No video of the release because he shot out of the box and headed so deep into the woods that I couldn’t even locate him for an after-release photo. He did, however, hurl invectives at me as I opened the box for his release—THAT I did manage to catch on video!
This was the day after intake.
She’s absolutely right, which is why I grit my teeth and bite my tongue when people say, "Oh, what you do must be so much FUN." No. No, it's not fun. It's exhausting, emotionally draining, exasperating, and although there is exhilaration at releases, the "down" days far outweigh the "up" days. I don't do it for "fun"; I do it to compensate for human stupidity and apathy. It's my small way of making a difference.
It’s important to understand that in Nature’s eyes wildlife is effectively dead the moment humans can touch it, hence LWR’s catch-phrase—“Giving Nature’s children a second chance”. Rehabbers offer that second chance to wildlife that otherwise would die of exposure, starvation, infection, injury—and sometimes the only “release” we can offer is an end to suffering.
This is why we get so frustrated with people who express an interest in becoming rehabbers but immediately follow their expression of interest with “But I could never put anything down.”
If you can’t euthanize and you can’t handle blood and gore, you’ll never be able to make it as a rehabber, people. Fully half an average rehabber’s intakes in any given year are either DOA or require euthanasia. It ain’t pleasant but it’s reality.
As for the other half, most of them stand a good chance at release—which brings up another least-favorite sentiment from the public: “Oh, I would get too attached and could never let anything go.”
I always wanna ask them, “So you’d keep wildlife captive in violation of state and, in the case of birds, federal law, knowing that you’re denying that wildlife the chance to live the life Nature intended for it?”
Folks, there is very little more rewarding than watching a bird or other wildlife that came in orphaned, ill or injured mature or regain its health and return to the wild where it belongs—releases are the lifeline for rehabbers; they’re what keep us going.
I don’t discourage anyone from becoming a rehabber but it’s important to know what you’re getting into so you don’t get burned out and bummed out after two or three years. It’s not a hobby; it’s a way of life, and if you can’t devote the time, money and energy to it and pour your heart and soul into doing what’s in the best interest of the wildlife, do us all a favor and don’t even explore the possibility.