Several times this month, I have sat down to update my blog, but several times my good intentions were interrupted by a phone call about a critter in true or perceived crisis, a family need, or the begging cries of critters already in care.
But today, it is pouring rain, windy and my critters have bunkered down, sensing, I believe, the bad weather. They seem less needy and more willing to sleep and I can’t say I blame them.
In my last blog, I had received in four tiny red squirrels. Happy to say, after they were weaned and put into their hacking box, two were ready to become squirrels and have apparently joined the multitude of squirrels already hanging out here. Two, sadly, had issues and could not survive. One of these had its feet burned prior to my receiving them on a heating pad and had lost toes, a necessary feature for a climber. I tend to avoid heating pads and stick with hot water bottles and Magic bags for supplementary heat. Burns are too common with heating pads.
So let’s see where we are now.
Since then, two very recently hatched goslings were brought to me. Unfortunately, it was a situation where if given time and privacy, the adults would have eventually returned to them. But the wee ones also may have been spotted by a predator, or ran out onto the busy nearby highway too. I wish that the parents were given the opportunity. But as it is, two more goslings will be raised up on our beaver pond this year. The geese that previously nested this year lost their eggs to a fox, re-nested, and then were pillaged by a larger race of Canada geese, eggs broken and nest destroyed. This larger pair, by their behaviour and familiarity with me, are obviously some I have raised in the past, returning to their pond. They didn’t stick around to nest though, just drove the others off, and only come once or twice a day to check for intruders to their pond. They eye the goslings up suspiciously each time. For the goslings protection until they are feathered and larger I will keep them in a fenced in space with their ‘dummy mummy’. They are brought inside each night for safety and warmth.
Then, a call about an owlet. A lady saw an owlet on the ground, and was keeping her distance, but taking photos. Her dog, seeing the hissing, clacking, fuzz ball must have thought he needed to protect her and attacked it, severely injuring the wee thing. When they brought it to me, and I saw the angle of the tiny wing and blood, I wasn’t able to give them a good prognosis. I was mentally preparing myself to call the vet clinic and book an inevitable appointment. While I held, and tried to secure the injury to lessen pain, I heard a pop and the dislocated elbow was back into place. The bite marks on closer inspection did not look as severe, and although a bone was cracked, it would be naturally splinted by the parallel bone. The blood which covered its down and emerging feathers, seemed to be from damaged blood quills and not internal issues. So its bandaged up, and growing strong. Only time will tell if it will have flight but at least it will have a chance. Its growing into a beautiful young great horned owl, with that species temperament to match!
Later that week, another call from a friend. She asked if I was still taking in injured birds. Her husband and son were out trying to catch an injured kestrel and if they caught it, she would like to bring it to me. I agreed, and the beautiful little falcon was transported to me within the hour. It too had a wing injury, likely from clipping a car antennae or hydroline. Once again, no obvious breaks, but likely a crack near the elbow. Once again, time will tell. It removed its bandages last night, and did a flight around the room on its own accord. But it tired quickly, so I re-bandaged and will give it more time.
And then, there’s the raccoon. The one species I will normally refuse to take, especially as a blind kit, but the young gentleman who found it, did all the right things to see if mom would return for it. But she didn’t and he was willing to find a ride to get it to me, so I agreed. Whether or not it will be releasable once weaned and field trained will depend on the coon’s temperament. Some that I have raised have remained wild and fearful of humans, others have accepted humans as friends. The latter are not able to be released and do not have a good story ending.
And then, there’s the Transfer Station eagle. A city employee and friend called regarding an injured young eagle that hung out at the City garbage transfer station. Unfortunately, it still could fly well enough to elude me, and despite climbing over sandpiles, construction materials, windblown garbage and trekking through scary places in the woods I was unable to get close enough to net it. I did go on several occasions and threw food for it to see if it just needed some extra quality food to get it back in the air. But it continued to be attacked by ravens and gulls, until it could no longer fly. This time, it was the City employees that did the rescue, and called to tell me it was in their custody. The young bird is in very thin shape and has a strange wing injury, and likely some nerve damage. My guess would be electrocution, but I will have to take a longer closer look at the wing, once the bird has the strength to tolerate the handling stress.
So, folks, this is what is happening right now.
The rain will bring down bird nests, and will cause other issues too. Last year, the calls during rainstorms were topics like…I thought the fawn would be cold so I threw a blanket over it, and now the doe won’t let me near to take the blanket off so can you come help…or Can you move this fawn away? I want to let the dogs out…Or…we want to have a barbeque and there is a robin nesting in it. Can you come take the babies?