Much maligned, but so refined, an elegant Skunk is released.

Nearly three weeks ago we admitted a patient for care, a juvenile, very thin, suffering from parasites, and barely able to stand. At this time of year, struggling young wild mammals are a relatively common patient for us. Youngsters run into trouble, on their own, and once weakened, succumb to all sorts of perils. Internal parasites, dogs and cats are life threatening to a youngster, and if you happen to be one of the most unloved and misunderstood animals who commonly live near the world of industrial civilization, people can be the biggest threat you’ll face – which is why this young Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) was very lucky that he stumbled into the backyard of someone who took pity on him instead of freaking out.

Freaking out when seeing a skunk is pretty common. Of course, skunks are relatively harmless. While they may suffer from rabies, though it’s not common, their only real threat is their ability to leave a lingering pungent aroma that most of Mother Earth’s children find unpleasant. Consider that the next time you pass the lingering odor of skunk dead on the side of the highway who’s only crime was trying cross the road, and who’s only defense against a thundering automobile was his unique musky spray.

Those who keep chickens, of course, need to provide their animals with a safe enclosure that keeps out all predators, if they wish them to not be eaten. Most wild animals are drawn to human households by food, water or, in the right season, an attractive den site. It is as much our responsibility to keep our wild neighbors safe from conflict with us as it is to keep our livestock, pets and property safe from damage caused by nature that is only doing what needs to be done for survival.

This young skunk needed only anti-parasitical medicine and safe place to eat a natural diet and regain his body mass. After a few days he was stable enough to be housed outdoors. After a few weeks, he was fit and ready to return to his free and wild life. We released him into the same area he was found. As you can see in the following phone pics, he made short work of dashing for cover…

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img_3575And then he was gone….

Your support makes our work providing care for our wild neighbors who’ve become orphaned or injured due to our built world possible! Without you, neither this skunk, nor the other 15 skunks we’ve treated in 2016, nor the other 900 wild animals, as well as the thousands of wild animals we’ve helped by counseling people in the middle of a conflict with the principles of humane co-existence with the wild animals and Mother Earth, would have gotten the help they needed and deserved. Thank YOU!!!

We are still $5000 dollars away from our critical goal of $7000 raised for the month of September. You can help us reach it by donating today!  

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Sustaining Members Sustain Us!

Some seasons are busier than others. Spring and Summer are filled with orphaned wild babies, displaced nests, denning mothers and an endless string of conflicts to resolve that arise when Mother Earth needs to grow, renew, give birth, regenerate in the midst of industrial society’s desire to confine, contain, and contract the natural world. In Fall and Winter we admit wintering seabirds who struggle in occasional storms on our coast where dwindling fish make resources more scarce. We treat far more injured adult wild animals, many hit by cars as the shortening day brings rush hour traffic into the nighttime world. In large measure, Fall and Winter is our time to repair and improve to our facility, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. But no matter the season, we are here each day, and each day is filled with many of the same tasks.

Every morning we have a blinking phone to greet us: messages from overnight and the early hours of the day: a sparrow caught by a cat, a skunk getting into trash and spraying the caller’s dog, some kind of bird stranded on the beach, another person saw a bear in an orchard and wonders if he should call a trapper. And we have our patients who need breakfast, morning medicines, their hospital housing cleaned. Pools need daily maintenance. Laundry. Dishes. And more cleaning.

It takes a lot to provide direct care for over 1200 wild patients each year. It takes a lot to help thousands of people each year chose to resolve a conflict with a wild animal peacefully, without bloodshed.

And frankly, we do this in a world that, as you may have already noticed, races forward in the destruction of the wild. So we also have to work at slowing them down. That’s why we help educate our children, our community, our community leaders on how to co-exist with the wild. Our Wildlife Ambassador team makes hundreds of visits each year to schools, clubs and community centers each year to help teach the importance of our wild neighbors and how we all can help make the world safer for all wild animals. We have to follow the killing of wolves. We have to help ban the trapping of Bobcat. We have to work to ensure that our state protects endangered species, such as the Tri-colored Blackbird, or the Spotted Owl.

It takes a lot to keep our work going.

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That’s why we are seeking Sustaining Members. Sustaining members are exactly like anyone who supports our work financially. Except you help us every month. Our Sustaining Members, some give $5 a month, others give $250, form the core of our contributors. Your donation each month not only provides money to accomplish our mission, your contribution also shows your commitment to our success, and the success of our wild neighbors. Seeing your name pop up every month is an invaluable encouragement! And your contribution really adds up! For our regular membership (thank you, everyone  who has ever donated!) we ask $25 per year. If you signed up for $5 a month, that’s $60 a year! Because we operate on a shoestring, we know how much difference that $35 difference makes!

$60 feeds the orphaned fawns in our care for five days! Your $5 each month will keep our lifesaving phone service on for one month every year! If you become a Sustaining Member who gives $10 each month you will provide 100 pounds of fish! 100 pounds will feed a recovering Brown Pelican for 20 days. $20 each month will cover the gasoline for 12 trips to Crescent City or Laytonville or Weaverville to transport an orphaned or injured wild animal.  Want to bowl us over? A monthly gift of $1000 will cover the cost of our tenancy at Jacoby Creek Land Trust!

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What will you receive in return? Well, the most important thing that you receive is the satisfaction of playing a critical role in our lifesaving work. In addition, we do currently have canvas tote bags that were embroidered with the Bird Ally X logo by Betty Travers, our treasurer and co-founder, Marie Travers’ mom. We can send one out to the first ten Sustaining Members who request one at the time of donation. Also, Sustaining Members will receive a special email update on one patient each month with a photo of the patient during the course of treatment or at release. 

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[So, how do you sign up? Easy! Just click on our Donate Now link and when you make your contribution, check the box that says to make it monthly!] 

We often ask for your support. Without it we can’t exist. And we often say that all donations are important no matter the size. Well, it’s true. Think of every bird you’ve ever seen. Without receiving a small bit of sustenance on a very regular basis, that Sparrow or Thrush, Eagle or Crow would have never flown.

Thank you for keeping us in the air.

 

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Big Release Day!

This holiday weekend got off to a great start; filled with the best outcome for our work- multiple releases!

Friday we released 11 of our patients back to their free and wild lives after recovering from being orphaned or injured.

Four Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles were released. These birds were siblings whose nest was illegally removed by a maintenance person at the request of the homeowner. It’s a crime to remove a migratory songbird’s nest. Most migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Sadly, this nest was the second one for this Barn Swallow pair to be destroyed this summer by the same person! Both sets of babies were brought to us to be raised. Of course we explained the law, so hopefully next summer, if the parent birds return to the same location, they might have a chance to raise their own babies!

Also released was a Great Egret (Ardea alba) who’d been found in a ditch, covered in mud and very thin. After a two weeks of care, this bird was doing very well, using our aviary for built specifically for herons and egrets, as well as dabbling ducks. Check out the video of the heron’s release:

A few days ago we admitted for care both a Pileated Woodpecker  (Dryocopus  pileatus) and a Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) who’d collided with windows.

Window strikes can be deadly, especially for a larger bird like a woodpecker, who’s mass increases the force of the impact. There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of a bird colliding with your windows, including stickers, sprays, objects or anything that can make the window either visible or inaccessible. You can go to Cornell  Lab of Ornithology’s website for more ideas on making your windows less dangerous.

Fortunately, both the Woodpecker and the Rail were only disoriented and stunned by their collisions. Only a few days in care were required before they were released. Here’s a video of the Woodpecker:

We also released two Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) One, an adult, was found unable to fly in a backyard in the community of King Salmon on the edge of Humboldt Bay. She’d been there for a few days, eating chicken scratch. Weak and very thin, the bird was enthusiastic about the fish diet we served. After several days in care she was flying in our gull aviary. After 3 weeks she was ready for freedom!


We met our August goal of $7000! Thank you!! Our goal for September is to build on that, pay summer bills and prepare for winter. You can help! Please click here to DONATE NOW! Thank you!


Released with the adult was a juvenile gull who we admitted several weeks ago. His parents had the misfortune of nesting on the deck of a sail boat in the San Francisco Bay area. When the boat sailed for Humboldt midsummer, they brought this baby with them. Since therew as obviously no way to get himback to his parents, we provided fish and safe housing. Once he was ready to fly we moved him into the aviary with the adult. Both were released on the same day, together.

Here’s a fuzzy video that does at least show their excitement upon release from captivity.

And that’s not all! We also released a California King Snake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) and the last Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) in care from our summer ducklings.

The King Snake had been wrongfully held captive. He only needed time to prove that he knew what his natural food should be and that he was acclimated to life outdoors.

As a late season baby, the Mallard duckling had been alone for a few weeks in care. But released, she was soon in the comapny of her kind at the Arcata marsh, where food is plentiful and the chance to socialize and prepare for winter as a proper Mallard will finish her education.

Each of these wild neighbors would have died without your support. Each of them received the best care we could provide at the only available wildlife clinic on the North coast. Thanks to your generosity and your love for the wild, we are here every single day of the year. If you’d like to help us meet the challenge of our mission, donate today! Thank you!!