Late fall and winter is an emotionally and financially difficult time at the Wildlife Center. While the sheer numbers are down drastically, the patients that come to our doors during late fall and winter are heart wrenching. Almost all of the patients are older juveniles and adults, so they must be weaker than a baby or young juvenile before a rescuer can catch them. Almost every single patient is emaciated and full of parasites and most have ghastly injuries.
Many require heroic efforts by the vets and volunteers. Most require attention, hydration, nutrition and medication every 30 to 60 minutes until stabilized. Not all can be saved, but at least they pass peacefully, warm, fed and without pain. Caring for these challenging patients is very expensive; recuperation requires numerous medications and specialized diets. Rehabilitation of these animals is slow and prolonged.
This past week was very busy at the WR&E Wildlife Center. Intakes included several Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Red Tailed Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks. The Eastern Screech Owls continue to come to the Wildlife Center in large numbers as did a Great Horned Owl and Barn Owl. The Wildlife Center is also receiving orphaned baby ducks, opossums, squirrels and injured songbirds.
This Peregrine Falcon was found in Texas City at the BP plant where he was probably chasing pigeons and flew into a power line. He underwent surgery at the Wildlife Center for his severely injured wing. He is recovering well, but the injury was serious enough that he may not be releasable. If not, he will become an Education Ambassador or be placed with a zoo.
Patient Update: Three Red-shouldered Hawks have improved enough that they have been moved to a large flight cage for flight conditioning. One of these is the hawks has already appeared in this blog, it was the one that shattered an apartment window and had his neck and esophagus stitched.
Conditioning Flight cages are 50 to 75 feet long. Sometimes, 2 of these flight cages will be placed next to each other and connected at one end forming a U. This configuration allows segregation of birds into each of the individual flight cages or the cages can be opened to each other to force the birds to negotiate turns and banking in addition to straight line flight.