.  A quick exam was done and the both eyes were found to be equal and reactive and no other injuries could be detected.  A quick trip to the back yard and after sitting for a minute or so the bird lifted into the air, made a couple of circles, probably to get its bearings and then headed for the woods along the Mendenhall River.

(photos courtesy Juneau Raptor Center)  


Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Stuart - Marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

On August 1, 2013, Juneau hikers found a fledgling marbled murrelet on the ground in the Dredge Lakes area. A JRC volunteer took him in, hoping to release him the very next day. Marbled murrelets nest on the branches of old growth trees or sometimes on the ground near cliffs, often miles from the ocean. When ready to leave the nest, the fledglings must fly all the way to the ocean without landing and without the guidance of their parents. Those fledglings that don’t make it to the ocean on this first flight have little chance of survival, but we hoped that we could drive Stuart the rest of the way to the ocean and release him among other murrelets. 

The first evening in captivity, Stuart was force fed krill and spent the night on netting suspended in a kennel (netting helps distribute the weight of heavy seabirds and keeps them clean).  The next day, his caretaker let him swim to check that his feathers were waterproofed (a requirement for life on the ocean); unfortunately, he quickly became soaked to the skin and so his release was delayed. At that point, it was entirely up to Stuart to get himself ready for the ocean by preening his feathers to the point at which they would shed water (feathers are themselves waterproof, but do not protect the bird unless they are properly cleaned and arranged through the act of preening). Stuart was given the opportunity to bathe in saltwater every day and was spritzed periodically with salt water to encourage him to preen. Unfortunately, he never showed an inclination to swim on his own and only preened rarely, nor did he ever eat on his own. His caretakers force fed him a combination of krill, smelt, silversides, and herring several times a day, but after two weeks of care Stuart passed away despite our best efforts. It’s possible that a congenital disease, parasite, or other underlying issue preventing Stuart from reaching the ocean in the first place and eventually caused his death.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Gwin and Hansel – Violet green swallows (Tachycineta thalassina)

On July 3, 2013, three swallow nestlings were found on the sidewalk on Franklin Street in downtown Juneau. One was dead and the other two were very much alive, and very hungry.  The surviving birds were put in a box for safekeeping and JRC was called.  Given the location and inability to find or access the cavities that the birds were nesting in, the two survivors were adopted by a JRC volunteer.

They spent their first afternoon in an office eating soaked dried dog food. The next day, their diet expanded to include mealworms and crickets (the diet of swallows is almost entirely comprised of airborne insects, so the crickets help mimic a natural diet). The nestlings were mostly feathered, though some feathers still had wicking and some areas had yet to grow feathers at all. Nestlings are voracious eaters and Hansel and Gwin chirrup sweetly every half hour or hour to be fed. They wake up around 4:00 a.m. and expect to be fed regularly thereafter until about 8:00 p.m.

On the second day, Gwin grew white feathers over her eyes, which is a diagnostic feature of violet green swallows. Hansel appears to be about a day younger and grew his first white eye feathers the following day. They spent several days in an artificial nest, but began perching on the sixth day and now sit entirely on small branches. We hope to release them into a group of violet green swallows soon.

7/15/2013 update: Gwin and Hansel began flapping vigorously on their perches on July 10 and took their first flights on the 13th; both could immediately fly laps around their room (though landing was more of a problem). On July 15, their caretaker found a flock of violet-green swallows feeding above 8th St., likely the same flock Gwin and Hansel were born to a few blocks below. The adults even appeared to be feeding fledglings in the air as they hunted and conditions were perfect for a release.   The fledglings were quickly gathered up and taken there.  After getting his bearings, Hansel took off and made several large circles in the air before flying into the trees where the flock was resting. He was immediately greeted by an adult who appeared to try to feed him as he flew! Gwin followed shortly thereafter. It was an ideal release—look for Gwin and Hansel and their colony swooping over downtown Juneau!


Click to enlarge

“Kevin” American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

On June 29, 2013, JRC was called about a robin in a nest on the ground by Juneau's Thane Road. It was thought a parent might be nearby to care for the baby so the caller put the nest/baby under cover. JRC would check on the bird the next morning.

JRC went to the site and found the bird laying quietly in the nest. The nest and bird were put in the car, the heat was turned up on high, and Kevin was taken into JRC care. It was obvious he was close to death. Food and hydration was immediately prepared, force-feeding him small amounts of liquid food every10-15 minutes for five hours. 

He began to gape weakly and was then fed very small amounts of food. The next morning he was much more energetic.

Since then Kevin rapidly improved, eagerly eating and flying well. On July 14, he was released into the caregiver's back yard to explore. He came back inside at night and as of July 23 he's now back in the wild!

Click to enlarge

Juvenile Raven at Juneau’s Eagle Beach

On June 18, 2013, a local resident reported a raven hanging by its wing in a tree.  JRC responded with long-handled dip net and got the bird down.  Exam revealed a young raven, pink mouthed and bluish eyes.  The tips of one wing were tangled in kite string and it was about 20 feet up.  After removing the kite string, it was determined that the bird couldn't fly and had a knot at its shoulder.

Bird given Arnica (a homeopathic antibiotic) and ate everything put in the kennel.  On Saturday evening, June 22, the bird was examined again.  The exam showed both wings were symmetrical (extend equally) so the bird could flap its wings well.

The bird was taken to where it was rescued and released on Sunday morning June 23.  It hopped up on a rock and called for its parents, who responded.  It then flew up into the trees.  He’s back home!

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Jose Colon

The Three Amigos, American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

On June 3, 2013, Juneau, three baby robins were rescued from their nest, which was built on a strut of a roof in a precarious place.  The nest came loose; the babies fell out and hopped around on the ground.  They were put back by the occupants of the building only to fall out again when the nest fell a second time.  The Juneau Raptor Center decided it was best to take the babies because the nest was not stable.  The robins’ parents were not happy when the babies were removed.

Treatment began immediately after the babies came into our care.  They were fed continuously throughout the day; they were gaping and crying for food.  Every time they were fed they were allowed to fly out of their enclosure.  At first, they only flew to the top of their enclosure, but as each day passed they flew further away and up to higher heights.  They were gradually transitioned to eating on their own.  When they were able to fly to the highest heights available to them and they were eating the majority of the food on their own, they were released in the caretaker’s back yard on June 14.  They immediately began pecking at the ground trying to find food.   The caretaker continued to leave food out for them as they explored further and further from the backyard.  Eventually, they stopped coming back for food. 
Juneau was sunny during this time period the birds were in rehab.  The rehabber had a special moment with the birds after their last feeding of the day as the sun was going down.  They had been fed, it was very quiet and they were all three perched on the top of their enclosure, content and gazing out the window.  The rehabber just stood there and took a moment to just be -- just like the baby birds. 

The American Robin is the largest thrush and could be America’s favorite songbird.  You can see this bird in Juneau, often times hopping along in yards, finding worms.  The robin is found in more areas of North America than most other birds.  The robin eats a variety of food, such as soft invertebrates and switching to fruit during the fall and winter months.  The female robin lays one egg a day for 3-4 days.  The eggs are incubated for 13 days.  Hatching takes 24 hours and the babies spend 13 days in the nest before they fledge.  Robins can have up to three broods in one season but typically have 2 broods.   Some robins stay in Juneau year round, but most migrate.


Click to enlarge

False Outer Point Adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

On May 25, 2013, two JRC volunteers responded to a call about a bird down by Juneau's False Outer Point.  The caller said she would stay at the site until JRC responded.  

The volunteers drove to the site and found an adult bald eagle flopping around on the rocks.  One volunteer went down the hill and tried to herd the bird up to the top so he could be captured.  However, the eagle managed to get himself wedged in a crevasse.  The second volunteer went down to pull him out.  While doing this, she found that the bird had fishing line wrapped around his left foot and left wing.  A pocketknife was used to cut the fishing line that had a double salmon hook embedded in the feathers of the abdomen; luckily the bird's skin was not punctured.  

Once the fishing line and hook were removed, it was determined that the bird could be released the same day.  After release, JRC volunteers watched the bird for about 20 minutes, encouraged him to fly away, which he did.


Young Juneau Eagles Weakened April 2013

There had been a rash of Juneau eagles coming to the Juneau Raptor Center with the same general symptoms. The birds have been easy to recover as they act like they have been drugged. They are lethargic and do not attempt to avoid capture in most cases.

The two most recent cases to come to the Center were found on the same date and in close proximity to each other. These two juvenile eagles were, as the others before them, quite docile and easily captured. The birds were taken to volunteers’ houses for treatment. Both birds began to recovery a few hours later and became very aggressive. The one difference with these two birds was they both cast, or “threw up,” pellets that contained the remains of mice or other small mammal bones and fur. Since the birds were found in the same general location there is a possibility that something in the animals consumed by the birds was related to the bird’s condition.

In years past several birds have been treated at the Center for ingestion of some toxic agent that depressed the bird’s system to the point they could not fly or even defend themselves. A notable case occurred several years ago when three juvenile birds from an outlying community were inadvertently poisoned when they fed on the remains of a dog that had been euthanized. The drug used to euthanize the dog depressed the eagles’ breathing and heart rate to almost undetectable levels. One bird was determined to be dead by a volunteer and was being put in the freezer when the volunteer felt the bird’s chest rise and fall as it took a breath. Luck was with this one and the other two birds as they were stabilized at JRC and shipped to the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Sitka for extended care and eventually released.

May 5, 2013:  Both of the recent birds recovered and in a very short time were eating well,acting like normal eagles and ready for release. Because of the quick turnaround needed for the release there was not time to notify the public about the releases. 

Click to enlarge

Juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

After receiving several pages about an eagle near Juneau's Glacier Valley School, the bird (thanks to the help from neighborhood residents cornering the bird in a yard) was captured on February 22, 2013.  

This bird was reported to JRC the day before, after it was witnessed hitting a power line. However, JRC was unable to capture the bird because she swam across the pond located near Glacier Valley School.

After her capture, exam revealed an eagle about 4 years old.  This eagle still has her brown eyes; adult birds have gold colored eyes.  The bird's head and tail are still mottled with brown feathering; evidence the bird was not a mature adult.  

Upon initial exam, it was found that she had a wound, bruising and swelling near the elbow of her right wing. No other injuries were found. She was given fluids via the subcutaneous route, antibiotics and pain medication. A couple of days later, she was x-rayed to make sure she had no broken bones. Luckily she had none. 

Treatment continued for a couple of days and then she was offered solid food.  The eagle was able to eat on her own and on March 2 was transferred to the flight mew.  The bird checked out her surroundings for about ten minutes and managed to reach the highest perch after a couple of attempts. 

3/16/2013 update: This bird was captured for a specific follow-up examination and it was determined the damage to the wing was too extensive and non-repairable. She was euthanized.


Click to enlarge

Larry (Male adult bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

On February 2, 2013, a call was received from a man at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal (near Juneau). He noticed a bald eagle that did not fly away when approached. 

He called back a short time later to report that he had captured the bird with a minimal amount of struggle.  Two JRC volunteers responded and took the bird to a member’s house for examination.  No obvious injuries were noted. However, the pupil in his right eye did not react at all to light. This usually indicates a head injury. The bird was put in a kennel to rest. He would stand upright only when the kennel door was opened. Otherwise he was lying down or hunched over.

The next day, the bird was subq’d (IV fluid was put under the skin to be absorbed) and re-examined. Again, no obvious injuries were found except the right pupil had very little reaction to light. It was noted that there were some scrapes on his upper beak, but no blood was seen.

For several days, the bird was given fluids via the subq method and a medication to help reduce any brain swelling that might have occurred since that day. He was gradually put back on regular eagle food (fish) after eating liver for two days.  The bird’s right pupil reaction is still slow but is improving.

On February 13, he was transferred to the flight mew.  On February 15, we found that he has reached the highest perches and can fly back and forth between them.  He will stay in the flight mew, get all the food he wants and hopefully gain enough strength to be released.  

2/24/2013 update: The weather today was conducive to releasing Larry. He was released in a valley location so he would be close to where he was rescued.


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Paula (common raven) (Corvus corax)

Paula was observed hopping around the fenced yards of a Juneau neighborhood near the airport on December 1, 2012, and was easily captured in the soft snow. 

An exam revealed no broken bones or other injuries, so she was held in the hopes of a speedy recovery.  She was very hungry and eagerly ate as soon as her caretaker placed food in her kennel. 

After several days of confinement, she moved to a small outdoor mew where she had more room and she was able to use her wings to flap to the highest perches.  After a week there, she transferred to a large flight mew where she spent most of her time hiding in a hide box.  Once access to the hide box was removed, she demonstrated that she could fly extremely well back and forth across the mew. 

On December 18 she was released near her capture site.


Click to enlarge

Meadow (Northern Pygmy owl) (Glaucidium californicum)

On October 6, 2012, JRC received a call about a small owl on Juneau's Meadow Lane that would not fly.  The volunteer arrived and found the bird perched about two inches off the ground in an alder bush. She approached the bird slowly and was able to reach out and pick it up, not normal behavior. 

The bird was examined and it was determined that there were no broken bones.  The keel (chest bone) was not sharp indicating that the bird was not starving. Although the pupils reacted normally, we believe this bird might have struck a window and suffered some kind of head trauma. He still is not acting very "owl" like and attribute this to the injury.

After the first night, the bird started eating and is now flying. We are hoping to release him.  

10/9/2012 update:  This bird improved significantly in the course of one day!  He continued to fly strongly and was eating on his own.  Because it's important to release a bird when it's ready, the decision was made to do just this in order to minimize the bird's stress and protect his feathers from any kind of damage.  

He was released today close to where he was found and carries a numbered U.S. Fish & Wildlife leg band to identify information about him.  

Upon release, he immediately flew into a tree, preened and then flew away.  

Click to enlarge

Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

On September 28, 2012, JRC received a call from one of the workers on the State ferry Taku.  They had just arrived from Petersburg (south of Juneau) with a stowaway, which turned out to be a Sooty Shearwater. 

This is a seabird that sometimes loses its waterproofing and ends up on passing ships.  The first step was to get him hydrated and fed. 

Next, he was put in the bathtub and then onto netting so his feathers were protected and he could preen. These birds do not have oil glands, but obtain their waterproofing through careful preening.

After several days, it was determined he was completely waterproofed, and was ready to be released. These birds are very aggressive and are not easy to handle once in captivity. They have tubular beaks that are very sharp.

10/1/2012:  This guy was able to get one last bite on his caregiver’s hand just as she was letting him go by Juneau’s Eagle Beach. That's thanks for ya!


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Barred Owl (Strix Varia)

On September 25, 2012, a Good Samaritan found a barred owl in the long grass on the side of Juneau's Glacier Highway. When picking up the bird, they cut him loose from the grass that was wrapped around his feet.  Bird appeared worn out.

He was taken to a JRC volunteer’s home and examined. Fortunately no blood was found and no obvious breaks or other injuries.

So far has not shown any interest in feeding himself so is being force-fed.  

On October 12, the bird began to suffer from stroke-like conditions/behavior most likely from residual brain trauma and was humanely euthanized.  


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Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus)

On July 21, 2012, a stowaway was discovered on the Carnival Spirit cruise ship when it docked in Juneau.  The on-board naturalist discovered the bird and turned it over to a JRC volunteer. Seabirds must be kept suspended on netting so that their feathers are not damaged and necessary waterproofing maintained. 

He was fed herring right away and over the next several days continued to eat well, was preening but did not show that his feathers were waterproofed.  Part of his rehab involves swimming and then he would be placed back on the netting so that he could preen and promote waterproofing. 

The bird was transferred to Seward’s Alaska SeaLife Center of August 20, 2012, as their facility routinely cares for a wide variety of seabirds.

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Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

August 7, 2012, turned out to be a great day for one little bird and for JRC. 

On the afternoon of that auspicious day in Juneau a couple were hiking the Salmon Creek Dam trail and ran across a plump little bird sitting in the woods with no other birds in sight.  They called JRC and were put in touch with one of the volunteers.  When the rescuers of the bird mentioned it was black and white the volunteer had a suspicion of what was soon to arrive at his garage so he quickly made up two separate kennels. 

The rescuers soon arrived and showed the bird to the volunteer who reached for the kennel with the suspended net because as he had guessed the bird was a marbled murrelet, a small seabird, and they have to be kept on netting.  Now one may ask what a seabird is doing in the woods of Southeast Alaska and the answer would be growing up.  While marbled markets are seabirds, they tend to nest in old growth timber up to 30 miles inland and then the newborn chicks make one mad dash back to the ocean from their nest site.  The only problem is if they land on the way to the ocean, as they usually can’t finish their first big trip.  But this little bird was lucky enough to find some nice folks that cared for him until he was in the hands of the JRC.

We knew this bird was a juvenile since it was covered in black and white feathers and was ready for its first winter finding fish in the ocean.  During the summer breeding season the adults, both male and female, are brown in color and only get the distinctive white and black coloring in the winter.  The juveniles come out of the nest in black and white and ready for their first winter in the ocean.

The marbled murrlet is considered a threatened species due to loss of habitat.  Since it is very important to save as many of these birds as possible and as the JRC does not have the facilities to properly care for seabirds, our little visitor was soon on its way to Alaska’s Seward SeaLife Center where it has the best chance for survival and release.  We all hope this rare visitor gets on its way very soon.

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Corrie (Northwestern juvenile crow) (Corvua caurinus)

On July 4, 2012, a call came to JRC that a crow was found on the Douglas Highway (Juneau) at the bottom of Cordova St.  The bird wasn’t moving but its eyes were open. It was placed in a kennel but it didn’t move until the next day when it was up on its haunches. It was given food and water and it began to move around in the kennel.

After a couple of days it was placed in an outdoor enclosure where it moved around awkwardly at first but soon began climbing around on the different perches. The volunteer noticed that it wasn’t using its  right leg like it should but it was determined that the leg wasn’t broken.

After a while the bird was climbing up to the highest perch but still not putting a lot of weight on its right leg. On July 10th the bird was moved to another enclosure where it continued to improve and was flying  around and now going to the highest perches.  Even though it was still favoring its right leg some, it could perch and was very active.

On July 24th, the feisty crow was successfully released back to the wild where it flew completely out of sight.

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Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia)

On July 6, 2012, JRC was paged about two bank swallows that had fallen from their nest near a Juneau business. Their caretaker fed them soaked dog food every 30 minutes during the day. Because these birds were close to fledging they were successfully released: one on July 11 and the other on July 12.

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Danielle (adult bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

On July 6, 2012, an adult bald eagle was sent to JRC from Haines.  Upon arrival, the bird was very strong and very unhappy.  She was taken for x-rays and no breaks were found.  Blood work results several days later were in the normal range.  Because nothing seemed obviously wrong with the bird and she was not skinny, she was taken to the flight mew.  She was very unsteady on her feet and shared space with two rehabbing eagles (Aquila, juvenile bald eagle and Stikine, adult bald eagle).  

She was closely observed and fortunately on July 11 showed she could reach the low perches.  She's able to eat all she wants and has access to a swimming pool.  She seems to be much steadier on her feet.  

September 2012 update: This bird has been transferred to the Sitka and remains under observation.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Kathy Benner

Aquila (bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Early morning June 30, 2012, received a call about a juvenile eagle on the ground in the caller’s back yard. JRC responded and found the eagle non-responsive and on the ground soaking wet. She was given antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids (to rehydrate), treated for bugs, placed on shredded paper and a heating pad under the kennel. The bird was not skinny.

That evening the bird had somewhat rallied and no longer laying down all the time. She was given antibiotics, tube fed with a mixture of Pedialyte, Nutrical, and charcoal (in case she may have ingested something poisonous), and also received subcutaneous fluids.

The next day the bird was again tube fed, and offered liver, which she refused. She will be offered this food again and should soon learn that it’s good for her.

On July 3, the bird was much more interested in food, acting more like a healthy eagle and the decision was made to offer a chance for exercise. The bird was placed in the flight mew (with varying heights of perches) where she immediately flew to the high perches!! She shares space with Stikine, a rehabilitating adult bald eagle. When Aquila reached the high perch, Stikine tried to push her off. We’re sure both birds are female as they’re very pushy and loud! Aquila will undoubtedly motivate Stikine to move around more.

July 11, 2012 update: Aquila was released today! She was fitted with a numbered U.S. Fish and Wildlife identification tag on her ankle. The weather was perfect and about 30 people attended. The bird quickly left the kennel when the door was opened and was immediately airborne!

In the News: Aquila the Eagle flies off into the sunset (July 2012)

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Kathy Benner

Stikine (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) (Bald eagle)

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service transported an injured bald eagle to the Juneau Raptor Center from Wrangell (a small community located south of Juneau).

The bird was found hanging in a tree by the Police Department with twine wrapped around the ankle. We don't know how long she had been hanging in the tree (it was at least one day) and the cut was quite deep. Her caregivers removed the twine, irrigated and applied Neosporin to the wound (which had already begun to scab). She was also given an injection of antibiotics. Fortunately, no brood patch was found as this would have meant she was incubating eggs.

She appears otherwise healthy, was standing, very alert and feisty. Because she was not skinny, she was given clean Coho salmon in her kennel.

Several days later, she was placed in the flight mew, fed as much as she wants and also has a kiddy pool for bathing. As of 6/19/2012, she has already reached the highest perches!

8/6/2012 update: This bird has been transferred to the Sitka center so that she can get additional flight training.

September 2012: We are very happy to report that Stikine has been released back to the wild!

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Oliver (Bubo virginianus) (Great horned owl)

On June 12, 2012, JRC received a great horned owl (GHO) from Haines (north of Juneau). The bird was very subdued; not typical GHO behavior!

The bird was given nourishment via tube feeding and rehydrated via subcutaneous fluids. He was also given pain medication and began a seven day course of injectable antibiotic.

The bird was able to perch but it was obvious he had a left wing droop which may have indicated a fracture. X-rays revealed no broken bones. He was offered liver and initially was force-fed. He also began to show more dislike for humans (hissing/clacking) and now is eating on his own. Examination on the underside of the left wing revealed two open wounds with dried blood. The area was debrided (cleaned, old feathers removed) and Neosporin ointment applied. It’s anticipated that feathers will regrow.

7/13/2012 update: Due to the nature of the bird's injuries it was decided to transfer the owl to the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka for further treatment. They report that the GHO is doing well. The tip of the bird’s wing was amputated a week ago so he is non-releasable. He is eating well; they are now waiting to see how well the rest of the wing heals.

Click to enlarge, photo Susan Wiswell

Button (Cyanocitta stelleri) (Steller’s Jay)

JRC was paged late the evening on May 21, 2012, about a baby Steller's jay that evidently had fallen from its nest. The bird rescuer's (Jordan) kept the bird overnight.

JRC picked it up the next day and it was fed immediately. The baby has lots of pinfeathers and even preens them. He is eating well, cleans his beak when through eating and his top notch is starting to grow in. His food consists of soaked monkey biscuits every couple of hours and he gapes well.

He got his name because “he’s cute as a . . . button!!!”

We are hopeful this little bird will continue to thrive, eat and be able to be released back to the wild. Check back for updates.

6/19/2012 update: We're happy to report that Button was released today. He flew into a tree, sat there for awhile and then flew off!


Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Vic Walker

Edward (Accipiter gentilis) (juvenile goshawk)

Juneau veterinarian Vic Walker and wife Sue have been treating a juvenile, male goshawk that slammed into a large picture window at their Mendenhall Peninsula home on October 16, 2011.  Not surprisingly, the bird suffered major head trauma and was very unresponsive when initially handled; their eight-year-old daughter, Sage, simply picked it up and brought it into the house… not typical goshawk behavior! 

The bird was given subcutaneous fluids, hand fed bits of quail meat and kept in a dark protective enclosure.  Responding to treatment, he began to eat on his own and gradually became more alert and active.  To keep the bird from damaging its wing and tail feathers, John Eiler (JRC volunteer/falconer) fitted the bird with leather jesses (soft leather "anklets").  The goshawk was then moved to a small, sheltered, outdoor enclosure and tethered to a perch specially made for this type of raptor.

The bird will be evaluated to determine when it is ready for release and fitted with a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service numbered identification leg band.  Although not often seen, goshawks are a regular year-round resident of the Juneau area.

12/16/2011 update: Edward has been encouraged to fly from perch to perch and appears to be flying more strongly. A possible wing droop has not been regularly detected.

5/18/2012 update: On May 18, 2012, the goshawk named Edward was released at the end of Juneau’s Mendenhall Peninsula Road near the place where he was injured thanks to a break in the rainy weather.

Long time Juneau Raptor Center member John Eiler caught and prepared the bird for transport. About 15 neighborhood people were in attendance and presented with Edward's story as well as information about goshawks in Southeast Alaska. John, with assistance from Susan Walker the bird's rescuer, unhooded the bird and let him go. He flew strongly about 200 feet before alighting in a tall spruce tree. Over the next several minutes he moved from to branch to branch until suddenly he flew away through the canopy.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Ruby (juvenile bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

On September 5, 2011, JRC responded to a call about a juvenile bald eagle in the street in Douglas (near Juneau). A volunteer was able to quickly catch the bird. Ruby was soaking wet, had a full crop, and was skinny. She was taken to a rehabber's home and placed in a kennel so she could rest and dry out overnight. Once in the kennel Ruby was able to stand and was fairly active.

The next day she appeared healthy and strong so she was moved to a larger outdoor mew (enclosure) where she quickly reached the highest perches. She ate well and didn’t appear to have any injuries so she was moved several days later to the JRC flight mew where she immediately flew the length of the mew with ease.

On September 15, 2011, the weather finally cooperated. It's important to get a bird released back to the wild at the first good weather opportunity. Ruby was released at the end of St. Ann’s street in Douglas, proving that she was a strong flier by cruising out over Sandy Beach before turning and landing in a cottonwood tree. Based on the fleshy corners of her mouth (the remnants of the large, gaping baby bird mouth), this bird is likely a fledgling from the downtown Douglas area. She sports a silver US Fish & Wildlife Service band on her right leg, so keep an eye out for her!

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Jose Colon

Kim  (Red-breasted Sapsucker) (Sphyrapicus ruber)

A red-breasted sapsucker was brought to the Juneau Raptor Center July 9, 2011, in an open box, sleeping and completely unaware of what was going on around him.   He was named for his rescuer.  His caretaker was volunteer Sandy Colon.  He was treated with an anti-inflammatory and awakened every hour for feeding.  Over the next couple of days he slowly started to become aware of things around him and would look around for a while and then go back to sleep.  Although he was now awake and somewhat active, he tended to sit and shake.  Eventually, he stopped eating and was then treated with antibiotics.    Within a couple of days, he was like a new bird.  His shaking stopped and he started flying around his room. 

As he became more active, he loved to play by the window.  Every red-breasted sapsucker that I’ve rehabbed that has gotten better loves to fly to the curtain rod (which is not at the top of the window but, in the middle of the window so birds can perch on it and look outside), slide down to the bottom of the window, climb back up the curtain and then do it all over again.   He also had a log that he could “perch” on and climb up.

He was taught how to eat out of dish, which is quite a feat as this is very foreign to them.  In the wild, they drill holes in trees and lick the sap and trapped insects from the tree.  A regular type perch was set up, and at the end of the perch was a bowl.  This made feeding much easier and he really started to excel once he was no longer having to be hand fed.   He was also started on mealworms, which he loved.  It was interesting to watch him eat.  First, he would turn the mealworm sideways and munch at regular intervals and then turn the worm lengthwise and swallow it down his long slender beak.  Most of the time, the munching would be enough to kill the worm, but every now and then it didn’t.  When that happened and the worm squirmed, he would toss the worm away.  Whenever his caretaker came into the room, he would become stressed if he wasn’t given his mealworms right away. 

After he was finished with his antibiotic treatment and he was flying around the room quite a bit, the decision was made to release him.  When he was released on July 16, 2011, he immediately flew to a huge tree and began to climb up the tree.  We watched him until he went out of sight.

Interesting Fact: Red-breasted sapsuckers are not very social and do not congregate in flocks, not even during migration.  They leave Juneau towards the end of August in groups of 3 or 4. 

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Robin (juvenile goshawk) (Accipiter gentilis)

The goshawk! An immature or juvenile goshawk (gos) was picked up on Friday night August 19, 2011, from a local residence in the Valley. For those visiting our website from out of town, the Valley is essentially the suburbs of Juneau. The gos had hit a window while apparently chasing robins that the owner of the house said were quite common in his yard. Of course with numerous raspberry bushes in the yard it must be a good place for small birds, the gos’ usual prey, to hunt. The bird was initially unconscious after hitting the window but recovered rapidly and did not have any lasting injuries. He will be released very soon.

The gos is most often found in the deep woods where its long tail and short wings allow the gos to navigate through the trees with ease as it hunts for prey including numerous species of birds and small mammals. But at the end of the summer, as the juvenile gos take wing. They often find hunting easier around a bird feeder than in the woods. And since this is not the first gos found on the same street it is quite possible there is a nest nearby. The gos in the accompanying picture lacks the white and grey barred underbelly and the white eye stripe and dark red eyes of the adult birds. These will develop in about two years.

8/26/2011 update: Robin was released today at the Juneau Community Garden on Montana Creek Road. Prior to release he was banded on one leg with a numbered US Fish and Wildlife identification tag. He then flew up into the trees. He's back where he belongs!

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Jose Colon
Laverne and Shirley (Violet-green Swallows) (Tachycineta thalassina)

Two violet green swallows came to JRC toward the end of July 2011 and were cared for by Sandy Colon. Both birds had fledged and were on the ground. They were brought in on different days from two different nests in the same general area. The first bird gaped immediately and was easy to feed. The second bird would not gap and had to be force fed for a couple of feedings before she decided she wasn’t being poisoned. The first bird was real talkative and constantly chirped throughout her stay; the second one was fairly quiet, but did chirp once in a while.

Tree limbs were set up in a room for them to learn how to fly. At first, they could only fly to the lower branches and they spent their time between the floor and the first branches (about 8 inches from the floor). Gradually, they started to fly more often and higher up the trees. Eventually, they started to fly up to the very top branches and feeding them became harder. However, I would shake the tree a little to get them to fly to a lower branch. They were fed hamburger and mealworms. One loved the mealworms and couldn’t get enough of them and the other one hated them. She would take one and toss it away and I would have to scurry around the floor trying to find where she threw it.

According to the Cornell Birds of North America website, very little is known about these birds and their behavior. Data that does exist that is based on reports from the 40s and 50s and is based on only a few birds. These swallows are different from barn swallow as they nest in very small colonies or on their own. They nest in Alaska and in the Western states and migrate to California, Arizona and on down through Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. They eat while flying, catching insects. They are not known to eat any other types of food. They eat the insects at higher heights than other swallows.

These two were named Laverne and Shirley because they bickered all the time, yet wanted to be with each other. It is fun watching them chase each other, play and learn to fly. Eventually, the day came when I made the decision it was time to release them. They were well fed and flying so well that one of them took a piece of hamburger while she flew by her meal! They were released on August 6th and immediately flew out of the kennel and up into the air; they flew quite high -- flying in a circle as they went. They flew for about 5 minutes high up in the air before flying out of sight, hopefully eating insects.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Debbie Maas
Elliot (Cassin’s auklet) (Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus)

On August 4, 2011, a Cassin’s auklet arrived in Juneau on a cruise ship. Cassin’s auklets are semi-nocturnal, flying to and from their burrows at night during the breeding season.

Elliot was a juvenile bird, so wasn’t returning to a nest to care for young, but may have been flying at night when he collided with a cruise ship (sea birds are sometimes attracted to the lights of ships at sea).

When the ship arrived in Juneau, he was dropped off with a local resident working on the docks and the Juneau Raptor Center was called to pick him up. He was subdued when he came under care, probably stressed out, dehydrated, and hungry.

After a few hours of rest he began heartily eating hand-fed pieces of smelt and immediately became more active and energetic. An exam revealed no problems and a dip in water revealed that he was still sufficiently waterproofed.

He was kept overnight on netting (which distributed his weight equally over his body—an important step in rehabilitating sea birds) and the next day arrangements were made to fly him as quickly as possible closer to the outer coast. Cassin’s auklets live year-round close to the open ocean, nesting on islands that lack land predators, and are not found near Juneau. Alaska Seaplanes graciously agreed to fly Elliot to Pelican, an area much closer to auklet territory than Juneau, and release him.

Click to enlarge, photo courtesy of Liz Stahl

Samantha (juvenile bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Early morning on June 17, 2011, JRC volunteers responded to a call via our pager about a juvenile bald eagle in the caller's yard near Juneau's Western Auto Store. She was found face down with wings partially outstretched.  The bird was unconscious and barely moved when she was picked up.  She was taken to a volunteer's home to rest.  For two days, her eyes did not open.  She was given subcutaneous fluids to keep her hydrated.  On the third day, a foul odor was noticed.  Upon looking into the kennel, the bird had regurgitated a large amount of what was probably rotten food. Several hours later the bird was standing and being quite active!

That same day she was tube fed with a mixture of Pedialyte, Baytril (antibiotic), Nutrical and baby food.  She quickly regained her strength, graduated to chicken livers, then salmon, and had no hesitation in letting you know that she was now in charge.  

On June 25, she was transferred to the flight mew.  She flew immediately up to the tallest perch!  She then joined adult bald eagle Quince on the perch and started eating the food left in the mew. She was named Samantha at the request of the lady who called about her. 

8/6/2011 update: The weather was finally cooperative today and the decision made that it was time to release Samantha. She was taken back to where she was found, immediately flew out of the travel kennel and flew up into a nearby tree. Several crows came to harass her and "welcome" her back to life in the wild! She was observed flying from tree to tree for about 10 minutes (with the crows in tow) and vocalizing. She's back where she belongs!


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Baby crow (Northwestern Crow) (Corvus caurinus)

On June 19, 2011, a couple found a baby crow on the ground at Juneau’s 15 mile. Because it was in immediate danger from predators, they decided to rescue it and deliver it to a JRC volunteer.

The baby was thin, but able to perch. It was given some baby food at first and then force fed some soaked dog food every hour or so. The baby eventually started grabbing food from the volunteer's hand and becoming very active. It is now starting to eat a variety of food on its own and will soon be able to go into a large enclosure to practice flying before it can be released back to the wild.  Check back for updates. 

7/20/2011 update: We're happy to report this little crow has made a total recovery. He was able to be released with another young crow on July 20, 2011.

Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Fledgling ravens (common raven) (Corvus corax)

In early June 2011, two fledgling ravens were picked up by JRC, both fully feathered but not quite eating on their own. After a few days of force feeding, then hand feeding, both fledglings graduated into a large mew to join Gary (an older raven on our bird rehab page) to grow up and learn to fly. They both frequently make soft cooing sounds and, in the beginning, begged each other and Gary for food. As of June 18, one of the fledglings is able to reach the highest perches and will be released soon. They’re enjoying a diet of venison (from road-killed deer donated to JRC), salmon (donated from DIPAC and Taku Fisheries), eggs, peanut butter, blueberries, and a variety of other foods. Check again for updates.

8/17/2011 update: About a week after Jeremy (the larger of the two ravens) began flying to the highest perches in the mew, Susie followed suit and proved she could fly equally well. On July 6, both fledglings were released together near the Juneau Federal Building where large numbers of ravens live year round. When he saw and heard nearby ravens, Jeremy raised his raven “ears.” When released, he flew onto a nearby roof and then out of sight; Susie flew a shorter distance where she was harassed by some of the locals. Look for both of these birds in the area. Susie sports a silver USFWS band on her left leg and Jeremy sports his band on his right leg.

Update 12/11: In mid-December, 2011, an emaciated raven was anonymously dropped off at a vet’s office and was euthanized. The silver U.S. Fish and Wildlife band on his leg identified his as Jeremy, released five months earlier. Although it was sad to learn of Jeremy’s death (he had no obvious injuries, so was probably a “failure to thrive” victim), it is actually encouraging that a juvenile raven separated from his parents before fledging was able to survive as long as he did, as only about 50% of juvenile ravens survive their first year even when fully raised by their parents.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

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Quince (adult bald eagle) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

On May 10, 2011, a report was received of an adult eagle down near Juneau’s 15 mile Glacier Highway. The initial report was the bird appeared to have a broken wing and was unable to fly. The bird was captured by JRC volunteers along with help from bystanders and brought in for an exam.

The bird was thin and upon examination there were no signs of a broken bone. The bird was treated for dehydration, tubed with fluids to provide nutrition while not causing the bird to use much energy digesting whole foods. The bird rapidly figured out the treatment routine and was quite easy to care for. She is a big, picture perfect female who was quickly put on solid food; she has graduated to the flight mew for further evaluation and hopefully eventual release.

This bird is quite the character. For an eagle, she is relatively mellow with a wonderful disposition. During her first few days at JRC, we would put her back in her kennel and she would get up on her perch, look at the kennel floor (lined with newspapers), and appeared to be reading the paper! She was actually looking for food, but it was quite comical to watch. After she started to recover and was on solid foods, she would come to the front of her kennel and vocalize. She is now enjoying her “vacation” in the flight mew, is getting stronger every day and now can fly to the high perches.

6/17/2011 update: We're glad to report that Quince is now on the highest perches and apparently enjoying the company of another bald eagle, Loopy.

8/1/2011 update: Quince was released today near where she was found. Upon release from the kennel, she flew about 200 feet and sat on the ground looking around for a while to get her bearings. After sitting there for a couple of minutes, she flew to a tree looking around; she stayed in the tree for about 5 minutes, then flew off into the distance and was no longer visible. She continued to vocalize as she has done since we first got her and throughout all her rehab and successful release back to the wild!

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Chestnut-backed chickadees (Poecile rufescens)

On May 2, 2011, a JRC volunteer responded to a call about some abandoned baby birds inside a bird house on a property in the Lemon Creek area. The caller said she hadn't seen the parent birds for a couple of days. What was found were 4 tiny very hungry baby Black-capped chickadees. They did have some feathering and their eyes were open, but needed urgent care.

A comfortable nest was made using a plastic margarine tub lined with tissues that could be easily changed to keep it clean. The tub was placed in a small kennel to keep them safe in case any of them managed to crawl out of their "nest.”

They were fed a commercial baby bird formula about every hour during the daylight hours. As of this writing (June 8), the babies are now in a 5 gallon aquarium with a mesh top; aquarium also contains some branches in it for perching and a shallow dish of water. They are now old enough to begin to pick at seeds that are scattered around for them. One of them managed to flutter out of the aquarium when the mesh was removed for a short time. It won't be long now and they will be eating on their own and will have to be moved to a small mew so they can practice flying before they are released back to the wild. Checkwww.juneauraptorcenter.org/rehabprofiles.php for an update.

6/11/2011 update: Sadly, three of these little birds have recently died. This often happens with such young birds. One day they can be very active, chirping and gaping for food; you check on them again and have this sad outcome. We've got our fingers crossed for the one remaining.

6/15/2011 update: We are sad to report that the last of the four chickadees has died.

Click to enlarge

Landfill adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Why would you call an adult bald eagle “Landfill?” Because it sounds better than “sludge pond” where this bird was found on May 19, 2011. That’s right; the eagle was in the sludge pond at the local landfill. After being unceremoniously removed from the pond in the bucket of a front-end loader, the bird was taken to the usual treatment location: a garage. The people responding to the call for assistance were faced with a foul smelling mud and who knows what else covered the bird.

The bird was washed in a deep sink and then put in front of a heat lamp to dry out.  The next morning the bird was dry but still caked in a now hardened mud- like substance.  The bird was treated for possible infections and given fluids as he was pretty skinny.  The decision was made to send the bird to another center where he could receive appropriate care and wait for all his damaged feathers to molt.

One very interesting aspect to this bird was it either had an old, healed injury or a birth defect.  Just in front of the cere (the fleshy part of the beak near the eyes), there was a large depression and you could look straight up the bird’s nose for want of a better term.  This made for a very strange looking bird and a lot of discussion was to what happened but the defect was old and if a wound, completely healed.  We certainly hope this unique look eagle gets well and is released. 

Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Jose Colon

Edna (red-breasted sapsucker) (Sphyrapicus ruber)
A red-breasted sapsucker was brought to the Juneau Raptor Center on Tuesday evening, May 10, 2011.  The bird was rescued from a couple of crows who were attacking the bird.  She looked like she had been in a boxing match and she was the loser.  Her eye was badly swollen and she did not feel like doing anything but sitting.  She was given steroids, painkillers, rest and food.  With each passing  day the swelling continued to go down as her activity level increased.  She was released on Friday, May 13.  She was ready for her release as soon as she saw the light; she flew out of her kennel, took a couple of circles around the area, flying higher as she went and flew to a clump of trees.  Sadly, she laid an egg during her convalesce.  She was named Edna after the woman who brought her in; pretty, sweet but tough.  

A red-breasted sapsucker is a type of woodpecker that drills holes in the barks of trees and licks up the sap;  they also eat insects by foraging on the tree and those caught in the sap, like a flytrap.  Sapsuckers play a vital role in the local  ecology as the holes they drill provide a food source and nesting sites for several other species of birds.  These woodpeckers arrive in Juneau in the spring for breeding and raising their young and leave for British Columbia and on down through to California for winter.  These birds are mostly monogamous and will pair up in each following season, if both birds survive.

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Baby pine siskins (Carduelis Pinus)

On April 12, 2011, JRC received a call about a baby bird on the ground that the caller's dog was playing with. The volunteer who picked it up couldn't find any injuries on the bird that turned out to be a baby Pine Siskin. Though it was fully feathered, it was not eating on its own yet. At first it had to be forced fed some commercial baby bird formula about every hour or so.

The next day a call came about 2 baby birds found on the ground in another neighborhood. They seemed to be about the same age as the first one and were also Pine Siskins. By this time the first baby was gaping and willingly accepting hand feeding. It was hoped that the other two would catch onto it by example. One of them did and continued to thrive. Sadly, one did not survive.

The two survivors were eating every couple of hours. The youngsters were provided with lots of their favorite seeds and began picking at them. Soon they were refusing the hand feeding and eating more seeds and also enjoying bathing in the water dish. On April 20, the volunteer decided that because they were finally eating on their own, could fly, and were not interested in human contact, that it was time for them to go. They flew off immediately to join a flock of Pine Siskins that were in the area.

Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Jose Colon

Adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

In October 2010, JRC received an adult bald eagle with a suspected broken right wing. Examination revealed the bird had a broken right humerus that was not displayed or had a compound fracture. Treatment given was splinting the wing to the body for immobilization. This worked well and three weeks later (10/29/2010) an x-ray revealed that a nice callus had formed; the bird was cleared to go into the flight mew.

As of 2/15/2011, this bird had progressed so much that he's reaching the highest perches in the flight mew and has good maneuverability and flight ability. He will stay with us for the winter and a spring release planned when more food is available.

4/11/2011 update: This bird continues to gain strength and flies well in the flight mew.

5/22/2011: Bird released this date at Juneau's Fish Creek. There will be lots of food for this bird in this area!

Photo Courtesy of Jose Colon

Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Scot Tiernan

Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

On December 15, 2010, an eagle - later identified as a small male golden eagle - was transported to our care from the Wrangell U.S. Forest Service.  Examination revealed a bird able to stand but very thin and dehydrated.  Initial care was tube feeding with Pedialyte, Nutrical, vitamins and sub-q fluids.  No breaks were found and the bird had full extension on both wings.  He was housed in a large kennel. After several days the bird had improved and it was given liver.  Bird continued to improve and he was then given clean deer meat.  

After Christmas the bird was transferred to Anchorage’s Bird Treatment and Learning Center for continued care and over-wintering.  It’s anticipated the bird will be released in the spring.  

Why did he show up in Southeast Alaska?  The thought is that during migration he got lost as SE Alaska is not an area conducive to golden eagles; they are primarily found in Alaska’s Interior locales.

Update from Bird TLC as of 1/5/2011:  The Golden Eagle is doing great!  He’s in a wrap for his foot (possible broken toe), is still on Flagyl for the frounce (a highly contagious yeast infection of the digestive tract) and is eating like a champ.  He still has a couple of lesions in his mouth, we are monitoring those.

Update from Bird TLC as of 9/17/2011: Bird TLC reports this bird was released in Anchorage on April 17, 2011, at “Hawk Watch,” which is part of the national Hawk Watch migration counts in the spring and fall. More more information on Hawk Watch, see video.

Photos courtesy of Scot Tiernan

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Archie (Barrow’s Goldeneye Duck) (Bucephala islandica)

On November 12, 2010, a Barrow's Goldeneye was found sitting in the median of Juneau’s Back Loop Road near the University of Alaska Southeast’s Rec Center following a strong southeasterly storm. The bird appeared to be stunned and was far from his preferred habitat (open water). Archie spent his first night with JRC in a kennel with a tub of water where he heartily ate brine shrimp, meal worms, and moistened dry dog food.

The next day, Archie was moved to an outdoor mew with two large tubs of water and blue mussels were added to his diet. He has no obvious injuries, his appetite is good, and he swims and walks well (for a sea duck).

We hope that he'll be eligible for release in the near future to join the rest of the Goldeneyes gathering along Juneau's shores.

December 3, 2010 update:  About a week after this bird came to JRC, the decision was made to send the bird to Anchorage’s Bird TLC as x-rays had revealed a broken wing.  

On 11/29/2010 Cindy Palmatier, Director of Avian Care, Bird TLC, reported:  “The little beggar is eating us out of house & home!  He loves chopped clams and feeder goldfish! We were able to get a pin in the wing, and the bird is behaving fairly well.  We will do another exam on it on Thursday to evaluate progress.”

A follow-up was exam conducted on 12/2/2010 and Cindy reports:  “He’s doing great.  The vet thought that there was a nice callus starting to form on the bone already, so we’ll keep going with what we’ve been doing.  

He’s such a good eater!  Loves chopped clams, cut up salmon and ADORES feeder fish!”

Archie is doing well.  Check back for updates.

December 13, 2010 update from Cindy Palmatier, Director of Avian Care, Bird TLC:  The goldeneye is doing quite well.  We’ve got it in water now, will take an x-ray this week to evaluate the wing, if it’s stable we will get ready to send down to SeaLife Center in Seward. It’s still eating like a champ, and is mostly waterproof.  Its feet were getting sore with not being in water, so we moved his swim date up a bit, but it is taking a chance since we had to remove the wrap on his wing.  It’s only the pin holding it now, but he’s being good so we are hopeful.

Note from JRC:  Many thanks to Bird TLC for their care and updates on Archie; we're also very grateful to them for providing this recent photo.

January 10, 2011, update from the Anchorage Bird Treatment and Learning (Bird TLC) Center:  Archie is unable to be released back to the wild.  Bird TLC reports that the Seward Alaska SeaLife Center now has Archie at their facility.  The plan is that Archie will soon be permanently placed at the New York Central Park Zoo -- an excellent home for Archie!

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Fireside (barred owl) (Strix varia) 

Received on February 6, 2010. The car was traveling out-the-road as it is referred to in Juneau when the headlights lit the owl on the side of the road.  But this owl didn’t move when the car approached.  The people stopped and it was immediately obvious that the owl was injured but there was no way to tell what had happened.  These good folks picked up the owl and delivered it to a local falconer associated with the Juneau Raptor Center. The next day the owl was brought to the home of one of the Center’s rehab specialists for initial treatment.  The owl’s right eye was closed and it had all the symptoms of a severe head injury; based on the location where it was found it is assumed the bird was struck by a car.

Treatment was started and the waiting game began.   Head injures bring numerous complications and we didn’t know what was in store for this bird.  A visit to the vet revealed an eye injury but no broken bones.  Slowly the bird rallied and is now showing the inquisitive nature of the owls.  He watches the person who provides his care and food and seems to be interested in everything going on in the garage that is now his temporary home.  The bird can feed himself (he was initially hand fed during the early stages of his treatment) and is getting stronger every day.   If this bird can be released is still a question.  There is a problem with the right eye and he may be blind in that eye.   The person caring for the bird has been in contact with the Owl Foundation in Toronto, Canada about the potential for releasing this bird.  But there is still some treatment and observation needed before a decision can be made.  Check back for an update!

August 2010 update:  This bird has made quite a turnaround.  When first placed in a large outdoor enclosure, this bird was very docile and not acting at all like a wild bird.  We're glad to report that he now has transformed into a normal-acting owl; when we enter the enclosure, he will "clack" his mouth at us -- warning us to stay away.  When approached, he also flies away strongly.  He has a great appetite and has demonstated he can catch/kill live prey.  One more visit will be scheduled with Dr. Preecs, Juneau ophthalmologist, to assist in determining if this bird can be released. 


November 5, 2010 update: Although still blind in one eye, experts determined that Fireside would be able to hunt and survive in the wild. Unfortunately, local weather was not very cooperative in October and early November, so the release was delayed for some days; finally, a break in the rain and wind on November 5 prompted his caretakers to go forward with the release. Fireside was banded with a USFWS numbered identification tag and taken to Outer Point for release, where the weather continued to cooperate. Fireside flew up into a nearby hemlock tree (with impressive maneuverability) and sat among the branches for some time before hopping onto a bigger branch closer to the trunk. When his caretakers left, he was still studying everything around him very intently.




Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Debbie Maas

Rachel (northwestern crow) (Corvus caurinus)

On September 12, 2010, a crow (Rachel) flew into Juneau's lower tram building from the waterfront side and ran into many windows before she was finally captured.  Rachel’s wings seemed to function well, but she was unable to stand and appeared to have no strength or control over her legs.  For three days she was force fed and laid on her side, but then started to eat on her own when food was handed to her. X-rays revealed no broken bones, so she was treated with an anti-inflammatory and fluids in the hopes of a quick recovery.  Unfortunately, after two weeks, Rachel is still struggling, though she continues to slowly improve.  After about four days she was able to sit upright on her legs and belly  and after two weeks she began trying to stand in earnest.  On September 27 she was able to sit on the lower half of her legs with the rest of her body off the ground, which is a vast improvement.  We hope for the best. 

Update 10/11/10:  Rachel has been moved to a larger indoor enclosure where she is able to use her wings to move about.  Her caretaker reports that Rachel now eats on her own.  However, she is still unable to stand or walk.

Update 11/11/10: Rachel moved to a large outdoor mew; though she still cannot fully stand, she flies extremely well and moves freely among the highest perches.

Update 2/7/2011 : In December 2010, Rachel regained full use of her legs after two months of rehabilitation in captivity. She will be released in March 2011 when food sources become more abundant.

Update 3/19/2011: Rachel was released near a flock of crows at Juneau's Sheep Creek during the morning low tide. She made a remarkably strong flight to shelter in a nearby spruce tree, calling immediately and several more times in the next few minutes. Crows in the flock appeared to call in response. Please keep an eye out for a crow with a silver leg band in the downtown area!

Update 10/29/14: A crow was spotted at the ADF&G headquarters building south of the Juneau-Douglas Bridge that wore a single U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band. As the only other banded crows known in Juneau wear three colored bands in addition to the silver band, this crow was likely Rachel, three and a half years after her release as a juvenile!


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Phillipe, Penelope, and Maybeline (dark-eyed juncos) (Junco hyemalis)

On May 27, 2010, a Switzer Village resident in Juneau found three fledgling birds in her backyard.  They were fully feathered (though their tails were only half an inch long) and looked like tiny streaked sparrows;  the only hint of their species were the short white outer tail feathers that identified them as juncos.  The three tiny birds grew rapidly from huddling, fluffy bundles to active hopping and fluttering juveniles.  They soon began to eat on their own, foraging on the bottom of their cage, and spent time each day outside to get accustomed to the environment.  They were released on June 6 and spent the day in the same vicinity, often foraging in nearby leaf litter.  All were hand fed that evening.  Maybeline reappeared the next day and was fed, then they were seen no more!


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Rowen (American robin) (Turdus migratorius

On May 31, 2010, a fledgling robin was discovered in the middle of Juneau's Judy Lane in the Highlands.  Her left foot was unresponsive, but she was able to stand and balance on her ankle.  She refused to gape for food and had to be force fed for two days before she began opening her mouth on her own.  After four days, her foot suddenly made a full recovery, but her left wing would not extend fully when she flapped.  Rowen then began receiving physical therapy to keep the wing flexible.  On June 8 she moved into an outdoor mew with a jungle gym of sticks to encourage her to use her wings.  She enjoyed bathing and standing in front of a mirror, and gradually gained strength until she was flying ably around the mew with a fully recovered wing.  Her favorite food was meal worms, which she hunted and ate from a tub of dirt and leaf litter on the floor of her mew.  She developed a lump on her left foot which was treated with antiseptic until her release in her home neighborhood on June 30.


Click to enlarge, Photo courtesy of Jose Colon

Fly Away (northwestern crow) (Corvus caurinus)

On July 16, 2010, Discovery Southeast, a nature education group, was on an outing with a group of kids at Juneau’s Point Louisa when they spotted a crow that had gotten stuck in a rock and couldn’t fly.

Kaitlin, the leader of the group, called the Juneau Raptor Center’s emergency pager.  Two volunteers responded and the group watched them run up and down the beach trying to catch the crow. The kids were very interested in the crow and what was going to happen to him so we spent some time talking to the group.

We later examined the crow and found nothing wrong; he was, however, a very young crow. He was kept in a kennel for a few days to make sure he was okay and then was later transferred to a larger enclosure so he could practice flying.

Before he was released we brought the group back to see the crow one last time in the flight mew.  The Discovery Southeast kids named him Fly Away because he couldn’t fly and now he could. We all left, leaving the door open for the crow to self release. We went back after a few hours and found that the crow had indeed lived up to his name, Fly Away.

Thanks to this great group of kids and their leader for taking the time to rescue this young bird and coming back to see he’s recovered and was able to be released!  Learn more about Discovery Southeast at their website:  www.discoverysoutheast.org.

  More Rehab Bird Profiles

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P.O. Box 34713 • Juneau, AK 99803 • 907-586-8393
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