Raccoon (and Owl!) Under the Trees for Christmas

Our wildlife clinic in Bayside, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, is open every day of the year, including each holiday. There has never been a day when it wasn’t good that we were here.  This year on Christmas we admitted a very badly injured Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) who’s suffering we were able to end, and we returned to their free and wild lives a Western Screech-owl (Megascops kennicottii), who’d been hit by a car a week before the holiday but luckily had no traumatic injuries and recovered quickly, and a Raccoon (Procyon lotor) who’d been admitted as a young orphan months ago.

In 2016, at our wildlife clinic in Bayside, we raised nearly 30 orphaned Raccoons (Procyon lotor), from tiny neonatal babies who were still a week or more from opening their eyes, to juveniles orphaned or lost after leaving the den. Now, at the beginning of winter, most of these orphans have been released. We have two late season babies – much later than usual – who will be in care for another few weeks before they’re ready.

This Raccoon was admitted in early summer, a young female, just a few weeks old. Right at the time when her similarly aged cohorts in care were being released, she was discovered to have an active infection that was causing her feet to become raw and swollen. She was not going to like treatment at all. We isolated her from the others and put her on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine. Soon she was looking much better, and each day she snarled and struggled (thanks welder’s gloves!) against the indignities of wound treatment, medicine, and loathsome human hands! After 10 days, her symptoms were healed, her appetite returned and her determination undiminished. We took her off meds and held her for a week to be certain that she was recovered. That week ended on Christmas Day.

Into the wild, a place she had never really left…

Apparently other raccoons like this river too… a few footprints of her colleagues were seen at the scene.

The Western Screech-owl is returned to a site very close to where he was found.

A last fleeting glimpse before he’s gone back into the wild night.

Your support makes this work possible. Your support gave the Western Screech-owl and Released on Christmas a second chance. Your support gave that Northern Flicker a painless end to a horrible accident caused by our built world. We chase these successes around a world that often seems to care not even the tiniest amount about the suffering it causes. Your support proves that appearance false. Thank you for your love for the Wild. Thank you for being a part of this life-saving work.

all photos: Laura Corsiglia/Bird Ally X