ISVMA Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
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March 6 , 2008


Volume V, No. 17



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

©Peter S. Weber
click on picture to view larger image

In this Issue

Legislative Update and Calls to Action

ISVMA Spring Seminar Series

ISVMA Has Moved

Silent Auction to Support ISCAVMA

About the Photo

Contact Us

Contact Us




IMPORTANT: Legislative Calls to Action!

*Please Note: One of the Calls to Action is New.

On Monday, ISVMA issued a Legislative Call to Action on two important bills that were to be heard in committees of the Illinois House of Representatives. We are very pleased to report that our collective lobby efforts have proven successful (thus far).

House Bill 4843 (Veterinary Student Loan Repayment Act)

This bill is sponsored by Representative David Reis (R-Olney) and is an initiative of the ISVMA. The bill was passed out of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee on a unanimous vote. It will now be considered by the full House of Representatives. If the bill passes the House, it must then be approved in a Senate Committee and by the full Senate before being sent to the Governor for final approval.

We are pleased to have crossed the first hurdle; we need you to email, write or call your state legislators to support this important bill when it is presented to them. It is easy to participate and contact your legislators! In less than a minute, you can send them a pre-written email from the ISVMA Legislative Action Center.

If you have not already contacted your legislators on this bill, please do so immediately!

Please go to and in the "Take Action" table, click on the link to "Please Support House Bill 4843."

House Bill 4844 (Animal Euthanasia)

This bill is sponsored by Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and is an initiative of the ASPCA and the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue Organization. The bill is currently opposed by the ISVMA.

Representative Fritchey was very responsive to concerns raised by ISVMA regarding his original bill and amended it to address most of our objections. There are still a few issues that we hope to resolve so that we can reach an agreement with Representative Fritchey on the bill before next week's deadline to discharge bills from committee.

House Bill 4844 was called for a vote this morning in the House Judiciary II Committee and Dr. B. Taylor Bennett testified for ISVMA in opposition. The bill failed in committee and may be called for a vote again next week. ISVMA will keep its members informed of any additional action on this bill.

House Bill 4391 (Prohibit Internet Prescribing)

This bill was introduced by Representative Karen May (D-Highwood) and provides that licensed prescribers may not knowingly prescribe medications for a patient via the Internet, World Wide Web, telephone, facsimile, or any other electronic means unless (1) the patient has been physically examined by the prescriber or has been given a documented patient evaluation, including health history and a physical examination, to establish the diagnosis for which any legend drug is prescribed; (2) the prescriber and the patient have discussed treatment options and the risks and benefits of treatment; and (3) the prescriber has maintained the patient's medical records. Further the bill clarifies that these provisions shall not be construed to prohibit patient care in certain circumstances or to prevent the electronic distribution of a prescription to a pharmacy.

This bill was amended at the request of the ISVMA to include veterinary prescriptions (it already included Medical Doctors, Podiatrists, Optometrists, Dentists, Physician Assistants, Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses).

This legislation is an effort to crack down on Internet pharmacies that fill prescriptions for people and animals without an order from a medical professional that is responsible for the care of the patient.

Please go to and in the "Take Action" table, click on the link to "Please Support House Bill 4391."

ISVMA Spring Seminar Series - Register Now!

ISVMA is proud to offer another outstanding learning opportunity for veterinary professionals. With support from IDEXX Laboratories, the 2008 ISVMA Spring Seminar Series will be offered in the following locations:

April 19 in Springfield, IL
April 20 in Fairview Heights, IL
April 26 in Chicago, IL
April 27 in Lisle, IL

Please visit the ISVMA website for program information and registration.

*The 2008 ISVMA Spring Seminar Series is generously sponsored by:


ISVMA Has Moved!

The ISVMA officially moved into its new headquarters on Friday, February 29 and opened the new office on March 3, 2008.


Please remember to update your records with our new contact information:

Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association

1121 Chatham Road

Springfield, IL 62704


(217) 546-8381 (phone)

(217) 546-5633 (fax)

Silent Auction to Support ISCAVMA

ISCAVMA is holding its annual auction to support students that are attending the SAVMA Symposium and to support a student wide initiative of donating $5000 to Heifer International. To learn more about what Heifer International is all about go to


This year's symposium is being co-hosted by Auburn and Tuskegee Veterinary Schools. Items are available for bidding beginning on March 3rd and ending at 1pm on March 7th. Items can be viewed at, just click on the symposium link. All bids may be submitted to


Thank you for your continued support of the veterinary students.

About the Photo

The Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) is mostly a western North American species. They are found in the Great Basin and Great Plains. They breed from eastern Washington to southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan, Canada, south to eastern Oregon, Nevada, northern and southeastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, northwest Texas, western Nebraska, western Kansas, and western Oklahoma. They winter across the southwest to Baja California and central Mexico. They may show up in the southeast during migration and are occasional vagrants elsewhere. I have only seen one Ferruginous Hawk in Illinois in my years of birding.

This hawk is the largest buteo in North America averaging 22.5-25" long, with a 53-56" wingspan. The sexes are alike; females average just a bit larger than males. Two color morphs occur, with intermediates. The light morph has a rust colored back and shoulders, paler head that is grayish and streaked, its white tail has pale rust wash on end, the undersides are white with limited streaking and it has rusty spots (the leg feathers are rust colored on adults and white on juveniles). Large, white crescent-shaped patches occur on the upperwing surface on the primaries. Beneath the wing, large dark comma-shaped patches occur at the wrists. In the dark morph, the entire head and body and wing surfaces are dark brown to cinnamon-colored, the yellow gape (mouth) stripe is visible, and the upper surface of wing at the base of the primaries shows the white "window", similar to light morphs.

Light morph Red-tailed Hawks can be confused with Ferruginous Hawks; but the Red-tailed Hawk typically has a belly band, patagial mark, different tail pattern and lacks rufous leggings. The white-chested appearance is otherwise distinctive. Dark morph adults are separated from other dark morph buteos by pale, unmarked flight feathers, white comma in underwing coverts, dark undertail coverts and tail pattern. The feathered legs are shared only by Rough-legged Hawk but are difficult to see well.

Ferruginous Hawks are birds of open country. They occur in semiarid grasslands with scattered trees, rocky mounds or outcrops, and shallow canyons that overlook open valleys. They may occur along streams or in agricultural areas in migration.

Ferruginous Hawks rely primarily upon rodents found in their grassland ecosystems. Prey includes Richardson's ground squirrels, white-tailed jackrabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, pocket gophers, prairie dogs, and kangaroo rats. Other prey includes snakes, lizards, meadowlarks, grasshoppers, and crickets.

They tend to hunt in early morning or late afternoon and hunt in four fashions: short distance strikes on prey from the ground, aerial hunting from low altitudes, aerial strikes from high altitudes (300 feet), and flying after prey from a perch. Hunting from the ground appears to be the more successful of the four methods. Since these birds inhabit open country, they can stand by a burrow and wait for prey to appear.

Like many raptors, they swallow prey whole or torn into chunks. The Ferruginous Hawk then regurgitates a pellet of fur, feathers, bone, and other non-digestible material.

Ferruginous Hawks may nest in close proximity to each other, less than 1/2 mile away. Other species, like Swainson's hawks or red-tailed hawks, may nest in closer proximity to Ferruginous Hawks than the 1/2 mile distance. Nesting territories may have a number of alternate nests in close proximity that are used in different years.
Occasionally, hay stacks, power poles or nest platforms may be used for nest sites.

Populations of Ferruginous Hawks seem to have declined in most areas over their range, except in California where they appear to have increased significantly in the past decade. The Ferruginous Hawk is a federal Species of Concern.

One of my favorite birding memories involved the first Ferruginous Hawk that I ever saw (in Colorado). I stopped on a country road to get a good look at the beautiful raptor as it sat in a shallow culvert at the side of the road. There were numerous Red-winged Blackbirds and Yellow-headed Blackbirds in the same area and they were making quite a scene as they made alarm calls and occasional brave blackbirds dove at the hawk. Finally tiring of its inhospitable perch, the Ferruginous Hawk took off to find a quieter spot from which to hunt. As it flew away, a Yellow-headed Blackbird flew towards it and landed on its back! I saw the hawk fly out of sight with the brave blackbird as its passenger.

I photographed this Ferruginous Hawk (not the taxi hawk) near Buckeye, Arizona during the winter of 2007.

Contact Us

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Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
133 South Fourth St., Suite 202
Springfield, IL 62701

Phone: (217) 523-8387

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