Just a heads-up in case anyone wants to read even more about LWR and how it got started. As of today, their website - www.maconmagazine.com - was still showing the Aug./Sept. issue, so keep checking their site for this month’s issue.
September turned out to be a fairly busy month, with 11 intakes - that’s more than double the "usual" number for September, based on previous years. Remember, however, that in wildlife rehab, there is no real "normal" or "usual," so I use those terms with great caution. As sure as I say "this is the norm" or "that’s the way it usually works," I can promise you that something totally unusual and abnormal will occur and I’ll be wiping egg off my face!
In yet another case of the folks at Smalley’s going beyond the call of duty, Jim Hobby worked valiantly to save a nighthawk I took in two weeks ago. The poor bird had apparently hit a barbed-wire fence in pursuit of his insect prey, and he had a deep and very nasty gash under his wing, going straight into the chest cavity. Jim looked at it, admitted that given the extent of the wound, he’d normally recommend euthanasia, and then suggested we try something that might just save the bird - surgery to suture the gash shut. As the nighthawk’s chances were nonexistent without the surgery, we opted to give it a try. Jim was very excited - as was I - that the bird made it through the surgery, but he crashed and died shortly afterward. While he didn’t survive, I’m still grateful to have vets who’re willing to try unusual and risky procedures in an attempt to save the lives of animals who have absolutely no chance otherwise.
In squirrel news, Spaz and Hildegard no longer visit, and Eliza, Porgy and Bess are in release phase now. Eliza’s been exploring outside the pen, as has Porgy. Bess still isn’t quite sure about the big, wide world. Her eye healed nicely and while it will always be a bit smaller than the left eye, she can still see with it - that’s all that matters. At right you can see a photo of Porgy and Bess while Bess’s eye was still inflamed; below is a more recent shot of her.
I also received what’s probably the smallest app. 6 week old squirrel I’ve ever seen, who was promptly named - of course - Mini. She’s about half the size she should be for her age, apparently due to malnourishment in the nest. My guess is that she was the runt of her litter, but still, I’ve never seen a runt that small! At left is a photo of her the day she came in last week; below are two shots of her, one from this weekend and the other was taken by my niece Caitlan yesterday while Mini was curled up in my hands after her feeding.
The possums have been released; at left is a shot of them as they discovered that their pen was open and they were free to go. It took them about half an hour to explore the yard and head off into the woods. Possums are little hobos; it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever see these three again.
I also received a couple of chipmunks last week, both caught by cats. Fortunately, the cat in both cases was young and the chippers weren’t harmed. I put them on antibiotics for a couple of days, just to be safe, before releasing them. Cat saliva and, to a slightly lesser extent, dog saliva are toxic to most wildlife, so I feel safer medicating a cat- or dog-attacked animal for a few days even when there’s no sign of injury.
Two of my released deer are still visiting periodically and probably will through the winter. It’s not unusual for this year’s fawns to stay with their mother through their first winter, and I’m "Mama" to these babies. Here are Bucky...
...and Junior. Junior’s a bit of a clown!
And today my father found an injured app. 6 week old male squirrel near his outside trash can. The poor fellow was bleeding so profusely from his right back leg when Daddy brought him to me that at first I thought the leg was toast. When I started cleaning him up, though, he actually had just a couple of very nasty bite wounds that I knew required stronger antibiotics than I keep on hand. So...off we headed to Smalley’s, where Peggy Hobby agreed with me that we were definitely looking at bite wounds and provided the stronger antibiotics. No photos yet of this little rascal, as he’s still a bit shell-shocked from his eventful morning, but he’s...ummm...healthy. No, let’s be honest: he’s downright chubby! So of course, the obvious name for him is....Fat Albert, which will get shortened to Albert and probably before long to Al. He’s a cutie, that’s for sure!
And finally, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a shot of a baby rat snake I found under the water dish the wild birds use as a bath. The pecan leaf next to him is for scale; he was about 6 inches long and pencil-slim. He didn’t seem real fond of the paparazzi and skedaddled pretty quickly after I "struck his likeness."