Monday, November 4, 2013

Boreal Owl

We normally think of fall as a time of the year when Canadian Geese, Loons, Swans, Hummingbirds, Robins and a variety of other birds leave our back yard feeders for warmer climates.

But did you know that there are many varieties of birds that call Wisconsin home during the winter months? During the next few months we will highlight several of these birds who leave the cold and snow of their summer home for the cold and snow of our neighborhoods.

We start off with one of the most elusive members of the owl family - Boreal Owl.

These seldom seen owls are among the smallest members of the owl family and are rarely seen in the state of Wisconsin. However, earlier this year a crash in the rodent population in Canada forced several species of owls, including the northern hawk owl, great gray owl and boreal owl, to venture further and further south in search of food. It is unknown how many of these birds ventured into Wisconsin. The rare bird alert on the website of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology saw numerous posting, including observations of owls as far south as Dane and Kenosha counties.

Several sitings of Boreal Owls occurred near bird feeders as the owls were attracted to the mice that are found under the feeders.

This YouTube video shows a Boreal Owl hunting in daytime

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Join Us For The 7th Annual Zoo Boo Event! A Masquerade Party For The Whole Family!

It's almost here! One of the park's most anticipated events ... Zoo Boo! Join us for this family event - bring your little ghost, goblins and gouls and celebrate Zoo Boo!

Click on the imagine to print out or share digitally with your family and friends.

See you Saturday, October 12th from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. - rain or shine!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bat Appreciation Days

Bats - one of the center stage players during Halloween - is a much maligned creature of the night. 

Did you know that bats don't attack people - nor do they do not get tangled in people's hair and even true vampire bats are not true vampires.

Bats live on all continents except Antarctica, are essential members of many types of ecosystems - from rain forests to deserts. Bats pollinate and disperse the seeds of hundred of species of plants and are the major pollinators of many types of cacti that open their flowers only at night - when bats are active. They also eat copious quantities of insects and other arthropods. On a typical night, a bat consumes the equivalent of its own body weight.

Bats are very nimble flyers because of the dexterity of their wings, which, unlike insect and bird wings, are structured to fold during flight, very similar to the way we fold our hands. Bat wings are draped with skin that stretches and are powered by special muscles.

The importance of bats as part of our world compounds the tragic dimensions of an almost always fatal epidemic in bats: White-nose Syndrome.

Named for a cold-loving white fungus that is typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats, White-nose Syndrome causes bats to awaken more often during hibernation and use up the stored fat reserves that they need to get them through the winter. Infected bats often emerge too soon from hibernation and can be seen flying around in midwinter. These bats usually freeze or starve to death and is almost always fatal.

White-nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats since it was discovered in a single New York cave in February 2006. Seven bat species in 23 United States and 5 Canadian provinces have now been documented with White-nose Syndrome.

Close to home, White-nose syndrome has been detected in two Minnesota state parks.

The disease is transmitted primarily from bat to bat, inadvertently fungal spores are carried into caves by humans on clothing and caving gear. The syndrome is not known to be a threat to humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.

While only a few of the bats in the Minnesota state parks have tested positive for the fungus, if Minnesota follows the trends of other states, the disease is likely to be present in Minnesota bats within two to three years.

Mortality rates approaching 100% are reported at some sites. White-nose Syndrome threatens some of the largest hibernation caves of the endangered Indiana myotis, gray myotis, and Virginia big-eared bats. Ultimately, all bats across North America are at imminent risk.

What is being done?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wildwood Wildlife Park Says Thank You To Our Zoo Keepers: Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week July 21-27

National Zoo Keepers Appreciation Week July 21-27th

On behalf of the entire staff we would like to say thank you to the dedicated Zoo Keepers at Wildwood Wildlife Park for the incredible work they do keeping our animals healthy and happy. 

Our Zoo Keepers devote their lives taking care of our diverse collection of animals. Everyday is a unique learning experience - when you spend your day with animals, no day is ever the same.  

Zoo Keepers do so much more than just feeding, clean up after and care for the animals. They are advocates for the animals they care for and they strive to make the public aware of issues facing animals in the wild. Today's Zoo Keepers interact with the animals in their care which includes training and enrichment to ensure the animals act more like their wild selves. Zoo Keepers keep close watch over the animals in order to detect the slightest change that could be an indication of an illness; animals instinctively hide because in the wild, an illness is a sign of weakness.

If you visit the park this week, please say hello to the Keepers and thank them for the hard work they perform every day to care for our animal residents. We appreciate everything they do to help make Wildwood Wildlife Park a destination for conservation, education and FUN! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Teeke and Twiga: Wildwood Wildlife Park Two Newest Residents

Wildwood Wildlife Park is proud to announce the arrival of two new animals to our Zoo family: a ten-month old male giraffe named "Teeke" and a seven-month old female giraffe named "Twiga."

We've been getting ready for the arrival for the past few years and recently finished construction on their new home. So many of our friends have been asking when to expect the giraffes arrival and we appreciate your patience and understanding that their arrival was dependent upon Twiga being totally weaned and independent.

Teeke and Twiga arrived at Wildwood Wildlife Park on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, from the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in a specially designed trailer built to hold giraffes. Because they are young, the trip from Goddard, Kansas, to Minocqua was made easier than if they were full-grown adults.

Teeke and Twiga are settling into their new home in the zoo's African Serengeti exhibit. The African Serengeti project has been in the works for past two years with the giraffe barn and giraffe yard completion in May 2013.

We would like to thank our proud sponsors of the African Serengeti Project for helping helping our dreams come true:

County Materials Corporation
King Quarry LLC
Quality Heating Inc
Stratford Building Supply Inc
Hartman Well Drilling Inc
Ritchie Lakeland Oil & Propane
Northern Pines Greenery Inc
Friends of the Zoo

During the time when Teeke and Twiga are acclimating to their new home they will be indoors: our guests will be able to view the giraffes through the glass viewing area.

Wildwood Wildlife Park is home to over 1,000 animals so in addition to visiting the giraffes, there is so much to see and do!

Check out the largest interactive animal encounter in Wisconsin where guests can feed goats, sheep, pigs, cuddle a bunny, hug a tortoise, pet a porcupine, stroke a skunk and much more.

Experience hand-feeding Whitetail deer, camel and aoudads or feed our black bears Buddy, Candy and Honey their favorite treat, "Bear Juice."

Everyone in your family will enjoy the Budgie Encounter which is a Free Flight Aviary where the parakeets land on you and enjoy a seed stick which you can purchase.

Families have been visiting our zoo for over 50 years - generations of families have made a visit to our zoo part of their family tradition. Helping you make family memories is part of our mission.

Wildwood Wildlife Park is located two miles west of U.S. 51 on U.S. 70 in Minocqua, Wisconsin. We are open 7-days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Giraffe Update

If you have made a trip to the zoo this year, you've no doubt seen the new Serengeti exhibit that is being constructed. This is one of our most ambitious projects and certainly one of our soon to be highlights for 2013. But if you have not been to the zoo you may have missed our exciting news:

Wildwood Wildlife Park will soon be home to two giraffes.

While we are all very excited and looking forward to their arrival - the giraffes have not arrived as yet.

The zoo where the giraffes are currently residing will not release them to our care until the little female is completely weaned from her mother.

As you can imagine, this is an uncontrolled circumstance and like all soon to be "new parents," we are having to wait until the baby is ready to make the trip to her new home.

We are projecting the timeline to be around the middle of June but please bear in mind that this is all subject to what is in the best interest of the animals.

We will post updates and new of the giraffes on our Facebook page and Twitter account.

Please Note: The photograph is a stock image of a giraffe and is not "our" giraffe. The photo of the crane sculpture is part of the new Serengeti exhibit at Wildwood Wildlife Park.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marmoset Monkey: Our Newest Baby In The Wildwood Nursery

Say hello to our baby Marmoset - one of the new baby animals to arrive at Wildwood Wildlife Park. Marmosets are highly active monkeys, living in the upper canopy of forest trees, feeding on insects, fruit and leaves. 

Marmosets have distinctive large white ear tufts and their tail is striped, with alternate wide dark and narrow pale bands. Their coat is grey, black, brown and white with streaks of orange. Their claw-like nails allow them to cling to trees - and they weigh less than a can of baked beans!

In the wild, Marmosets live in family groups of three to fifteen, consisting of one or two breeding females, an unrelated male, their offspring and occasionally extended family members and unrelated individuals. Marmosets are characterized by a high degree of cooperative care of the young - adult males, females other than the mother, and older, and older offspring, participate in carrying infants.

The favorite food of marmosets is tree sap, which they reach by gnawing holes in trunks. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Announcing Our First New Arrival!

Please join us in welcoming one of the newest residents of Wildwood Wildlife Park! She is a beautiful Aoudad (African Sheep) that we've named Annabelle.

The weather conditions were much different when we welcomed the Easter time arrival of Aoudad's lats year! We wrote extensively about Aoudad's in last year's post; you might enjoy revisiting the page and learning about these animals that are the only wild sheep indigenous to Africa.

You can see from the recent photographs that our dog Leah has all ready taken a liking to Annabell ... or should we say, she's taking a "licking" to her!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Raking Clean-Up Has Been Rescheduled for April 27, 2013

As you can imagine, we are just about at our wits end with this snow and cold weather ... but we are rescheduling our annual raking weekend with a lot of faith and hope that spring will arrive to welcome our friends for this much anticipated event at Wildwood Wildlife Park.

Please click on the image and share this with your friends and family.

Thank you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Opening Day Announcement!!

We hope you will share the news with your friends and family our opening day has been pushed back to Saturday, May 4th. Thank you for your understanding!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Cleanup Rescheduled: April 20-21, 2013

Last year at this time we had several weeks of temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Oh what a difference a year can make!

Due to the abundance of snow and below normal temperatures, we still have snow on the ground which is forcing us to move our annual Friends of the Zoo sponsored Spring Raking back one week.

The dates are now April 20th and 21st - the times have remained the same as well as bring your own raking and gardening gloves.

A new poster has been created for you to share with your family and friends and please pass along to your favorite church and civic organizations. Click on the image for a larger, printable version.

We look forward to seeing you at the Zoo!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You Know It's Spring When ...

We announce plans for our annual Raking Weekend!! Bring a rake and garden gloves and we'll provide lunch! Click on the image for a larger view, perfect for printing ... post it on your fridge or bulletin board and share it with your friends!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Who Cooks For You: Owl Facts and Trivia

One of the most familiar sounds of the night in the northwoods of Wisconsin, is the Barred Owl. There are 205 species of owls divided into two basic groups: barn owls and true owls. Barn owls have a heart-shaped face, long legs and powerful talons; 16 species make up the class of Barn Owls. There are 190 species of true owls which are characterized by a round facial disc, a short tail and large head. Eleven of these species can be found in Wisconsin including Eastern Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl, Great Grey Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Boreal and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Barn Owls also call Wisconsin home.

Here are a few interesting fact about owls

Most owls hunt at night to avoid competition with daytime hunters such as hawks and eagles. While this is the norm for most owls, some species such as Burrowing Owls and Short-eared Owls hunt during the day.

An owls' diet consists of small mammals such as mice, voles and rabbits as well as insects and reptiles. Like all birds, owls do not have teeth and don't chew their food. Instead, they swallow their food whole.

Owls have forward-facing eyes and, for the most part, are unable to move their eyes within their sockets so they must turn their entire head to look in different directions.

Many species of owls have special flight feathers that allow them to minimize the sound of flapping their wings.

The feathers on the heads of the Long-eared and Short-eared Owls and the 'horns' of the Great Horned Owl are only for display. These feathers are referred to as 'ear tufts.' An owls' ears are found on the facial disc, concealed by feathers, behind the owls eyes. Their hunting success depends on the owls ability to locate and capture prey using their acute sense of hearing. In some species, such as the Snowy Owl, their ears are unevenly placed on either side of the facial disc which enhances their ability to pinpoint the location of the sound. The asymmetrically placement of their ears allows them to determine the minute different in the that the sound of prey under the snow reaches each ear!

Very few owl species actually build nests; instead, they often take over abandoned nests of other birds. Owl species that breed in open terrain are ground nesters. Snowy Owls will use a hollow in the ground which the female may scrape out and line with plant material. Short-eared Owls often nest in or beside tussocks of grass. Holes in trees are another preferred site for a wide variety of Owls as are abandoned nest of crows and birds of prey. The Barn Owl have adopted man-made equivalent of holes in trees, specifically holes in barns and other outbuildings.

Did you know that owls do more than just hoot? They all have a wide variety of screeches, hisses and screens. Many also communicate through "wing claps." 

Like most owls, the Barred Owls loud, low-pitched vocalizations allows their cries to travel through the night air, allowing them to locate mates and declare their territory.

Owls have long been symbols of misfortune, death, prosperity, wisdom and death.