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Next Oiled Wildlife Response Training Workshop

The Wildlife Center of Texas will be conducting an oiled wildlife response training workshop on Friday, December 13, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  sponsored by Shell. The workshop takes place at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana and will certify and train personnel that are interested in assisting The Wildlife Center of Texas Oiled Wildlife Response Team during a spill.  Lunch will be provided. 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 the Incident Command System and an actual hands on cleaning of oiled feathers in which participants will practice by washing an unoiled white duck. All permitted wildlife rehabilitators and trainees, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state wildlife officials, industry environmental personnel, as well as local veterinarians and veterinarian technicians are encouraged to participate in this training. There is no cost for the workshop but space is limited. Please register via email at WildlifeResponse@WildlifeCenterofTexas.org

Injured Animals Come to the Wildlife Center of Texas

As winter approaches, The Wildlife Center of Texas sees an increase in the number of injured adult animals that are found and brought to our center. Hawks and owls are commonly found injured on roadsides, hit by cars as they swoop down to catch prey in the road. Hawks are also the most frequent victims of gunshots seen at The Wildlife Center of Texas. It is illegal to shoot or otherwise intentionally harm a protected species like hawks and other Texas birds thanks to the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Violations of the law are subject to conviction of a misdemeanor and fines of up to $15,000. However, this does not stop people from shooting the magnificent birds. Luckily, our veterinary staff is able to repair many of the injured birds brought to our center. It is very rewarding to see our raptors and other birds take flight once more and rejoin their brethren in the wild. Besides our birds of prey, opossums that have been hit by cars or caught by dogs are another fairly common patient. Squirrels that are busy preparing for winter may get hit by cars, fall out of trees, or get caught by cats. Migratory songbirds may run into trouble with windows or outdoor cats as they come through the Galveston/Houston area. Seabirds and aquatic turtles inadvertently swallow fish hooks along with their meal. Many of the injuries sustained by wild animals are the result of human influences. The Wildlife Center of Texas is here to help. We are open every day to receive wild animals in need. Our staff is just a phone call away to give advice on capturing an injured animal or to make recommendations [...]

Holiday Shopping on Amazon Supports the WCT!

As the holiday season approaches and the early birds get started on their gift shopping, stores and Internet shopping sites will be busy places. But did you know that your holiday shopping could benefit the animals here at the Wildlife Center of Texas? Amazon.com and many other stores in the iGive network donate a portion of your purchase price to the Wildlife Center of Texas if you access the stores through special links. So before you pay for all the gifts you have selected for friends and family, visit our website and link to the web store you are shopping to check out. The Wildlife Center of Texas will receive a percentage of the purchase price at no cost to you! It's a wonderful way to help support the Wildlife Center of Texas and to help us continue our mission to care for the injured, orphaned, and oiled wildlife of Texas. And while you're at it, how about selecting a gift for the animals here at the Wildlife Center of Texas from our Amazon.com wishlist? Many of the items can count toward getting you that free Super Saver shipping! Click here for the Amazon.com store link, or visit the Amazon page under the donations tab. The iGive network includes hundreds of stores, and whether you are looking for electronic, computers, jewelry, or practically anything else, you can browse the iGive site and find some great items while supporting the Wildlife Center of Texas at the same time. Make sure you list the Wildlife Center of Texas as your cause when on the site. And consider this as well: every time you Google something or search the web with Bing or Yahoo, you could be earning [...]

Baby Orphans

The Wildlife Center of Texas is continuing to receive more baby raccoons than usual. These little ones require a great deal of care, expense, and a long term time commitment. It has been interesting to look at our statistics and 85% of the baby raccoons we have taken in should not have been put in an orphan situation to begin with. Their mothers were trapped out of attics, under decks, etc. and then hauled off to who knows where without their babies. This is sad and painful for these females. They are full of milk and once released try to get back to their babies. Many are hit on roads that they are not familiar with or are run out of the site they are put on by resident raccoons. Please remind family, friends and co-workers if they have a raccoon problem to call the Center first for advice so these little families are not separated. If you would like to help us care for all the new orphaned little raccoons please click here to donate. Thank you for being part of the team that lets animals have a place to grow, a place to heal, a place to be wild.

Link your Kroger Plus Card to Help The Wildlife Center of Texas

Did you know you can support The Wildlife Center of Texas just by shopping at Kroger? It's easy when you enroll in Kroger Community Rewards®! To get started, sign up with your Plus Card below. Once you're enrolled, you'll earn rewards for The Wildlife Center of Texas every time you shop and use your Plus Card! See below for DIRECTIONS on how HOW                              to enroll. Click here to enroll Kroger is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards®. Enroll now for the Kroger Community Rewards Program. And remember…all participants must re-enroll each year to continue earning rewards for The Wildlife Center of Texas.   Step 1: Visit Kroger.com/communityrewards If you already have an account, click “Sign In” and login to your account – skip to step 5 If you don’t have an online Kroger account, click “Create an account”.           Step 2: Create you Kroger.com account To create an account, enter your email address and choose a password. You must also enter your zip code and select your preferred Kroger store. Then click “Create Account” at the bottom of the form.                                                                           Step 3: Add your Kroger Plus card Next, enter you Kroger Plus card number, or you can use the phone number for your account, just like at the store. Enter your last name, and click “Add Card”.   Step 4: Activate your account Kroger will send an email to the email address you registered with that contains a [...]

Doves of Houston

Hundreds of injured, ill and orphaned doves are brought to the Wildlife Center of Texas for care each year.  The common doves found in the Houston area consist of three native (Mourning, White-winged and Inca) and two non-native doves (Eurasian collared dove and ringed turtle-dove).   It has been interesting to watch the trend of our doves in the last three decades.  The author of this article began rehabilitation in the early 80’s, at that time the doves most common were the mourning dove and the  Inca and an occasional escaped ring-necked turtle dove.  It was rare to have a ground dove, Eurasian collared dove or white- winged dove.  Today’s order from most common would be  white-winged, mourning, Eurasian-collared, Inca, then ringed-neck turtle dove.  Urban doves have learned that city life provides unlimited food and water sources.  Many homeowners put out seed and water for these gentle birds.  Doves generally make flimsy nests so as the young ones start to develop they fall to the ground before they are ready to fly.  If left on the ground they usually fall victim to area cats, dogs and wildlife.  Mother birds will accept their babies back if you step in and help by picking up the baby putting it in an empty hanging basket and hanging it near where the original nest was. Common doves: White-winged dove as adults have a blue orbital ring and orange iris.  They are a large dove with light brown feathers and a narrow line of white showing on wing when at rest. Mourning doves have a pale bluish orbital ring and brown iris.  They also have light brown feathers but have black spots on their primary covert feathers. Inca dove is our [...]

Spring Bird Migration

Many area birders have enjoyed watching this springs migration of birds.  Our region of Texas is on the Central Flyaway migration route and is a popular birding area.   The past few years the weather has been so nice that the spring migrants come over the Gulf of Mexico and then continue inland for many miles before stopping to eat and rest.  This spring our area has experienced several cold fronts with strong headwinds that have left the birds exhausted and when they reach our coastline they stop to look for shelter and food as they rest. Area residents who have birdfeeders have reported seeing colorful birds they have not seen before.  The Wildlife Center of Texas has received over 20 different species of migrating birds since March.  Many have come in with head traumas or exhaustion.    The weakened birds end up easy prey to cats and then the injured birds are brought to the Wildlife Center.  The Wildlife Center staff and volunteers offer these birds medications, food and shelter as they are quickly given care and then sent on their way to continue their migration.  Please enjoy our photos of some of the patients who were brought to the Wildlife Center of Texas by caring rescuers.

Rare Alligator Snapping Turtle Rescued

The Wildlife Center of Texas received a call from a concerned citizen who had spotted a large turtle trapped in a deep ravine along Buffalo Bayou.  A rescue driver from the Houston SPCA was dispatched to pick up the 44 pound injured turtle.   The turtle was a female alligator snapping turtle with a stout fish hook imbedded in her cheek.  The turtle was sent to Texas A&M’s School of Veterinary Medicine in College Station for surgery.  X-ray examination indicated that a second hook was also lodged in the throat of the turtle.  The surgery was completed the following day and the turtle was returned to the Wildlife Center. The alligator snapping turtle is a fascinating native to Houston.  The strongly hooked beak and massive head of this creature make it quite distinct.  The three rows of pointed scales or scutes on it carapace give it an almost dinosaur-like appearance.  Unlike the much more prevalent common snapping turtle, the tail is smooth and not at all “alligator”-like.  Hatchling alligator snappers are no larger than a 50-cent piece but rapidly gain weight until they reach maturity at about 12 years.  Snapping turtles are obligate carnivores.  In its younger years, the alligator snapper feeds primarily on fish by employing a unique physical attribute.  On the forward portion of its tongue are two pink extensions that the turtle wiggles about like a worm.  The turtle sits motionless with its huge jaws agape until an unsuspecting fish ventures too near.  As the alligator snapping turtle ages, it becomes more of an active predator and feeds on fish, crayfish, mussels and clams, and somewhat disturbingly, other turtles.  The alligator snapper has chemo-receptors in its mouth than can detect mud and musk [...]

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