Wildlife Patient Stories
Meet Real Patients in our Wildlife Hospital
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
That sounds like the opening of a scary Halloween tale, doesn’t it? But actually that could describe the night this tiny Northern Saw Whet Owl was hit by a car on Lucas Valley Road.
With the clocks fallen back to standard time and the clouds of impending winter weather overhead, it gets very dark very early this time of year.
Our wildlife hospital sees a spike in hit-by-vehicle patients this time of year. In fact, it’s not that unusual for us to admit an owl that has been hit by a car!
That’s why WildCare asks you to slow down, keep your eyes open and give wildlife a “brake.”
When WildCare admitted a tiny, fluffy Wood Duck duckling, we knew she would need members of her own species to grow up healthy and wild. Fortunately, International Bird Rescue in Fairfield had three baby Wood Ducks in their care that they could transfer to us.
Suddenly we had four of these unusual (and very charismatic!) patients.
But, unlike typical duckling patients, Wood Ducks need more than a pool to dabble in and a healthy diet of Romaine lettuce.
These birds are perching ducks that need to develop agile flight and they also require perches to wrap their webbed toes around.
These are Common Murres, pelagic (ocean-going) birds that live at sea and nest on rocky islands. They hardly ever come near shore.
But WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital has admitted 33 murres in the past two weeks alone. All of them arrive sandy (often in the arms of their concerned rescuers), dehydrated, and, most significantly, emaciated.
Common Murres off the coast of San Francisco are starving to death.
But why? Learn more and meet one of these beautiful birds in our VIDEO…
The months from April through August are when most wildlife raise their babies, but we’ll have orphaned wild animals needing care in our Wildlife Hospital through September and October, and even into November!
WildCare has admitted 138 orphaned baby squirrels this spring and summer, and our Wildlife Hospital continues to be flooded with more newly-orphaned 3 – 5 week-old baby squirrels even as you read this.
Squirrel babies became orphaned when their mothers get hit by cars, when tree trimming destroys their nests, when they get caught by cats or when any number of other traumatic events happen. Many of the babies arrive at WildCare with injuries.
Fortunately WildCare is here to care for babies like the young Eastern Gray Squirrel in the photo above who arrived at WildCare skinny, covered in fleas and with a broken wrist.
WildCare’s Medical Staff immobilized the wrist and elbow in a cast, treated the little patient for dehydration and hypothermia and, when he had recovered enough, treated him for fleas and placed him with other orphaned squirrels of his own age. A few weeks later, the cast was removed, and the mostly-healed break is now in a light splint.
Although he is still receiving squirrel formula from a nipple every four hours, this young squirrel has recently discovered avocado— his new favorite food!
Unfortunately, his penchant for avocado means his splint (and everything else in the near vicinity) has been stained green. This means that, for this little squirrel, it’s time for a bandage change. You can watch in our video!
Since April 1, 2015, we have treated 1,181 songbirds in our Birdroom!
Over 800 of these patients arrived at WildCare as tiny nestlings needing feeding every 45 minutes (or more!) from dawn to dusk.
This spring and summer we raised 76 towhees. Most of these little birds with their trademark high-pitched chirp needed at least 15 feedings per day for several days to several weeks, depending on their age when admitted. A week of feeding these 76 towhees 15 times a day cost $2,660.
138 finches, from Goldfinches to House Finches, have passed through our doors, and these voracious little eaters enjoyed every mouthful of food they were given. Feeding this many finches for just one week cost over $4,800!
Many of these young birds are still in our aviaries and will be released in the next weeks as soon as they build their flight skills.
The extraordinary dedication of our Birdroom volunteers means none of these little mouths will go empty. Each four-hour shift for our volunteers is a whirlwind of hungry mouths and cheeping babies. It’s non-stop in the Birdroom during the spring and summer months!
This level of dedication on the part of our staff and volunteers, and the financial support provided by generous donors gives WildCare the resources to make sure each tiny patient gets what he needs to be released back to the wild.
The officer went to investigate, and found mama Mallard frantically flapping back and forth and quacking at her baby ducklings trapped in a drainage tunnel under the highway.
Officer Burrage and his partner swung into action to rescue the ducklings, even crawling into the tunnel to capture one that went the wrong way.
What do CHP officers do with a bunch of ducklings they’ve just rescued? They pop them in the back of their patrol car, of course! Then they lower all the windows and roll slowly down to the water, letting mama duck follow the sound of her peeping babies.
With the family successfully reunited away from the highway, the officers drove away.
But then they heard a “peep-peep!” from the back of the patrol car…