Bird Ally X http://birdallyx.net helping wild animals and the people who provide care for them Sun, 10 Sep 2017 22:58:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 90917958 Hot Sparks of Life* – Four Squirrels Go Home http://birdallyx.net/hot-sparks-of-life-four-squirrels-go-home/ Sun, 10 Sep 2017 22:43:55 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=6286  *”The [Douglas Squirrel] is the brightest of all squirrels I have ever seen, a hot spark of life, making every tree tingle with his prickly toes, a condensed nugget of fresh mountain vigor and valor, as free from disease as a sunbeam. He seems to think the mountains belong to him. How he scolds, and what faces he makes, all eyes, teeth, and whiskers. If not so comically small he would indeed be a dreadful fellow.”  John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

On almost any day that you decide to take a walk in Arcata’s Community Forest, you’ll likely be scolded by a small gray backed, rusty bellied squirrel who will run headlong down a giant redwood to tell you exactly what you are doing all wrong!

Douglas Squirrels (Tamiasciurus douglasii) are notorious for their harsh critique of the anthroposphere throughout their range of the Pacific Northwest. Has any human, or human’s pet, met with their approval? No.

Although easily seen in broad daylight, another of Muir’s observations remains true: “He is, without exception, the wildest animal I ever saw, –a fiery, sputtering little bolt of life.”

However, when something disturbs their den site, all the wildness in the world can’t save squirrels who are too young to survive on their own.

In the case of the four young Douglas Squirrels who we admitted in early August at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, a kind man found them scattered and struggling around the base of a tall Redwood deep in the Arcata Community Forest. We don’t know what happened to their nest, only that no parents were seen and the young Squirrels were lethargic and barely moving. He scooped them up and carried them to our clinic a few miles away on his bicycle.

Too young to be on their own, cold and dehydrated, we admitted them for care. Soon, after receiving fluids and spending some time in an incubator, they were active and looking for food. We started them on mixture of milk replacer and ground seed. Within ten days they were strictly eating whole seed plus a lot more!

After a few weeks in care, the four sibling Squirrels were moved to outdoor housing to gain the benefits of exercise and some relief from constant proximity to human care providers. 

After being weaned from a milk replacer, the youngsters were provided a varied diet that consisted of foods similar to what they would eat once they were free – a mixture of seeds, berries and mushrooms.

Rounding up Douglas Squirrels for routine exams is always a challenge!

We never underestimate the power of an angry Squirrel. Rodent teeth can really hurt!

After four weeks in care, our Squirrel patients were ready to go home – here is their living room. The person who found the Squirrels originally gave us detailed directions that allowed us to find the exact location – one more piece of the puzzle that will help ensure that these Hot Sparks will thrive in wild freedom.

Is anything more precious than a box of Squirrels? An HWCC volunteer prepares to unleash the fury!

The first Squirrel to leave the box scopes out the scene.

[Your donation makes the care we provide to injured and orphaned wild animals possible. Over 95% of the animals we treat were directly and negatively impacted by human society and its machinery. Your generosity goes directly toward helping right that wrong. Please donate today!]

The satisfaction of helping the wild survive alongside the harsh realities of human civilization is a reward like no other.

The face of wild freedom running fiercely through the Community forest.


Upon release, our volunteers noted that there were several adult squirrels in the immediate area. We are sure that we’ve successfully returned these youngsters to their family. Now with their second chance, which was possible because of your support, these youngsters will carry their fiery torch forward. Next year, they’ll have babies of their own and the seasons and our lives roll on. Thank you for providing us the resources we need to be able to help whoever it is that comes through our door. Our wild neighbors in jeopardy, whether an injured adult or displaced orphan would have nowhere to go without your generosity. If you’d like to donate, click here, – every little bit helps!

all photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX

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Fawns of 2017! http://birdallyx.net/fawns-of-2017/ Mon, 04 Sep 2017 22:07:47 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=6205 Each year we are the only resort several Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawns have. Orphaned by trucks, cars, and sometimes dogs, young fawns are brought to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, our wildlife hospital in Bayside, California. A young fawn, often traumatized by the death of her mother, requires specialized care. Typically, young fawns are uninjured and their health is compromised only to the extent that they have been without maternal care. The sooner we receive orphaned deer, the better their chances for survival.

Convincing a fawn that a bottle of formula can replace his mother is no easy trick. And the danger, of course, as with all wild babies, is that our close contact will habituate the orphan to people, who will come to see people as non-threatening. Again, as with all wild animals, this is a dangerous condition. It is simply a fact that wild animals who do not have a fear of humans and human activity are at much greater risk of being injured and killed by people. So steps are taken to disguise the caregiver and as quickly as possible, help the fawn adapt first to the bottle, and second to a bottle rack. Once fawns makes that leap, we sharply reduce our interactions with them until it is time for them to be released, and they make the leap to freedom.

[Help us help wildlife! Your support is needed to care for fawns, swallows and all our wild neighbors in need! Support our work here, today! Thank you!!!]

Bottles are delivered at scheduled times, gradually increasing in amount as the fawns grow, and then decreasing as we wean them from milk replacer to greens. It takes a lot of leaves to raise a healthy fawn!

From admission at a few days old in May it usually is the end of August or early September before they are old enough to join a herd without a mother of their own. This year we released four fawns. Following are pictures from their care and from their big day of new freedom!

Just admitted. Despondent and still following mom’s instructions: Pretend you’re not there and they wont see you.

In care for a month, the gang of orphans form a indisputable bond.

At least twice a day fresh “greens” are offered. It takes a lot of effort to replicate Mama Deer and Mother Earth!

Release day! 



“The last you’ll see of me!” 


For next year we need to greatly expand our available fawn housing. This year we got lucky in the low number of orphaned deer we admitted. In the past we’ve had as many as 14! We’ll be increasing our capacity, but we’ll need your help. Housing that is large enough and protected from predators will take community support to build. As always, we ask you to please help us help our injured and orphaned wild neighbors. You can donate here to support our work, including preparing a better facility for 2018! Thank you!

All photos: Bird Ally X/Laura Corsiglia

our photographer:

Laura Corsiglia set up for the fawn release. (photo by Carol “the Deer Lady” Andersen)

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BARNTINI! the 4th annual fundraiser for Jacoby Creek Land Trust and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center http://birdallyx.net/barntini-the-4th-annual-fundraiser-for-jacoby-creek-land-trust-and-humboldt-wildlife-care-center/ Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:54:10 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=6133
Join us this Friday, August 25 for the 4th annual Barntini! – a fundraiser to support Jacoby Creek Land Trust and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/BAX.

With a Taco Bar, featuring fresh local ingredients prepared by chef Brett Shuler, local spirits by Dutch and Dewey!

We’ll have a tremendously awesome Silent Auction with items donated that are so terrific, so profoundly necessary in your life, that you’ll be begging to place a bid!

Live music that will have you dancing all night and burning off all the fabulous food and drink!

And all the proceeds go to restoring and preserving wild habitat and our wild neighbors who live there!

Tickets can be purchased here or at Wildberries Market. Tickets are also available at the door!

Come out for a terrific end of Summer party and help keep our wild lands and our wild neighbors safe!

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Little Brown Bat: from Tiny Baby to Freedom http://birdallyx.net/little-brown-bat-from-tiny-baby-to-freedom/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:44:13 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=6107 When the tiny, barely furred baby bat was found on a sidewalk in Eureka, it seemed that his barely begun life was already at its end. The kind-hearted people who found him, scooped him up, cold and non-responsive, and brought him to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in Bayside, California.

A Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) just a couple of grams in weight, we first stabilized him with warmth and fluids. Initially we hoped to return him to his colony and his mother, but we had no idea where that colony was. His rescue location left no clues. It would be up to us to raise him.

This species of bat matures fast and can be independent as early as four weeks old! Our task was to get him there!

Feeding the little bat in the early days of his care.

Getting older, his ears are large and his fur is soft! 4 grams of magnificent mammal splendor!


In this video you can see how much he liked his milk replacer!

It wasn’t long from this time that he was weaned from milk to mealworms. First we let him lick the guts out of dead worm. He rejected worm guts in no uncertain terms, seemingly with an indignant air: “I am a bat and bats like milk!” Within a week he singing a different tune. “Give me worms, lots of worms and forget about that milk!” 

After five weeks in care he began to fly. Our time with him was nearing the end. At his release we provided a small shelter with worms inside incase he needed them.

The moment before we opened the door…
The joy of seeing a young mammal take his first flight is a rare one indeed, but less so if your patient is a bat!


After several laps around the open pasture where he was released, we lost sight of the little fierce hunter of night insects! 


All bats, including Little Brown Bats, are often villified. While it’s true that bats are a vector species for rabies, the percentage of bats that actually test positive is very small! Most bats are perfectly healthy! Still, if you find a bat on the ground, or in a strange place, call us before you handle him. While it’s unlikely that she or he has rabies (no bat that we’ve sent for testing in the last 7 years has come back positive) if you are bitten or scratched you may be exposing yourself to that terrible virus and in either case we have to have the bat tested, which costs the bat his life. Call us before you act, and if you can’t call us, always wear protective leather gloves. Never let children or pets near a bat that you think might be sick.

It was  a joy to raise and release this healthy baby. It’s a joy and a privilege to help any wild neighbor. All it takes to make it possible is your support. In our busiest season, with our demanding caseload, we need you everyday! Please help us provide what our patients need. If we weren’t here this young bat would’ve been left to die a cold lonely death, on a sidewalk in the middle of bat-nowhere. Thank you for helping us help him!  Donate HERE

photos: Laura Corsiglia and Bird Ally X

A great way to help us help wildlife! and have a darn good time doing it too! Barntini!!!!

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An Orphaned Jay’s Second Chance http://birdallyx.net/an-orphaned-jays-second-chance/ Sun, 30 Jul 2017 14:21:30 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=6059 As the only permitted all species wildlife hospital that serves  Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte and northern Mendocino counties, we admit patients from across a wide region that includes many isolated communities. We treat patients from Blocksburg, Ettersburg, New Harris Store, Weitchpec, Capetown – from the Oregon border to Willits, from Hayfork to the sea. Often we are brought patients from deep in the hills, and we never learn where they actually were found.

In June we admitted an uninjured Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) nestling from someplace near Leggett. We have no idea where exactly or how far from the highway she was originally found. We were told that her nest had been destroyed, but not where it had been located. Ordinarily we’d want to try to reunite a healthy nestling with her parents.

In this case, that would be impossible, so the poor little nestling, not yet two weeks old, would have the misfortune of being raised by us, not her own family. Of course, at this point, we were her lucky break.

,(We don’t actually know what sex this bird is – we’re calling her female for the writer’s convenience and our refusal to call a living being ‘it’.) 

Admission day. Getting a first exam and an i.d. bracelet. Her feathers are growing in.

For her first ten days in care, she was hand fed a regular diet of insects, berries, and small bits of fish. As soon as she was able to feed herself, after nearly three weeks in care, our schedule was reduced until she no longer wanted anything to do with the food we offered by hand.
In our aviary, after 5 weeks, she is the size of an adult, with all of her feathers, self-feeding, and fully flighted!

The last time she’ll be handled! She passed her release evaluation with flying colors!




After 5 weeks in various sized boxes, from transport carriers to aviaries, she is at last free again, enjoying a second chance. Does she know how close she came to leaving this world before she’d really entered it? Who knows. But now she surveys her wide world from the safety of high and distant branch in a grove of Redwoods.
Ruth, our volunteer coordinator surveys our young champion surveying her new freedom! Would like to help a wild animal get a second chance? Submit an application through our website and Ruth will contact you to get you started as a volunteer at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center!


With your support, this Jay and the hundreds of wild animals, injured and orphaned, that we treat each Spring and Summer are given a second chance. Right now we are deep in our busiest time, and resources are as scarce as ever. We need your help now. Please donate today if you can. Thank you!

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A Summer Like No Other! So Many Mammals! http://birdallyx.net/a-summer-like-no-other-so-many-mammals/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:04:58 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=5964 2017 has been unusual. While it’s perfectly normal right now, in the height of our Spring and Summer wild baby season, that we’re very busy with a huge demand on our resources, what’s strange is the number of baby mammals we’ve admitted. Typically our patient caseload is 75% birds, and 25% mammals, with only a few reptiles such as snakes, lizards and turtles admitted for care, year in and year out. This year though we’ve seen a large increase in orphaned baby mammals. Instead of 25%, we are at 39% mammals for 2017 to date!

In part this is because we’ve started to accept more wild babies from northern Mendocino County, where permitted wildlife rehabilitators are scarce. (But there is one! Shout out to Ronnie James of Woodlands Wildlife near Fort Bragg!) That counts for less than a dozen raccoons however and not a 16% increase. So what else might be the cause? We don’t know.

What we do know is that we are as active as ever helping people resolve wildlife/human conflicts peacefully and keeping wild families together. This has been the wettest year in six years of keeping our digital database. Between loss of habitat, encroachment on the wild, increased traffic and of course the great destabilizer, climate change, it’s nearly impossible to know at this time what exactly is happening. Every day we get calls about stranded or orphaned youngsters in need of help. Every day we hear about dead wild mothers on the highway.

Every story of the wild animals we treat has heartbreak in it. This adult Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) is a nursing mom. She was hit by a car and found on the side of the road on the north side of Crescent City. Her first week in care, she was barely aware of her surroundings or the handling she endured while we proved supportive care. 

Gradually she regained her wits. As soon as she could stand and walk, we moved her to an outdoor enclosure where her agility and alertness began to quickly return.

Her wariness on the day of her release examination was a welcome sight. As she tried to evade capture she demonstrated a crucial intelligence and bravery that she will need when she’s home in the wild.

This net capture is the last indignity that she must face before freedom!

Her release very near her rescue site: the mother Fox takes a cautious moment to look around.

And then she breaks for it! – into the hedgerow, into the tangled bank!


And she is gone, back into her realm, her freedom – out of our grasp and away from our gaze. The luck of being found and rescued saved her life. It is impossible, knowing she was a nursing mother, to not acknowledge her kits, as many as four of them, who died without her care after she was hit by the car. But she is in great health otherwise, a strong and muscular vixen, who has lived to raise another family. 


How do we provide this care to our region’s injured and orphaned wild animals, every day of the year? Easy. Only with your support. Please donate today. Our Season is only half way through! We need your help! Donate Now.


So far this season we’ve admitted twice as many juvenile Striped Skunks(Mephitis mephitis) than in any year previously!

While it is easy to avoid getting sprayed during care procedures, such as weight checks and other examinations of our young skunk patients, there is still a psychological barrier to overcome when handling them. Fortunately at this age, their defensive spray is fairly mild.

In our skunk housing, youngsters learn to dig for insects, eat meat, and hide from threats, among other skills they will need to succeed as adults. Your support makes our facility possible! Thank you! 


A young skunk from this year’s babies smells freedom again, and it is sweet.


A very unusual patient! We treat many bats year ’round, but this is only the second time in 6 years that we’ve admitted a very young Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus). This little bat came in nearly fur-less, eyes closed and in need of regular formula feedings. We were unable to locate his colony and return him, so we raised him at our clinic. Now weaned and eating strictly insects, soon he will begin flying, and soon after that he will be free. 


Brush rabbits(Sylvilagus bachmani) are often victims of house cats, especially when they are very young and first out of the nest…  this baby succumbed to the infection caused by the cat bites he received. Free-roaming cats take a terrible toll on young wild animals. 


Almost every Black-tailed Deer fawn (Odocoileus hemionus) that we treat has been traumatized. Usually found along the side of the road with their dead mother, they come in to care obviously depressed. It can take real effort and convincing to get a fawn who has just seen their mother killed by a vehicle to accept a bottle. For the past two years we have been feeding goat milk instead of formula with good results. Availability is much improved and we receive occasional donations of fresh milk from our neighbors who have goats! Thanks to everyone who has donated goat milk!

Housed outside we keep a distance from these fawns, providing them with fresh leaves every day supplemented with milk fed in a blind bottle rack. When they are weaned we begin planning their release. Most fawns that we receive calls about are actually fine and don’t need rescue! Like with Rabbits, Does park their babies someplace safe while they forage, returning now and again to nurse. If you see a fawn lying in the grass, simply back away and give them space. Unless a dead mother is seen, in nearly all cases she is nearby watching. As always, if you are unsure, give us a call and we can help you figure out what’s best.


We currently have 20 Raccoons  (Procyon lotor) in care. Labor intensive, hungry and with an insatiable curiosity that makes housing them for the duration of their care a challenge, Raccoons are one of our more common patients. Uncommonly intelligent, steps to preserve their wildness are critical to their success. A raccoon unafraid of a back porch is soon going to be in serious trouble. Many people have no qualms about trapping and killing these hot sparks of wild life. The world as it is needs as much intelligence as it can find. Help keep the world safe for these natural geniuses. Don’t leave food or pet food outside, keep your garbage secure – all wildlife will benefit from these steps.


Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) were once considered non-native on the West coast of North America, thought to have been introduced by immigrants from the East. Now it’s not so certain. Native to the areas of northern Mexico directly South of their current West coast range, it is considered possible and even likely that their range has expanded on their own steam as they migrate and spread into habitat that suits them. Short-lived (most wild opossums live no more than 4 years) these unobtrusive, nocturnal animals, North America’s only marsupial, are the mammal most often cared for in California. Litters often have ten or more babies. When a mother is hit by a car, she often has a pouch full of nursing youngsters. Opossums are on the go all night long. Be vigilant when driving!

Young opossums in the first stages of learning to feed themselves are offered a dish of the same formula that they are fed on schedule. Soon we’ll add egg, squash, and then bits of  slivered fish. Preparing healthy wild diets is one of the pleasures of our work. Your support makes it possible!

In their outdoor housing, young Opossums  learn to climb, recognize appropriate food, exercise, and dig for insects. As soon as they are the right weight and exhibit the necessary skills, they venture out into the world, making their way. If you see an opossum, remember, we are each sojourners in this world, and there are none abiding… Give an opossum a break. It is impossible to order the parts of the universe by most and least important. Let’s help each other not make the foolish mistake of thinking we can! 


A tiny Deer Mouse is fed formula. The humble Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is native over much of the western continent. Only occasionally do we treat them at this age, but we do see adults throughout the year. Once you’ve held a 2 gram baby mouse in your hand, and wanted them to thrive, what can you do but make sure that a heat lamp, a regular round of formula, and a chance to grow and learn are provided. We have a lot of mouths to feed and a mission to feed all who come our way. 


As noted above, we don’t know what the difference is that makes this year so full of orphaned mammals in our care. We only know that we have a mission to provide where needed to injured and orphaned wild neighbors and to work to build a way to continue helping wildlife in distress as we enter a very de-stabilized future. We won’t be able to do this with out your help.

This part has always been true.

2017 has seen much uncertainty, and we feel it too. Support for the care of the almost forgotten wild babies of the world can be hard to come by when so much anxiety about so many predicaments is a-foot. Just two weeks ago, scientists warned in the New York Times that we are entering an era of “biological annihilation”.

It is here, where we live, where see the impacts of such horrors. And it will be us, in our communities, who do what we can to soften the blows to the innocent wild among us. Please help us meet our mission. Your donation today and every day goes directly toward care of our patients and advocacy for all of the wild. Thank you for your support! Donate Here.  

Photos: Bird Ally X/ Laura Corsiglia

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Raccoon Housing Repairs Complete! (Short video tour!) http://birdallyx.net/raccoon-housing-repairs-complete-short-video-tour/ Fri, 09 Jun 2017 23:34:15 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=5879 A couple of months ago BAX launched a crowd-sourcing fundraiser for the repairs we needed to make to our Raccoon (Procyon lotor) housing at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. This housing is  a critical component of our orphaned raccoon program. It’s where the babies we care for grow, develop, and learn.

Those repairs are now complete. Here’s a glimpse into the housing that teaches wild babies the skills they’ll need to thrive in their wild freedom. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this campaign!

Also, thank you to all our supporters. These are tough, lean times for us and it seems they’re only getting tougher. Every dollar contributed helps. Your support makes a big difference for our wild neighbors.  The food and water our raccoon kits need, the fish we provide all of our patients, the thousands of insects we feed baby orphaned songbirds. Our medicines and supplies – all of these real things cost real money – money we wouldn’t have without you. Want to make a donation now? Follow this link! Thank you!

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Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Baby Skunks! http://birdallyx.net/mercy-mercy-mercy-baby-skunks/ Sun, 04 Jun 2017 20:19:36 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=5843 This story comes with recommended listening, Cornell Dupree playing Joe Zawinul’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy:

It happens and you don’t even know why. Suddenly – you’ve just learned to walk, just learning to find bugs, just seeing the night sky – you’re alone. Your siblings too. Maybe your mother was hit by a car. Maybe she was trapped and killed or taken far away. But no matter what happened, she didn’t come back ever again. A day goes by, then two, then three. Before you know it you don’t want to run anymore and then, if you’re lucky, one of those people finds you, picks you up, puts you in a box. If you make it to a wildlife rehabilitator, you’re going to be in boxes of one kind or another for a little while. But if all goes well, you’ll be free again.

***

Last week at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, we admitted our first baby Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis) of the season. 3 youngsters were found in a backyard in Eureka. They’d been seen for a couple of days, but no mother was observed at any time. When one of them was found not moving, all 3 were captured and brought to our clinic.

Right on the edge of weaning, they are old enough to eat solid food and can be housed in our outdoor small mammal housing. But they are far too young to be on their own with no protection and no one to teach them how to find food, how to hunt.

For the next 8 weeks, these distant cousins to the otters (and even more distant to ourselves) will learn to forage for insects, find prey, and recognize the foods that will sustain them in adulthood. We’ll measure their progress and keep a distance between to protect their wildness and preserve their healthy fear of human beings.

We’ll need your help.

What follows are photographs from their first day in care. Now they are housed outdoors, in privacy. We’ll post more photographs as we can get opportunity during health checks over the coming weeks. Right now, they are gaining weight and using their new little teeth very well.

An exam of each skunk was made. One of them, the male of the three, was cold, lethargic and dehydrated, the two sisters were in much better shape. Each was given warmed subcutaneaous fluids. The male, initially  found immobile in the grass, had to be kept in an incubator for some time, but soon recovered and rejoined his siblings.
Tail up, the weaker of the three begins to signal his recovery as he signals his alarm at waking up in an incubator.
Oh yes, these teeth are ready from something to chew on!

The two healthier sisters inside their initial housing to observe their stability, learn more about their state of health and make sure that they are eating. The brother soon joined them.

At this age, skunks don’t have much ability to spray. Still the siblings stamp out warnings and lift their tails in mock battle. Play leads to adulthood!


It can be a hard sell – that these skunks matter. That any skunks matter. In a world such as ours, with demons at the helm, who put every thing that matters up on blocks in the front yard – the chopping block or the auction block – it can seem like we’ve got more pressing matters. But we don’t. So much of what we suffer in this world is the result of a human arrogance that values its own engorgement over the very mystery that produces appetites at all. In this world, pleading the case of the wounded Robin, the orphaned skunk, the broken-winged gull can seem like too little too late. But if we’re going to have a big world worth protecting, we’ll find it the small miracles that surround us, the dense feathers of the seabird’s belly, the strong musk of an evening’s encounter.

Please help us care for these beings whose lives are their own, who determine their own value, victims of our thoughtless creations. Donate (here) if you can. Thank you.

photos: Bird Ally X/ Laura Corsiglia

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Wild fostering… http://birdallyx.net/wild-fostering/ Sat, 03 Jun 2017 07:44:28 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=5832 Admitting a wild baby for care immediately poses questions that must be solved. First! Is this baby an orphan? Wild babies are better off with their families. If the family is intact, our first task is to reunite the baby with parent or parents. For some species this is easy, for others less so … Finding a mother Mallard(Anas platyrhynchos) who’s lost one or more of her chicks is nearly impossible, while getting a mistakenly grabbed Raven(Corvus corax) chick back to her parents is one of the easiest things you can do.

But often the family is gone, a parent killed, or their whereabouts unknowable (a dog drags a fawn up to the front porch, uninjured, but who knows from where…). However hope for a real wild upbringing isn’t completely lost. In some cases we can “wild foster”,  a technique in which orphans are placed in a wild family of their own species although not related. For some species, including most raptors, this can be easily done. (check out the work of  The Hungry Owl Project, one of the organizations that helped spread the use of this technique for raptors in California.)  We attempt to wild foster our young orphans whenever we can, or is necessary.

If re-uniting and fostering are not an option, we still have our faithful standby: we raise the orphans ourselves. While not ideal, successfully raising orphaned wild animals is done every day across the world by compassionate people, mostly volunteers, who take the business of being wild very seriously. We protect the wild nature of our patients fiercely, as well as their absolute right to freedom. To successfully prepare our patients for their adulthood means to provide them an upbringing that will give them the opportunity to develop the necessary tools for surviving and thriving – meeting their rightful destiny.

It may same a strange activity, but taking care of babies not even of your own species isn’t just humane, it’s natural.

Consider how tenderly this Bald Eagle(Haliaeetus leucocephalus) feeds this Red-tailed Hawk(Buteo jamaicensis) chick at this eagle nest. How this hawk found his way into this nest we may never know, but we do know this: This eagle is giving this hawk a second chance! Just like we do. One feeding at a time.

In this remarkable video, Bald Eagles in their nest at Roberts Bay, near Victoria, British Columbia are seen feeding a Red-tailed Hawk nestling. Apparently raising orphans of a species not your own is a perfectly natural endeavor! [EDIT: more information on this nest here.]


As with all aspects of our work, raising wild orphans requires specialized skills and a facility that is flexible enough to meet the shifting demands of our caseload and the diversity of our wild neighbors – raising Common Murre(Uria aalge) chicks and Raccoons(Procyon lotor) do have some similarities, but mostly they have a multitude of differences!

Whether we raise these babies ourselves, wild foster them, or return them to their families, our ability to act, to weigh the considerations and have resources available so that the our best course of action can be followed. All of our work stems from your support. Without your support, none of this ever happens. Please help us now in the midst of our busiest time of the year. We have a lot of mouths to feed. Donate Now.

 

 

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Motherless Mallards Find Their Freedom! http://birdallyx.net/5758-2/ Mon, 29 May 2017 17:35:06 +0000 http://birdallyx.net/?p=5758 After six weeks in care, our first wild orphans of the year, these three Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), finished their time with us this weekend and were released back to their free and wild lives.

Found in a back yard in McKinleyville, these youngsters were only 30 grams when we admitted them in the middle of April. Now over 700 grams and with their flight feathers nearly grown in, we released to one of our area’s local “duck nurseries”, a marshy location that is a smorgasbord of appropriate Mallard diet. Here they’ll finish their apprenticeships on their way to becoming successful adults.

The obstacles people have put in the way of the normal lives of our wild neighbors are extreme. Cars, dogs, cats, fences form a gauntlet of challenges that Mallard families have to pass through on their way from nest to water. If you see a Mallard family on the go, help them along by making sure they have a clear path – keep your pets away and let your kids know what’s happening so they can learn to appreciate the wild lives that surround us.

Providing care for orphaned Mallards isn’t easy. Housing requirements for all wild aquatic birds are extensive and the water needed is expensive. Keeping wildlife wild is an important component too!  You can help us provide professional care for thse adn all our our wild patients. Want o help? Donate today!

photos: Bird Ally X/Laura Corsiglia

 

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