A tawny frogmouth at Brookfield Zoo made the wise choice to play with but not eat a periodical cicada. The insects have been linked to disease in some birds. (Jim Schulz / Brookfield Zoo Chicago)

All signs point to a cicada-induced vitamin deficiency as the cause of a mystery disease that affected some birds during a 2021 emergence and now again in 2024.

Jim Tibensky, a volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, nudges a bald eagle to shore New Year's Day in Waukegan Harbor. (Courtesy Nat Carmichael)

"Despite promising signs of recovery the first 48 hours, the bird took a very rapid turn for the worst," Willowbrook Wildlife Center shared on social media.

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region)

A GPS collar allowed researchers to track the wolf from Michigan all the way to Manitoba, Canada. That's just one of the wild stories we followed this week.

Jim Tibensky, a volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, nudges a bald eagle to shore New Year's Day in Waukegan Harbor. (Courtesy Nat Carmichael)

Rescuing a bald eagle floating on ice in open water raises the stakes exponentially, but volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors proved up to the task with a New Year's Day recovery effort.

A rendering of the planned new facility for Willowbrook Wildlife Center. (Provided)

The DuPage Forest Preserve District board, which operates and funds the center, approved a plan for a new clinic that meets 21st century needs and standards and promises to be the district's first net-zero building. 

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is particularly deadly for chickens. (William Moreland / Unsplash)

The strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza circulating in the U.S., the first since 2016, doesn’t appear to pose a threat to humans, but is highly contagious among birds and often fatal.

A bald eagle sickened by rat poisoning was recently released back into the wild after successful treatment at Willowbrook Wildlife Center. (Courtesy of Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County)

The eagle was released back into the Cook County preserve where it was found New Year’s Day, bleeding profusely. The raptor quickly reunited with its mate after more than a month apart.

This snowy owl’s bloody feet is a sign of rat poisoning. (Willowbrook Wildlife Center / Facebook)

The snowy owl is being treated at Willowbrook Wildlife Center, where a bald eagle is recuperating from the same issue. Anticoagulants in rodenticides can be deadly to the birds of prey that eat poisoned rats, mice and other rodents.

A falconry hood is placed over the eagle's eyes and ears to help relax the bird and make the exam easier on the bird and handlers. (Courtesy of Willowbrook Wildlife Center)

Eagles don't eat rat poison, but they do eat the critters that take the bait. The powerful toxins keep blood from clotting, and a recently rescued eagle would have bled to death from a tiny cut, said the veterinarian caring for the bird. 

The notch in this sandhill crane's beak was caused by a plastic bottle cap, which became caught and kept the bird from being able to eat. (Willowbrook Wildlife Center / Facebook)

The U.S. needs a national strategy to deal with its plastic waste problem, which the country produces at a greater rate than the entire European Union combined, according to a new report. Interventions can’t come soon enough for wildlife.

Well-meaning good Samaritans often mistake baby animals left alone as being abandoned. (James D Long / Pixabay)

Learn when to step in, when to back off

Just because a baby animal is spotted on its own doesn’t mean it’s been abandoned or orphaned. Before “rescuing” the critter, call the experts.

An American woodcock is being treated for injuries after colliding with a building in Chicago. (Courtesy Willowbrook Wildlife Center)

An American woodcock, one of the earliest migratory arrivals in Chicago, is recovering from a head wound and broken clavicle after colliding with a building in Chicago.