Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over 2 weeks since I posted an update!
Lessee...to get you up to speed on the rehabs I mentioned in my last update, the bluebird had to be euthanized - and yes, I did indeed cry over her, the poor little bird...
The finch and wren are totally independent now, although the finch does visit several times a week to try and coax my current finch to cut the apron strings. The latest finch is also pretty much independent but refuses to fly away just yet. Finches can be incredibly big babies for the longest time, but they’re so cute and have such pleasant little voices that no rehabber I know minds having them hang around for a while.
All mockers are independent now - the four older ones and the two younger ones. And I hear recently fledged mockers in the field behind my house and smile in sympathy at what the parent mockers are putting up with!
The dovelies, who did turn out to be mourning doves, are on their own but continue to visit almost daily, for the time being. It’s not unusual for them to sit on the deer pen and "talk" to me while I’m being mauled by the hoofed hooligans - and sometimes one will fly down and sit on my head until I’m done feeding the deer. They’re such sweet birds!
The wood ducks have been released, and I owe a huge thanks to Shelley & Chris Baumann for allowing me to release on their pond for the second year in a row. The natural spring my family owns is too cold; their pond is perfect and the ducks took to it like, well, ducks to water! Here are some photos of their release. Don’t they look happy, though?!
The doe I’d just received when I last updated the site died suddenly and unexpectedly last week. She went from fine one day to wobbly and dehydrated the next so I started her on fluids, thinking the heat was the source of the dehydration and resultant unsteadiness - a guess that seemed to be correct when she perked back up. The next morning, however, she couldn’t stand, was having mini-seizures and refused food. She died before I could even get her loaded up to head to the vet. (She's the second from right in the photo. You can't see her face.)
Two days earlier I’d received another little doe, after transferring the last two I’d received to another rehabber because I simply didn’t have the space for them.. This one I’d decided to keep, although she put my total deer at 6. With the death of the older doe, I’m back down to 5. I don’t have a photo of the newest arrival yet, as she’s still a bit shy.
I also just released a Eurasian collared dove who came in about two weeks ago as a cat-attacked near-fledgling. Cat-attacked birds or mammals MUST receive antibiotics as soon as possible, as cat saliva is toxic to them. Fortunately, although this fellow’s wounds were pretty nasty, I was able to start him on antibiotics in time to avert any lethal infection, and watching him heal, mature and develop his species’ signature collar was just wonderful.
After storms Saturday night, I received 5 animals Sunday: 3 birds and 2 bats. Let’s deal with the birds first: I have what appears to be a great crested flycatcher...
...a blue jay who overnight appears to’ve developed cellulitis around his left eye, which I was already treating for a small scratch at its corner. He’s been to the vet, of course, and we’ve given him appropriate meds; now it’s just a matter of supportive care and hoping the treatment will work. His poor eye looks - and smells - pretty awful right now...
...and this one I’m not sure about. The begging cry sounds familiar, but I can’t quite place it. I’m leaning toward some sort of tanager or grosbeak at the moment, but that could change as he matures. His eyes and beak sort of remind me of a nestling cardinal, but the feathers are the wrong color and the head is missing the cardinal’s signature crest.
Now, for the bats...I’m actually not licensed for rabies vector species - can’t afford the pre-exposure vaccine - so I’m having to handle these babies with gloves while I make phone calls to find a rehabber who is RVS-licensed and willing to take them. Bats don’t generally do well in captivity, and the one lady in Georgia who’s considered by rehabbers to be our resident bat expert isn’t actively rehabbing this year. I have another couple of days to arrange transfer - and I hope they make it until then - but in the meantime I’m actually sort of enjoying these wee ones. They’re eating well, active and vocal when disturbed (for feeding), and just really cute. But I understand from other rehabbers that bats are in that category of species that can appear to be thriving one moment and drop dead the next, so I really do want to get them to a better-qualified rehabber ASAP.
See, that’s something I don’t think people always understand. Wildlife rehab isn’t an ego trip, at least not for the people I know. We love these animals, want what's best for them and will gladly transfer them to someone else if that other person has a better release site, has more specialized skills or simply has "room at the inn" when all our "rooms" are booked solid. And of course, when it comes to a species we’re not licensed for, it’s a simple matter of making darn sure we don’t lose our licenses for handling a species we’re not equipped or licensed to handle. With these species, it’s triage and transfer, ASAP!
Normally, June is sort of a "lull" month for me, with May and July being insane. This June isn’t shaping up that way. I’ve already taken in one short of my total for the same month last year, and we’re just past halfway through the month. I don’t expect the heavy intake I had in May - 31 animals in 31 days - but who knows? When you’re a wildlife rehabber you learn to expect the unexpected!