I forgot to mention in my last update that I owe a huge "thank you" to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. A couple of weeks ago I received an out-of-county call about a hit-by-car barred owl, and there was no way I could leave the 10-odd animals under my care at that time in order to make the two hour round trip to get the owl. After unsuccessfully attempting to locate a game warden or other DNR employee in that area who could at least meet me halfway, I contacted Montgomery County Sheriff Clarance Sanders, who dispatched one of his deputies to retrieve the owl and meet me halfway with it. Transporting injured wildlife isn’t exactly a routine duty for law enforcement, but Sheriff Sanders and his staff cheerfully and competently handled the situation, and I wanted to give them the recognition they were due. (Unfortunately, the owl’s wing was shattered, so we had to euthanize.)
Another enormous thanks goes out to the vets at Smalley’s Animal Hospital in Dublin. I know I’ve mentioned before how absolutely wonderful they are with my wildlife, but that was reinforced last week when one of the recently released deer showed back up in the yard with bloat. After trying all the recommended remedies, from other rehabbers and from the vets at Smalley’s, with no success, I loaded the buck up and took him in for vet Jim Hobby to examine.
Jim, along with vet student Richie Hatcher, worked on that deer for almost two hours, tubing to try and release the trapped gas, x-raying to try and determine if there was a blockage of some kind, inserting a small cath into the abdominal cavity to try and drain gas and fluids...none of it worked for long - he kept swelling back up - and we could visibly see the poor baby failing fast, so Jim offered the last-ditch option of surgery, which he admitted the deer would probably not survive. Given that his body temperature was dropping rapidly and he was becoming more and more unresponsive, we decided euthanasia was a kinder option.
This isn’t the first time the folks at Smalley’s have gone beyond the call of duty for my wildlife: they’ve waited for me after hours when I called just as they were closing and asked if they could treat a just-received injured animal; they never complain when they have to squeeze me into an already full schedule - the vets and the staff there are among the most caring people I’ve ever seen, and they all maintain a high level of enthusiasm, curiosity and wonder about the wild and domestic animals they treat. I can’t praise them enough.
You see, a wildlife rehabber can only be truly effective when s/he has good vets to work with, and I think I have the very best. (And yes, I’ll cheerfully admit to extreme bias on that!)
Now, on to the critter update!
Bijou the blue jay has been released and is doing great. He still comes down for food, of course - blue jays are slow to become independent. It’s really funny to see him drop a juicy worm to come to me for food, or come down with berry juice staining his beak, begging for a snack! Here he is at the end of a begging display.
Georgia the brown thrasher has also been released and still visits daily, as does Golda Meir, the goldfinch. At right is Georgia sunning herself; below we have Golda perching on a flower stalk.
I’ve also received a bluebird who fledged too early. Little Blue has been with me for about two weeks now and is finally beginning to sort of trust me. The heartbreaking thing about her situation is that when she came in, she was unable to fly or perch, and 24 hours later, she was doing both. Apparently she was the last in her clutch to hatch, probably 24 hours after her sibs, who flew the coop a day before she was ready or able to do so, although she tried to follow them and ended up grounded. Just 24 hours later, and she could have stayed with her sibs and parents, poor little girl. She's shown at left when she came in and below in a shot taken just yesterday.
I’ve also received another mocker - remember, earlier this year I said they’re the most common birds I receive. This little rascal was found in the middle of a paved road with no nest in sight, so I’ve named him Traveller. At right is Traveller when he came in; below is a shot from yesterday.
I have two app. 6 week old squirrels who came in last week with their eyes still closed, but they opened toward the end of the week. I named them Heloise and Abelard - if those names don’t ring a bell, Google ‘em; they were sort of the medieval Romeo & Juliet - but they quickly acquired the nickname "Screamin’ Demons." Squirrels apparently go through some sort of major physiological changes as their eyes begin to open, and they get VERY vocal, but as soon as their eyes open, they quiet back down again. It’s happened with nearly every squirrel I’ve ever rehabbed. At the moment, these babies are still mostly sleeping; that will change in a week or so. Below is a cute shot of one of 'em sleeping in an adorable pose - I didn't wake him/her up to see whether it was Heloise or Abelard.
I also briefly had a young Mississippi kite with a broken wing - old injury but not completely healed. He’s been transferred, since he’s a raptor - kites are small hawks - and we’re hoping for complete recovery, as he was attempting to use that broken wing when he came in. Gorgeous bird...as an adult he’ll be silver with black wings - nothing like the juvie you see here!
Just two of the deer are still hanging around, and they’re pretty much keeping their distance. Aren’t they beautiful?
And I think that gets us back up to date for another couple of weeks, as feather season winds down and second fur season kicks in...