At the end of June, we received a lone, orphaned red squirrel. He was off to a good start because of the folks who cared about him; Veronica, who found him, and carefully placed him in a small, cardboard box with a soft cloth, Zoey, who directed the squirrel to a wildlife rehabilitator, and well-wishers, who hoped that the little squirrel would some day become strong and free. And so they named him Freedom!
Freedom grew steadily on a diet of species specific milk replacer. When he was weaned, he graduated to solid foods like blueberries, walnuts, apples, and hulled sunflower seeds. The days went by, and soon July turned into August. It was time for Freedom to leave the nursery to spend some time in an outdoor enclosure.
Freedom finally felt the refreshing coolness of a breeze, and witnessed the bright flashes of a thunderstorm. He saw birds and chipmunks and other squirrels who came to visit him by scampering over the walls of his outdoor home while chattering a hello.
Then, on September 15th his big day arrived. Freedom would at last be free! It did not take long for Freedom to discover the open door that led to his new life!
do's and don'ts for folks who find orphaned and injured wildlife
DO contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area (your state dept. of natural resources is the best place to start).
DO have patience when explaining your wildlife story to the rehabber, as they may be dealing with several wildlife emergencies at one time.
DO be understanding and listen to what they have to say.
DO stay or have someone stay with the orphaned or injured animal until the rehabilitator arrives.
If the animal is a small orphan (bunny, bird, raccoon, squirrel, etc.), please DO house them in a properly sized cardboard box, or plastic container or backpack or handkerchief, depending on what you have at the time.
Add a towel or piece of cloth to the container for comfort, and DO keep injured and orphaned wildlife warm while waiting for the rehabber, (close box tops to keep out drafts).
If you have access to a heating pad, DO place half of the container on the pad, so if overheated, the animal can move to the unheated half.
REMEMBER: The trauma that has caused the present predicament for this animal, also places them in danger of going into shock!
DO make sure the animal can breathe while in the container.
DO keep the surrounding area where the animal is placed quiet as this will cut down on the stress that they are experiencing.
If you find a large bird such as waterfowl, that has been injured, (goose, swan, heron), a large towel, bed sheet, or blanket can be used as a gentle capture. Hold the opened sheet in front of you, slowly approach he bird, and place the sheet over her then gently but firmly gather her up and place her in the awaiting cardboard box.
For waterfowl with pointed beaks, use extra precaution, making sure the head is covered and held still, close to your body.
If you do not feel secure doing this, get someone to help you, or stay with the injured bird until the rehabber arrives.
Please DON'T call a rehabber hours after you've seen an injured animal as the animal may have left the area, or may be hiding in brush or tall grass, or may have been found by a predator and dispatched.
For injured raptors, (owls, eagles, hawks), the same method of gentle capture can be used making sure you have a large enough cover to encompass the bird's body. USE CAUTION with beak and talons, then place the bird in the awaiting cardboard box.
Generally speaking: once an animal's head is covered and they are in a dark container, they will calm down.
If you do not feel secure in attempting this yourself, find someone to help you, or wait for the rehabber to arrive.
If you have found a large mammal that is injured, such as a fox, raccoon, bobcat, or lynx, you will most likely need a pet carrier to place them in.
Covering the animal's head and body with a sheet or blanket will calm them, ask someone for help, or wait for the rehabber.
Please DON'T attempt any capture that you do not feel secure about.
Please DO keep your face and hands safe.
DO use common sense.
For small mammals, drops of Pedialyte slowly administered with an eyedropper, can help alleviate dehydration, or follow the instructions that the rehabber gives you over the phone.
Every wildlife rescue is unique, and what works for one rescue may have to be modified for another.
If an orphaned or injured animal needs your help, DO take the time to assist them. There is no substitute for compassion!
As an addendum: wildlife rehabilitators receive no funding, and perform their services voluntarily. They are also employed at jobs within their community.
The rehab season generally runs from Spring to middle Autumn, with wildlife emergencies happening at any time of the year.May, June, and July are often the busiest months in our area, followed by the Autumn migration period during which many bird injuries can occur.
Wildlife rehabbers are dedicated professionals whose time and resources are strained during the height of the rehab season. Please DO be aware of this when you call for assistance. Please DO ask how you can help.
Wildlife is here for all of us to enjoy and treasure. Please DO support wildlife rescue with a donation, and DON'T forget we all need a little help from time to time.
Raccoon River Bend is a 501 (c) (3) wildlife rehabiitation facility that operates as a charity for orphaned and injured wildlife. We can be reached at 218 834 4129.
Our heartiest of thanks goes out to Carol H. for her very compassionate donation of a 20 lb. container of Fox Valley species specific milk replacer!
Hi,long time no see. . . this year we have been raising 42 orphaned raccoons, and have been engaged in their care and well being. Now that they are growing up, I have a little extra time to visit with you.
So what's new you ask? We have had to learn a new operating system because our old computer has finally been replaced by a new Dell. We are very grateful to The Lauren Townsend Memorial Wildlife Fund for awarding us our grant request for a replacement tower! The computer is exquisite and is quick like a bunny, hop, hop, hop!
It has been a long rehab season filled with much hard work. We have gone through at least 100 lbs. of milk replacer for our orphans, and will use at least 1000 lbs. of dry kibble before the animals are released. We are only able to accomplish this through the generosity and caring of some really fine folks, so.....our thanks to all of you once again for a very successful season!
Our thanks to the following people for their very generous donations:
John and Gwendolyn M. Margaret N. Val and Dan H. Dawn A. Mike O. Randy C. Catherine K. and Charlie V.
Your support means a lot to us!!!!!
AND NOW, the animals have a few things to say:
Life goes on, and on, and on. . . . .