RARE Congratulates New Wildlife Rehabilitators

The RARE Group is excited to announce that four of our volunteers have received their  general wildlife rehabilitator licenses!  Ellen Dice, Lisa Dreesman, Luke Hart, and Eric Kahl were apprenticed by fellow RARE member, Jodeane Cancilla.

The first step in getting their general wildlife rehabilitation permit was to apply for their apprenticeship rehabilitation license.  Once they received their apprenticeship license, they spent one year learning under master rehabilitator, Jodeane.  Once the year was complete, they applied for the general permit by writing a narrative detailing why they want to work with wildlife, their experience with animal care and written examples of their care procedures.  Each applicant also needed to have a letter of recommendation written by their master rehabilitator.

Jodeane, a master wildlife rehabilitator, started doing wildlife rehabilitation in the 1980s. At the time, permits had to be issued by Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Unfortunately there were not a lot of other rehabilitators in the state or national organizations to learn from. Those who were doing rehab networked and bounced ideas and treatments off of each other, sharing successes as well as failures in our attempt to give the best care possible to their patients. Gradually, Wildlife Rehabilitation was recognized by the IDNR and USFWS as a profession (mostly unpaid). It was during these early years that guidelines were established for standardized care and uniform licensing.

In order for wildlife rehabilitation to continue, Jodeane believes current master rehabilitators have an obligation to mentor the next generation of wildlife rehabilitators. Ideally, wildlife rehabilitators will be paid for the time, effort and personal expense that goes into the high quality of care given to Iowa’s wild creatures by these dedicated individuals.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Lisa Dreesman, Ellen Dice, Eric Kahl and Luke Hart to the profession of wildlife rehabilitation!

photos by Nikki Herbst

Co-Founder of The RARE Group is Co-Author of Lead Poisoning in Bald Eagles Research Paper

Jodeane Cancilla (right), along with Dr. Lacey Slutts, works with a bald eagle. Photo by Nikki Herbst Dear RARE supporters, we thought you'd like to know that Jodeane Cancilla, a co-founder of The RARE Group, along with several other authors, has published "Lead Poisoning in Bald Eagles Admitted to Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities in Iowa, 2004-2014."  The article is published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.  You can read the article here.

The research paper, by tracking 10 years of data taken from bald eagles under the care of wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa, highlights the threat to the environment caused by the use of lead in bullets, fishing lures and sinkers.  Lead alternatives are available, such as steel, bismuth and other non-toxic materials.

Jodeane was a perfect person to co-author this study. She began working as a wildlife rehabilitator in 1987, when wildlife rehabilitation was a relatively new profession. Much was unknown about how to care for, house or feed wild animals. One thing they did have was a network that allowed them to work through issues with those facing similar challenges in Iowa. Early on, there were no real regulations for wildlife rehabilitators. Several people from the early days worked with both the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service to draft comprehensive guidelines that gave conservation officers and rehabilitators a common set of criteria that aided in the capture, care and safe release of wildlife across the state of Iowa. In the late 1990s, many of this same group of people began to notice an increase in bald eagles being brought into their care. Gradually, the pieces started coming together. They saw an increase in birds having significant problems in December, January and February. They were presenting in similar condition, with head tremors, blindness, inability to fly or stand, and they were unable to keep down food. It was affecting older eagles as well as young. The group started really concentrating on the x-rays and blood work, and eventually came to the conclusion that lead poisoning was causing the eagle's problems. In 2004, rehabilitators in Iowa began an independent comprehensive study to document these findings. It was an uphill battle. “Nevertheless they persisted,” and in December of 2017 the combined efforts of the team lead to the article being published in The Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management!

Jodeane would like to extend many thanks to all who have helped with this study.  They have contributed to a better understanding of the role we play in becoming better stewards of the land, air and waterways on which we depend.

If you hunt or fish using materials produced with lead, please consider making the choice to go lead-free, and encouraging others to do the same.  Thank you for supporting our efforts!

RARE News: RARE Receives Grant from McIntyre Foundation

The RARE Group is grateful to announce that it has received a $2,500 grant from the McIntyre Foundation. The grant will be used to carry out RARE's mission, with an emphasis on education. The RARE Group, established in 2015, provides support for over 150 birds a year (primarily raptors), as well as providing educational programs for the public.

Release! The Beautiful Bald Eagle

On Sunday, November 27, we celebrated the release of an incredible American Bald Eagle.  The eagle was found by the Goods on October 17 in Clinton County, and was diagnosed with 2 fractures in one wing, and some additional wounds.  It responded well to treatment, and was able to move to the flight cage in early November.  After rest, healing and therapy there for a little more than 3 weeks, it was ready for release.

Our staff at RARE carefully searched out a good release location, and were able to invite the public to attend.  Around 25 people joined us, including the couple who found it.  It was an incredible moment, and we are grateful to all those who support The RARE Group who made it possible.  We've included the video below of Eric and Ellen with the eagle, and the release ... ENJOY!!

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RELEASE! Barred Owl Returned to Palisades-Kepler

What an exciting week it has been for The RARE Group!  We have another release to share with you!

This owl was found at Palisades-Kepler State Park shortly before Halloween.  He had head trauma and was having trouble gripping with its feet.  Our RARE volunteers hand-fed him until he could eat on his own.

He was well enough to be transferred to the flight cage around Thanksgiving, and since then, has made great progress.  We returned him to his home on December 9.

Thanks to all who support us and make releases like this possible.

Enjoy this sweet video!

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Another RELEASE to Celebrate!

photo by Cari Redondo What better way to spend a frigid, snowy December day than releasing a Great Horned Owl?

This owl's release was certainly cause for celebration, as she was found at the Center Point, Iowa truck plaza off Interstate 380 nearly 3 months ago, on September 14.  She came to us emaciated and demonstrating some neurological issues, possibly as a result of West Nile Virus.

We are so thrilled to share this video of her return to the nature, following her long road to recovery!  Enjoy!

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Release: Sending a Seagull On Its Way!

Ring Billed Gull by Michele Nigg This Saturday, RARE was able to release a Ring-billed Gull!  This bird, likely on its migration journey, was found in a park near Shueyville.  It was unable to walk or stand.  It rapidly improved after being treated with medication.  Enjoy the video below of the gull enjoying a snack during its time with us!

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Thanks to Michele for the photo and video, and for releasing this bird!


It's a Release Double-Header!!

Barred Owl release This week, we had double the fun!

Double Header Part I:

The barred owl pictured below came to us on September 21st with a head injury- it may have been hit by a car.  We would like to thank Sam Warner for finding the bird and getting RARE involved!  After treatment and rest at our clinic, it transitioned to our flight cage early in the second week of October. 

Barred Owl release!

This week, Hannah Clark was able to release this beautiful bird. Hannah is a second year veterinary technician student from Burlington.

Photos by Hannah Clark

Double Header Part II:

The barred owl pictured below came to us right at the end of September, after being found by a construction worker at a site in Iowa City. After being evaluated, the owl was treated with medicine and rest. He was able to graduate to the flight cage after about 10 days.  We are excited that we were able to release him back to nature this week!

Bon Voyage!

Our raptor rehab volunteer, Eric, opening the box to release the owl.

The barred owl is on its way!

Photos by Erin Melloy