It’s really difficult some days to hold one’s tongue. A woman brought a pigeon in to the wildlife rehab place I work for with a severely broken leg. Her dog had gotten hold of it a week and a half prior. She knew about us, but thought she could raise it on her own, try to set the leg and splint it herself. Continue reading The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to animal cruelty is much the same.
In most workplaces the “water cooler” conversation tends to revolve around the latest episode of Game of Thrones or the most recent workplace gossip. Not where I work. I work for an industrial manufacturer and oddly enough the topic that comes up the most in conversation is the DNR’s Eagle-cam and the three little eaglets born in early March.
I find that as a volunteer wildlife rehabber I get a lot of questions from co-workers about various animal-related topics but lately the questions I get the most are about these fluffy little nestlings. One co-worker in particular is very concerned that the parents keep flying off, leaving the newborns (at this point about 3 weeks old) alone for extended periods of time. She also feels that one of the nestlings is always getting less food than the others, crowded out by its siblings and ignored by its parents. She’s a mom and she gets angry about the unfairness of it all.
All I can say is, nature is hard, man, and it’s all about survival from day one. Continue reading Nature is Harsh
For a while it seemed like every week someone would bring an animal in to Wildwoods that had been rescued from abuse at the hands of children. My intial reaction always included rage, anger, obscenities and the phrase, “serial killers in training.” Not the most productive of reactions, and luckily I was never the one to encounter these kids, as I probably would not have the strength and foresight to push past my gut reaction toward a more positive and helpful one.
To help us all remember that kind, compassionate education is the key to ending this kind of behavior, Tara Smith, one of the staff members at Wildwoods, wrote a great article in a local newspaper, which you can and should read here, recounting the story of another wildlife rehabber who was able to get past the anger and find a teachable moment that changed everything.
Featured photo from Audrey (flickr)
A man I work with told me he had once rescued a gray fox somewhere in Pennsylvania. It had been hit by a car and he found a rehab place that would do surgery to mend its broken leg. After a while he called back to see how the fox was doing and they told him they’d had to put it down because the injury was not healing properly. The man was really upset by this; he felt like it had all been for nothing and that he should have either found somewhere else to take it, or should have left it where he found it. Continue reading The Worst Outcome
Photo above from ARKive of the American kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Last night I learned how to administer liquids subcutaneously on an Eastern Gray Squirrel and an American Kestrel. Sometimes animals can’t or won’t eat or drink on their own so to make sure they stay hydrated we need to carefully (and with proper training) inject liquids just below the skin so their body can absorb it. I was always a little afraid to do this and when they were training me they kept saying things like, “don’t do this or you’ll hit bone,” or muscle or veins… all bad things. But it went well and now I know how to safely “sub-q.” Continue reading Learning new things
“Blue jay” by Melissa McMasters, on Flickr
Remember when I posted about a nestling blue jay that had been brought to us after the finder had fed it dog kibble? Well, it happened again. This well-intentioned finder kept him for two months and fed him dog food, apparently on the advice of something that had been seen on the internet. Continue reading The Internet Lies Sometimes
Photo above from Audrey (flickr)
It’s been a long day at work, but no matter. Tonight is the night I volunteer. Twice a week I care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and tonight is one of those nights. I’m excited. I’m always excited on volunteer nights because no matter what’s going on in the rest of my life, my soul is freed just a little bit more with every animal I care for. I get home, take care of the pets, feed myself and change into my “Wildwoods Only” clothing – stuff that can take a little poop and formula stains.
I arrive and head down the hill to the back door. Peggy is there cleaning out cages and, as she always does, thanks me for volunteering. After hearing something like that a few times it can start to sound fake and forced, but somehow it always sounds sincere from her. Last week the staff suggested I come earlier than my normal 8pm shift, since at the moment we don’t have a lot of animals that require an 8pm feeding. I’d get to do more if I came earlier, so I do and they weren’t lying. There aren’t a lot of mammals to take care of but there are probably 50 birds that need cleaning and feeding. I ask the staff where I am needed and they point me to Continue reading Cuteness Meter Maxed Out
This is a fantastic post from Hobbitstee, a licensed wildlife rehab facility in Ontario, about why you should ALWAYS call a wildlife rehabber before messing with wildlife. Especially poignant is their mention of anthropomorphism–assigning human traits and characteristics to animals. It’s so very dangerous to assume an animal is behaving a certain way for the same reasons you or I would behave that way. And I know, baby animals are CRAZY cute, but if you really want to help the baby critters yourself, be a volunteer with a local, licensed wildlife rehabilitator who can provide the education and experience that is necessary for the proper care of wildlife.
I am seeing a trend this year. A very scary trend. It has to do with wildlife being kept in captivity. Something that is a violation under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act in Ontario. According to our laws you have 24 hours to get a wild animal help, but somehow the # of calls I get in regards to wildlife in captivity is on the rise.
Often I get told ‘I have seen this on tv, so I know what I am doing’ or ‘I have googled it, so I can do this’. I hope you can see how this does not make any sense. Caring for injured/orphaned wildlife is a delicate job. Many animals require medical care. Often by the time I receive animals people have ‘tried’ to help and the animals are suffering as a direct result of these attempts and some even die.
Also the zoonotic…
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Nothing. If you find a wild animal that is obviously sick, injured or orphaned, do not feed it anything until you get in contact with a wildlife rehabber. You should be contacting your local licensed rehabber anyway to find out if the animal really does need help, and how exactly, if it needs it, to help. But this post is specifically about food.
Two animals came in that were fed things they never should have been fed. It’s likely one of them didn’t last the night. Continue reading What to Feed a Wild Animal
While I was outside feeding a fawn the other day, a gentleman brought in a bucket with several baby bunnies. The Wildwoods staff told him to put them back. These were healthy, strong babies (kits) and the mom (doe) was still alive somewhere. Even though the staff and volunteers at Wildwoods are very good at what they do, keeping rabbit kits alive without their mom is incredibly difficult. Continue reading Bunnies and Pests