They Call It Giving Tuesday

We call it Tuesday. And who knows what the day will bring – before noon and we’ve already admitted five patients. Late November 2017 and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center has treated more animals in the regular course of our year than ever before. This winter we’ve cared for a steady stream of patients – from Western Grebes to Western Screech-owls – each caught in some terrible snare of civilization; smashed by cars, starved by a sea drowning in industrial refuse.

Two of our five Western Grebe patients recover from starvation on our seabird pool.

A Pacific Loon who landed in a puddle in a parking lot floats in privacy moments before her release evaluation.

One of the 11 Western Screech-owls that HWCC treated in November 2017. Early Autumns evenings and rush hour traffic are a terrible ix for nocturnal hunters!

Moments after release, this Western Screech-owl pauses to survey his second chance – a second chance your support provided.

As 2017 comes to its end, we thank you for all the support you’ve given – the difference your generosity has made for our wild neighbors is measurable – in patients we’ve treated, in wildlife conflicts we’ve resolved, in lives we’ve touched both human and wild – and it is also without number – your support reaches into the mysterious heart of our true wild life on Earth. Thank you for helping us get it done.








Wild Gratitude!

On this national day of Thanksgiving, those of us at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center want to share a few photos of our work day today! We’re here 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 in leap years!) And your support is what makes it possible!

Western Grebes in care on Thanksgiving day… Humboldt Wildlife Care Center is open every day of the year to provide care for our region’s injured and orphaned wild neighbors.

Staff and volunteers at work developing new education programs!

From all of us at Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, Thank You! Your generosity, today and everyday, keep our doors open, our clinic ready, and our mission of promoting co-existence with our wild neighbors moving forward! 

Want to help? Donate today! 


Burrowing Owls Dig Humboldt

Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are not the most common owl on the North Coast, and are certainly not the owl most closely associated with Redwoods. In fact it is really not that ordinary to see one here at all. Yet here they most definitely are! The most likely places to see A. cunicularia in Humboldt County, according to one of our local guides, is in the driftwood on beaches from the mouth of the Eel River to the mouth of Redwood Creek.

Typically these owls, true to their name, live in underground burrows that they dig themselves, or in burrows that were  originally made by another burrowing species such as the California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi).

And sometimes they can be found at a motel on Broadway, where US 101 is the main drag through Eureka.

The last Friday of October, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center received a call about an owl hanging around the parking lot of a motel in Eureka. Ordinarily we don’t intervene in the lives of our wild neighbors unless there is a good reason, such a suspected injury or other health problem. Owls are common in our cities and simply being present isn’t cause for alarm.

But this owl was reported on the ground in a location dense with traffic. Also, the people at the motel who reported him said he didn’t fly. When our staff arrived on the scene, they found a Burrowing Owl, in a car wheel well, perched on a tire. When they tried to catch he flew out across the parking lot into a motel room with an open door. While that did make capture easier, it left it unclear if he was well enough to leave alone. The owl was brought back to our clinic.

Burrowing Owls are a very unusual admission for us. We have no records of any Burrowing Owls in care at HWCC before this patient. Fortunately the initial examination found no injuries. Once placed in an aviary, the owl demonstrated excellent flight.

The previous night had seen a heavy blanket of fog. We can safely guess that the owl had been disoriented in those conditions landing not far from what is an ordinary and safe place – no more than a half mile from one of the islands in the bay, or the Samoa peninsula – but deep in a world of imminent peril. But that was the only problem – that civilization lurks in the fog. The only help this owl needed we had already provided. We gave him a lift to better habitat and returned him to his wild freedom.

A small owl who just wants to be free.

The indignities of captivity… soon, it’ll be over!

At the release site – hesitancy is a smart strategy. 

And away…

The last glimpse we had of this rare patient before s/he merged with the tangled bank …

As always, it’s your generosity that makes our work possible. Without you, there would be no one to answer a phone – there’d be no phone – when a rare owl, or a common songbird, or any of our wild neighbors needs a little, or a lot of help. We are close to 5% above last years admissions to date, and every day we admit more patients – from gulls hit by cars, to seabirds found starving on the beach, to opossum babies still coming in even this late in the year. Thank you for keeping us open, and for providing the only wildlife rehabilitation clinic on the North Coast, from northern Mendocino to the Oregon border.

Want to help? Great, because we need it! You can donate here to help us meet our critical expenses, or if you want to join our team of volunteers, click here!

all photos: Laura Corsiglia/ Bird Ally X