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In the News: Bird Flu detected in Cooper’s Hawk

The new strain H5N2 of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), has killed more than 4 million turkeys and chickens in Minnesota, and affected 70 different farms throughout the state. The strain has been circulating in the Mississippi flyway since early March.

For the first time, researchers detected H5N2 in a wild bird. The Cooper’s hawk in Yellow Medicine County crashed into a window above the deck of a homeowner, Patrick Redig, D.V.M., Ph.D., College of Veterinary Medicine professor and co-founder of the Raptor Center, told the Star Tribune. Later, tests confirmed that the Cooper’s hawk was also positive for H5N2.

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Rat poisoning’s secondary effects can harm Minnesota owls

Winter can invite household nuisances like mice and rats inside along with unwelcome gnawing habits, putrid droppings and disease. But as you look to eradicate vermin from your house this winter, The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota invites you to take a moment and pause.

Your choice between rat poison and an old-school snap trap could impact human, pet and wildlife health.

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Searching for ways to eliminate invasive rats, without adding new threats to island ecosystems

Invasive rodents are a problem for oceanic islands throughout the world. Rats transported by sea-faring humans from landmass to landmass plague ecosystems off the coast of Australia and in the Hawaiian and Galápagos Islands. Rats can endanger native species, damage agriculture crops and even prevent trees from re-growing. Efforts to remove the invasive species, however, sometimes result in their own unintended consequences.

“You can’t just remove 70 percent or 90 percent,” said Julia Ponder, D.V.M., executive director of The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “You have to remove 100 percent of the invasive species, and that’s what makes it so hard. There’s no margin of error and eradication efforts are expensive.”

Eradication efforts can put other species such as birds at risk, too.

That’s why Ponder became involved in research recently published in the journal Biological Conservation.

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The Raptor Center advises against duck hunting with falcons in Pacific Northwest

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota is adding to the understanding of avian influenza, or bird flu, in the Pacific Northwest. The center recently advised an extended cessation from waterfowl hunting by falconers through the end of the hunting season, which comes to a close mid-January.

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What happens to a rehabilitated eagle after release?

Each year in September, The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota releases a small number of rehabilitated birds back to the wild at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center in Hastings, Minnesota. While a few thousand spectators come out to observe the release and see education birds including bald eagles, great horned owls and kestrels up-close, it’s not often that the audience gets to learn what happens in the days, weeks and months following.

Did the bird make it? Did it fall prey to another urban landscape challenge such as a chimney, window or methane burner? Or is the bird we saw fly free in good health, hunting and soaring over the plains?

For one bird released in July, there was a rare opportunity to find out.

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U of M Raptor Center to celebrate 40 years, release rehabilitated birds Sept. 27

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, and the 3M Foundation will release rehabilitated birds back into the wild at this year’s Fall Raptor Release on Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will also mark a milestone in The Raptor’s Center 40th anniversary celebrations.

The free and public family event will take place rain or shine at the Carpenter-St. Croix Valley Nature Center, located at 12805 St. Croix Trail S., Hastings, Minn. Please note construction on County Road 21 and St. Croix Trail is ongoing and sections of traffic are single-lane.

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