Fall 2014 Newsletter
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Save the date! The Wildlife Center of Texas annual Open House will be held on Saturday, December 5th, 2015. This year, we will have food trucks in addition to our usual snacks and great wine. Come out and participate in our raffle, bid in the silent auction, win prizes and tour the center! Please come out and support this vital local organization and join us in honoring our volunteers, sponsors, veterinarians, and Moody Gardens while celebrating our ninth year at The Wildlife Center of Texas. More information and RSVP details will be made available in the coming weeks.
Great horned owlet in its new nest When baby birds fall out of their nests, it is impossible for their mothers to pick them up and place them back in the nest. Some mothers will continue to feed their babies on the ground, but these babies will eventually fall prey to predators such as raccoons or stray animals. This is where YOU can help! Most birds do not have a good sense of smell, and do not care if you touch their babies. It always best for mom and baby to remain together, and babies may still be cared for by the parents if placed in a substitute nest. A concerned citizen called The Wildlife Center of Texas last week about two great horned owlets whose nest had fallen down, taking the owlets with it. One had already passed away when he found the fallen nest, but the other was still alert and walking around. He called the center to see if he should bring it in, but here at The Wildlife Center of Texas we always want to try and reunite parent and baby if possible. Laundry basket used as substitute nest So we instructed the rescuer on how to construct a make-shift nest out of a laundry basket, leaves, and grass and place it in a tree nearby the spot where the babies were found. Of course it was also important that he watch to see whether the parents came back to care for the baby. The mother soon returned and kept feeding her baby! The concerned citizen sent us regular updates and pictures of the baby and, under the care of its mom, it is growing every day. [...]
The Wildlife Center of Texas has had some interesting patients this week. Volunteers and staff found themselves caring for several members of the order pelecaniformes. Pelecaniformes are medium to large aquatic birds which include birds like pelicans, cormorants, gannets, boobies, and anhingas. The birds currently in our care include brown pelicans, an anhinga, and a neo-tropic cormorant. The feature that distinguishes this order from all other birds is totipalmate feet, an adaptation where all four toes are connected by webbing (seen to the right). The pelican and cormorant have a hook on the end of their bill whereas the anhinga has a straight, sharp bill. Another interesting difference is the anhinga’s unusual feathers. Their unique plumage consists of corrugated feathers (seen below); two in the center of the tail, one each from the scapular (shoulder feathers) and four or five rippled feathers on each wing. Many of the pelicans at the center were brought in as a result of the extended cold winter we have had. The cormorant was hit by a car and is suffering blunt force trauma and the anhinga was found with its bill stuck in a littered hand wipe. Typically, birds like these come in emaciated and full of parasites in addition to their injuries. After they have been treated for their injuries and are ready to be released, The Wildlife Center of Texas will hold a public release of some of its pelicans sometime in March. If you are interested in participating in the release make sure you have signed up for our e-blasts. You can sign up with just your name and email on the bottom of our home page: www.WildlifeCenterofTexas.org
Spring is just around the corner. This past week our baby nurseries have started to fill with baby eastern fox squirrels, rabbits, opossums, and ducks. All of the babies are being lovingly tended to by our dedicated volunteers. Please remind family, friends, and co-workers to keep an eye out for fallen babies this spring as they start doing yard work. Many tree trimmers do not know that squirrel nests are in the tree until they destroy the nest. Baby rabbits are frequently found by gardening and lawn care companies. This is also the time of year that mother opossums with pouches full of babies begin to move and are hit by cars in the road. The wildlife center receives hundreds of babies each spring when mothers are killed but the babies are still alive. If baby squirrels are found and cannot be put back in the nest, one can either leave them at the base of the tree or place them in a hanging basket (seen in the picture to the right) in a nearby tree for an hour or so to see if mom comes to pick them up. Unlike mother squirrels, mother birds cannot pick up their babies and move them once they have fallen out of their nest. If a baby bird is found they can be placed back in their nest or they can also be placed in a hanging basket nearby. The birds’ parents will continue to feed them even in the basket. Wild mothers will NOT reject their babies if a human has touched them; this is a myth and reuniting mother and baby is always the best option. However, if they are not taken by the mom, place [...]
Join The Wildlife Center of Texas at the Wildcat Golf Club on April 15, 2014 as an underwriter and show your support for native wildlife at our 10th Annual Golf Tournament. As an underwriter, you will be joining our current sponsors listed below, in a continued commitment to the welfare of native wildlife and environmental education. Click Here to Sign Up! There will be food, live music and much, much more. Space is filling up fast, so don't delay, sign up today as an underwriter! The tournament has an 8:00 am shotgun start with registration beginning at 7:00 am. Your support can help save the lives of injured, ill, or orphaned native wildlife, all while playing golf on a course named one of the Top 10 Luxury Courses by Avid Golfer Magazine!
The Wildlife Center of Texas will be providing two oiled wildlife response training workshops on location in Houston. The workshops are identical in content but offered on two different dates. The first will be sponsored by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on Friday, March 28, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The second will be sponsored by ExxonMobil on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clean Gulf Associates will be providing the Oiled Wildlife Response Trailer for washing. Both workshops will take place at The Wildlife Center of Texas, 7007 Katy Rd., Houston, TX 77024. These workshops fill up quickly so sign up as soon as possible! Please register via email at WildlifeResponse@wildlifecenteroftexas.org. There is no cost for the workshop but space is limited. The purpose of the workshop is to certify and train personnel that are interested in assisting The Wildlife Center of Texas Oiled Wildlife Response Team during a spill. Certification and training are required for anyone who may participate in any role during an oiled wildlife response. The workshop will cover topics such as the effects of oil on wildlife, initial intake and exam of oiled wildlife, an introduction to OSHA training, wildlife rehabilitation's role in Incident Command System, and actual hands on cleaning of oiled feathers in which participants will practice by washing an un-oiled white duck. We would like for all permitted wildlife rehabilitators and trainees, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state wildlife officials, industry environmental personnel, local veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, as well as interested citizens to participate in this training.
The Wildlife Center of Texas would like to remind everyone that this is the optimal time of year to wildlife-proof your house. Over 85% of baby raccoons we received last year were made orphans unnecessarily. Following these simple guidelines from WCT and 911Wildlife can save you time, money, and keep wildlife families together. 1. Don’t put out a welcome mat. Trim overhanging branches that provide easy access to your roof for squirrels and other wildlife. Loose shingles are the equivalent of a flashing “Vacancy” sign for wildlife. Carefully inspect your roof and eaves. Repair deteriorating boards, warped siding, and damaged shingles. Cover attic openings with heavy gauge, rustproof wire mesh (not chicken wire). If you have a chimney, make sure that it has a secure cap. Chimneys without caps are open invitations to noisy chimney swifts and raccoons looking for "hollow trees" in which to give birth and raise their young. 2. Avoid providing a buffet. Don’t encourage nesting by providing food like accessible garbage, pet food, bird seed, and standing water. Tightly bungee cord trash cans and avoid feeding pets outside. 3. Don’t forget your friends in low places. Skunks and armadillos are ground-dwelling diggers. If you have a pier-and-beam foundation, cover vent openings with heavy gauge, rustproof wire mesh. If you have a deck, install an L-shaped barrier around it. Cover open bottom decks with lattice to discourage a potential nest. 4. Don’t waste time and money. If you already have animals in your home, be sure to use a reputable wildlife removal company that takes the time to inspect and prevent all entry points to prevent more calls in the future. Also make sure your company takes the time to [...]
The latest edition of The Wildlife Center of Texas Newsletter is out! Click the link below to view the newsletter: Wildlife Center of Texas Newsletter (Fall 2013)