Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nestling Bluebird Rescued from Flood at HNWR

By the end of last week, it was apparent that Lake Texoma was starting to flood. The staff at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge began preparing for the changes that floodwaters would bring to the Refuge.  Preparations included: 

-Securing the L-Pad dock to prevent it from floating off.
-Moving the wooden trash can holders out of Day Use Areas.
-Removing the pump from Big Mineral Creek.
-Moving the D7 dozer from MSU 7 to the maintenance shop.
-Removing the traffic counter from Wildlife Drive.
-Checking the tern platform to ensure adequate slack in cables for additional lake level rising.
-Closing gates at each entrance point for Wildlife Drive.

Wildlife Drive, May 11, 3 pm, HNWR Staff Photo

- AND - Checking bird nesting boxes in the expected flood zone.

Box 28, Raasch Trail, HNWR Staff Photo

Refuge Manager Kathy Whaley checked the monitors' notebook for Meadow Pond/Raasch Nest Box Trails and did a run to look for young that needed to be rescued. The only one found that was in a major flood zone was Box 28 on Raasch Trail.  The nest box had two eggs that had failed to hatch and one partially feathered young bluebird, approximately 5-6 days old. Since this box would be inundated within a couple of days, the nest with the bird in it was removed and the young bird was taken to Rogers Wildlife Rehab Center near Dallas.  

Mary Maddux, in boat, preparing to open Nest Box 28, HNWR Staff Photo

Mary Maddux and Rusty Daniel remove the nest from the box. HNWR Staff Photo

Rescued Bluebird Nestling, photo by Laurie Lawler

Thanks to Laurie Lawler for transporting the bird to the rehab facility. 

The other Meadow Pond/Raasch Trail boxes that have birds were on the far east end of Raasch Trail and are outside any potential flood zone. One, Box 58 on Meadow Pond Trail has bluebird eggs, but the flooding is not expected to endanger the nest.  Boxes along the Harris Creek Nest Box Trail are all outside the flood zone.

Daddy Bluebird on Box 28 after baby bird removed.
Photo by Laurie Lawler

On Tuesday, Box 28 was completely submerged.

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