Well, I only took in 20 animals for June, which IS lower than May’s total of 31, so I suppose that sorta kinda halfway makes it a slower month, right?
The bats, by the way, were Eastern reds, a male and a female, and were transferred and have already been released. I had them long enough, with DNR’s extension of my deadline for transfer, for the little rascals to totally change my perspective on bats and leave me actually wishing I didn’t need gloves to handle them.
The two oldest fawns have begun losing their spotted baby fur, giving them a really scruffy appearance at the moment. I’m calling the fearsome fivesome Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde. They’re absurdly aggressive, and I spend a good deal of my time in the pen with them swearing at ‘em and fending off stray hooves. You can see them here enjoying a nice fresh watermelon
The flycatcher has been released; she stayed pretty close by for a couple of days and will still "talk" to me from the treetops every now and then.
The mystery bird, also released, turned out to be a blue grosbeak. When juvies look nothing like the adults, identifying birds can be a real guessing game!
The blue jay’s cellulitis developed into a nasty abscess that it took vet Shelley Baumann a half hour to drain, clean and irrigate - this despite the fact that we’d previously given him an antibiotic & steroid injections and oral antibiotics AND topical ointment on the injured eye. The good news is that while the eye still looks a bit rough, we don’t think his vision is impaired.
I still see the dovelies daily, and they’ve been joined by a third dove who stands back, aghast, when they come down to me. The expression on his face is priceless as he stares in horror at these two insane doves who willingly fly to a human!
On June 20 I received a nestling Carolina wren, who quickly acquired the nickname Brat. This is what she looked like upon arrival...
..and this is Brat five days later...
..10 days after arrival...
...and today...amazing how quickly they develop, huh? Isn’t she a cutie, though?!
I also received two hatchling killdeer on June 26. Killdeer are stressy little birds, and one was already in pretty bad shape, but I was hopeful that I could pull them through, even though they hadn’t been with their parents long enough to learn to eat. (Killdeer, like ducks, are precocial, meaning that they hatch with their eyes open and begin to eat on their own upon hatching.) The problem is that killdeer, unlike other birds, eat day AND night, so I spent four sleepless nights feeding these birds every hour on the hour. Yep, for 4 days I had no sleep during the day and 45 minute naps interrupted by feedings all night. I was sleep deprived, stupid and not a particularly pleasant person to be around! And after all that effort, the poor birds still didn’t pull through...that’s one of the more heartbreaking aspects of wildlife rehab: when you know you’re doing everything possible to keep an animal alive, and your best efforts just aren’t good enough.
On June 30 I received what I thought was a nestling mocker, feathers still encased in keratin - hey, it was 9 p.m. when the bird came in; I was still struggling with severe sleep deprivation, and in the sickly yellow lights of the parking lot where I met the people, who drove all the way from north of Macon with the bird, he LOOKED like a mocker!
In fact, when I took him to the vet the next morning for antibiotics for a puncture wound on his hip, vet Peggy Hobby agreed with me that this was unmistakably a mocker...
...Umm...oops! By today, we had enough feathers showing for me to revise our "ironclad" ID. This is a brown thrasher, Georgia’s state bird!
And forgive me while I rant a bit here...last week I received an out-of-county call about a fawn. Nothing unusual about that: I routinely take in animals from outside Laurens County. This was a situation that set my blood boiling, though. The caller had taken a fawn from friends who’d kidnapped it and were feeding it cold cow’s milk. This caller, who claimed to be a rehabber although not on our state-issued list of licensed rehabbers, was giving the deer cow’s milk mixed with water and baby cereal and just couldn’t figure out why he had diarrhea. Well, DUH! Can we say improper diet??? Adding to that, the deer was running around in the person’s house, a HUGE no-no. See my previous rant about that.
Then, and this is the kicker, the caller informed me that contact had been made with a local wildlife refuge which had agreed to take the deer if he were neutered, so the caller took the poor baby to a vet who neutered him by banding. For those who don’t know the procedure, banding essentially means that a tourniquet was tied around the deer’s testicles until the tissue withered and died from lack of blood flow.
Can you see some problems with this scenario???
First, the caller obviously wasn’t a licensed, qualified rehabber - someone who would KNOW that neutering a deer makes him unreleasable.
Second, the wildlife sanctuary had no business telling a public caller to neuter a deer. They should have referred the person to a licensed rehabber or to DNR to be placed in contact with a licensed rehabber.
Third, the vet had no right to neuter a deer brought in by the general public, and especially not by such an outdated, barbaric method.
Obviously, I reported the caller to that region’s game warden, who informed me a few days later that the situation had been resolved. Game Management had taken possession of the deer; the caller had been read the riot act about rehabbing without a license - and apparently without a brain, as well - and the deer’s fate depended on finding a wildlife refuge that had space for a ruined buck.
As I’ve said before, I know we rehabbers can get strident about the whole licensure issue, and here’s a prime example of why. That poor buck’s young life has been ruined: he’ll never be releasable, because when the other bucks go into rut, they’d beat the crap out of him. He’d not make it through his first year in the wild - and that’s aside from the issue of imprinting on humans, since he was a "house deer" for several weeks...
Would you practice medicine without a license??? I can hear some of you saying, "Of course not; I could end up killing someone!"
Then don’t presume to attempt wildlife rehab without a license, either. Animals die needlessly when untrained, unqualified people try to "play rehabber."