Feb 6, 2016

Balloon entanglement

This afternoon, we received a couple of reports about a gull tangled in line from a couple of mylar balloons near the Lockyer Bridge at the Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline park in San Leandro. It seemed the bird was in the water and struggling.

One of WES' lead rescuers in the San Jose area responded, driving over an hour to get there. 

Once on scene, the reporting party led him to where the bird was. 

Thankfully, it was a very low tide so Andrew was able to trudge across the slippery mud and reach the poor bird with his long-handled net - something Andrew has had a lot of practice doing, especially during WES response to the mystery "goo" event last year (check it out, HERE). 

After collecting the gull, he noted the balloons around its leg had deflated and filled with water so the gull could not take off. If the bird hadn't been rescued, it would have probably drowned when the tide came back in. 

Andrew would have simply freed the bird after untangling it if he felt the bird was in excellent condition, but it was not - its feathers were old and ragged and he thought there might be an issue with one of its wings.

The bird was transported to Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley for treatment. We'll post updates as we receive them.

Photo credit Traci Tsukida WCSV.

Jan 26, 2016

Coyote caught on barbed wire fence (GRAPHIC)

This morning around 10:30 WES received a call from the superintendent of Coyote Creek Golf Club in Morgan Hill, CA. He and his crew had freed a coyote that had gotten hung up on a barbed wire fence, presumably overnight. It had a severe injury to its leg and was not able to run off.

They'd been making calls all morning, looking for help, and no one was willing to respond - we were their 7th phone call! Unfortunately, this is very common, not just in California but across the US - there are very few trained and equipped first responders for wildlife emergencies.

When WES' response team arrived, they found the coyote hiding in tall grass. They approached slowly. The coyote made a brief attempt to get away, but could barely move. It was easily scruffed and moved to an awaiting crate for transport to a local wildlife hospital.

Watch the rescue video below:

Once at the Wildlife Center for Silicon Valley, medical staff sedated the animal to get a better look at its injury. 

The male coyote looked larger, but weighed in at 20 pounds. They estimated it to be about 4 years old. Unfortunately, it had suffered tremendous damage to its leg - the tendons had been severed, there was nothing that could be done. It was humanely euthanized.

Please check out these PDFs on best fencing to keep livestock and wildlife safe:

Fencing With Wildlife In Mind

Wildlife Friendly Fences

Predator Fencing

Scroll to view the image of the coyote as it was found in the fence. WARNING: GRAPHIC

Jan 23, 2016

Injured American white pelican evades capture

On January 12th, an American white pelican was spotted at Shoreline Park. Robin Agarwal, a citizen scientist, noticed something was wrong - it looked like one of its legs was injured. 

Robin immediately reported her observation to the Wildlife Center for Silicon Valley using a mobile app iNaturalist.org (part of the California Academy of Science) to communicate the pelican’s photos and GPS coordinates. Her initial iNaturalist report can be viewed HERE.

Since this could be a potentially difficult rescue, WCSV forwarded the information to WES. 

That evening, after dark, our lead responder in the San Jose area, Andrew Bear, met up with Robin to scout for the bird. 

They spent about two hours scanning the slough with searchlights, but never spotted the pelican.

The next morning, Robin went to look for the pelican. She observed three healthy white pelicans, but not the injured one.

Then, yesterday, the bird was reported again in the Charleston Slough, about 75 yards off the main path.

Once again, Andrew responded. This time he had the help of a park ranger to access the trail.

He found the bird!

But, before he could get anywhere near it, the bird flew away - over the slough and out of sight.

White pelicans are elusive and more difficult to approach than brown pelicans. Wild ones, unhabituated to people, do not 'bait in', so there's no chance to draw it closer to capturers. Regardless, we'll continue to accept reports and respond if we think we'll be successful in capturing it. 


To get iNaturalist, go HERE.  It's quick, easy and free!

If you're interested in becoming an on-call volunteer with WES, go HERE.

Jan 22, 2016

Opossum shot with arrows

Image Riverside County Animal Services

This morning, in Riverside County, an adult opossum was found shot with two arrows - one penetrating near its right eye, the other arrow through the animal's midsection. 
The animal was contained by a county animal control officer and rushed to the county shelter in Jurupa Valley, where veterinarian Dr. Magid Anwar performed emergency surgery to carefully remove the arrows. Amazingly, the animal is expected to recover despite some lung damage
The opossum was found near Hole Avenue and Jones Avenue in the La Sierra neighborhood of Riverside. 

Thanks to WES supporters, we are able to offer a significant reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this horrible act of cruelty. 
If you'd like to add to the reward, please email our director at rebecca (at) wildlifeservices (dot) org to make your pledge or leave a message at 1-866-WILD-911 Ext. 4.
Stay tuned!

Jan 21, 2016

A picture worth a thousand words

This picture was sent to us by someone worried about a coyote in their neighborhood.

Do you see what this is?

It's a coyote suffering from mange - an infestation of mites has caused the animal to lose fur and break out in sores. The coyote's ears indicate how cold and miserable it feels. 

Look what it's standing next to. A poison bait station for rodents. 

Perhaps the coyote is waiting for its next meal - another poison-laced mouse or rat. 

Could this be the cause of this poor animal's failing condition? 

Jan 13, 2016

Coyote v Car

Last night, we were transferred a call through Santa Cruz 911, about a coyote that had been hit by at least one vehicle. Police Officer Hansen was on scene and described the animal somewhat contained - a very kind man (Very brave and talented, too!) was holding the girl - scruffing her by the back of the neck. 

Once scruffed, coyotes tend to 'give in', waiting to feel even a slight relax in the grip for escape.

Our response time was going to be about 45 minutes. Too long. We called Native Animal Rescue to see if they'd respond. Thankfully, they were only minutes away.

In the meantime, we asked if the coyote could be temporarily placed in the back of the police car - in the 'cage', until rescuers arrived, which they did (Thank you Officer Hansen!!!)

NAR rescuers arrived to find the coyote in good shape considering its run-in with a car. The young female coyote, estimated to be about a year and a half old, was transferred into a large crate where it could rest for the night.

The next morning WES transported the coyote to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley for examination.

There, she was sedated for a complete exam including three radiographs. 

Luckily, there were no fractures but she'd sustained injury to her left carpus - some small abrasions and soft tissue damage that will heal quickly. They also found that she had hookworms, but, blood tests did not reveal any exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides.

According to medical staff her prognosis is good. She'll be returned to her home turf next week if all goes well. 

State tuned!


Jan 7, 2016

Hawk caught on barbed wire

Last night we were forwarded a call from our local shelter about a hawk caught on a barbed wire fence in La Selva Beach. 

WES' founder and director responded to find a red-tailed hawk tangled in a fence, caught by one of the barbs.

The reporting party, a couple who lived next door, assisted in the rescue. Check out the video:

The bird was transported to Native Animal Rescue where it is expected to make a full recovery.

UPDATE: 2-3-2016

Thanks to the great care the hawk received at Native Animal Rescue, it was released back to where it was found today. Many thanks to the Miles Family for helping with transportation. Check out the video:

If you'd like, support our local rescue program with a donation of any size. 
Even small monthly amounts go a long way!

Check the box that says Make This Recurring. 

Jan 5, 2016

Duck Down

By Deanna Barth

Today, I received a direct call from a woman named Rhonna whom I’d met a few months ago when she found a downed falcon near her property. This time she was calling about a duck. 

On Tuesday afternoon, she had just let her dog outside when she noticed a mallard sitting on the pond in the distance. She watched as her Labrador Retriever sprinted across the ground towards the drake and expected the duck to take to the sky, but it didn’t. Instead, it sat motionless as the dog gently scooped it up and carried it back and placed it at her feet. 

She didn’t see any obvious injuries but thought it odd that it hadn’t flown away, so she placed it in a small enclosure. The area was about 15 feet across, with a small Koi pond, dense shrubs to hide beneath and surrounded by a short fence. She figured the duck could rest here where it would be less vulnerable to predators while still being able to fly away at any time - if it could. 

The next morning she was surprised to see the duck still there. She waited most of the day, thinking it would leave, but by the afternoon, she called me to come take a look. 

The duck was resting beneath the bushes next to the fence. Rhonna suggested I walk right up to it and pick it up. I hesitated. One thing I’ve learned, when a rescue looks that easy, it won’t be! 

Based on its behavior, I thought it might not be capable of flying, which meant it would be even more anxious to run away from me and head for open space, so I needed to cut off its exits. 

Can you make out the duck?

I placed my daughter on one side of the bushes, holding an open sheet and Rhonna on the other side in the same position. Knowing the duck would then head towards the water, I approached with my net, carefully walking along the edge of the pond. 

It worked perfectly. But just as I moved my net into position, the handle became caught on a tree branch and threw me off balance. As I attempted to regain my footing on the slippery pond edge, I fell in. I was shocked to find that it was 5 foot deep - I was submerged up to my shoulders! 

On this cold and rainy day, to say I was chilled would be an understatement - but I still needed to get the duck!  

I quickly got back up and herded the drake towards the fence, this time being careful to not get my net stuck. Success - we got him!  

After a change of clothes, we transported the mallard to the SPCA for Monterey County wildlife center for care.  

UPDATE 1-6-2016

I called for an update and it was confirmed that the duck had no injuries but he was quite ill and unwilling to eat. They would start tube feeding and providing supportive care. 

Hopefully he will continue to improve. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: 1-10-16

Apparently the duck made a full recovery and was released today!

If you'd like, support our local rescue program with a donation of any size. 
Even small monthly amounts go a long way!

Check the box that says Make This Recurring. 

Jan 1, 2016

First rescue of 2016: skunk stuck in patio

It's skunk breeding season. The weasel-like ratters are all about, roaming the night, seeking each other out and exploring for potential den sites under homes, causing quite a stink. This time of year roads and highways are littered with the unlucky ones.

Last night, New Years, real fireworks outmatched any amorous sparks, possibly leading one skunk to spill into a walled-in patio on Beach Drive in Aptos.

This morning, the skunk was found frantically trying to escape - even climbing the low steps of the outdoor spiral staircase, but making little progress. Skunks don't climb well, at all. There was no way for the animal to get out on its own. 

Both Native Animal Rescue and WES were called to the scene. (Thank you Mary!) 

The skunk was extremely alert and very, very upset. 

After losing in a draw of Ro-sham-bo, one of WES' directors took the lead. Check out the video, below:

If you're experiencing problems with skunks in your yard, look for the nearest Humane Wildlife Control service from this site, HERE.

Want more skunk? Watch the full episode of Is That Skunk, below:

Nov 29, 2015

Foxes freed from abandoned water tank

This afternoon, WES responded to a call about two gray foxes that were stuck in a large, empty water tank. Being great climbers, they must have climbed the adjacent tree and either jumped or fell in. 

No one knew how long they'd been entrapped, but both animals appeared to be in good condition - bright and alert, and terrified.

The remains of a less fortunate prisoner - a skull and jawbone, indicated this tank had been like this for some time, and had taken its toll. Vertical surfaces - anything with slick vertical sides can be deadly to wildlife.

Since the water tank wasn't hooked up to any pipes and could be tipped over fairly easily, this seemed to be a less traumatic way to release the fox. The homeowner and friend tipped the tank and out they shot, free at last!

Check out the video:

Nov 25, 2015

Downed grebe in Hollister

Last night, one of our lead responders, Deanna Barth, responded to a call about an aquatic bird on Southside Road in Hollister, CA - in the middle of nowhere, no body of water nearby.

Thankfully, the reporting party had remembered Deanna's post about a cormorant found in the same area, so she knew to call for help.

Deanna scooped up the small, softball-sized eared grebe from the wet pavement and placed it into a heavily padded carrier to protect its keel, or sternum, from developing pressure wounds.

Grebes are diving birds, built for life on the water, not on land. Once grounded, they are essentially helpless - unable to walk or take flight.

If they are out of the water too long, they can develop keel lesions - bruising and pressure sores on the breastbone. 

When these types of birds are transported, it's important they be placed into a padded container. Something as simple as a thick layer of balled-up newspaper covered with a bath towel can help distribute the bird's weight off its keel.

In a wildlife hospital setting, aquatic birds are fitted with a "donut" - a ring of padding that protects the keel. 

Although the grebe appeared uninjured, as wildlife paramedics it is not our place to make medical decisions - we needed to have the bird looked at by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, so, Deanna transported the grebe to the SPCA for Monterey County where it was given a thorough examination. 

As we suspected, the grebe was in good condition and could be returned to the wild.

Here's what we think happened - why this bird was found on a country road, far from water. It had been raining - the roads were wet and reflective and the moon was full and bright. We believe the grebe was migrating south and saw what appeared to be a body of water, but was actually wet pavement.

Here's a quick video of the grebe after it was released:

Oct 15, 2015

Hawk rescued from inside a Home Depot

On October 10th we were notified of a hawk inside the Home Depot off 41st in Capitola. Apparently, the hawk was going after a small bird when it flew into the store through one of the large roll-up doors, then made its way into the main retail area where it stayed high, flying through and between a matrix of metal beams and framework. 

Unfortunately, the Cooper's hawk injured itself in a collision with one of the many obstacles at, quite possible one of the fans.

When we arrived, the bird was able to fly, but its right leg was badly damaged. The bird would not put any weight on it - the leg just dangled at its side.

The injury complicated matters. Normally, a healthy accipiter would be quick to land on a bal-chatri - a trap that uses live prey to lure predatory birds, but this hawk was in severe pain and did not show much interest in the trap we placed.

That night, after the store closed at 8:00 pm, the store manager, Doug, helped us darken areas of the building so we could use spotlights to help conceal our approach with nets, but the bird was too flighty.

The next day, rescuers from Native Animal Rescue also tried luring the bird, but, again, the hawk showed little interest.

Finally, on Wednesday, the bird landed on the bal-chatri. We waited, watching from afar for a sign that it was caught, but it took off back to its perch above the indoor plant section where there was a source of water at ground level.

Then, on Thursday afternoon, we placed a mouse and a finch in the bal-chatri and set the trap in the same spot as the day before. With the shopping isles, again, blocked off and the garden door closed, we waited. 

Within minutes the hawk was on the trap!

Again, we waited for the sign it was caught. Finally - there it was, the bird tried to lift off but couldn't  - we could only hope it wasn't doing more damage to its leg.

We rushed the trap, got control of the bird, and removed the nooses from its legs. It was then quickly boxed and transported minutes away to Native Animal Rescue.

The Button Quail, Mouse, and Finch were certainly stressed but returned home, unharmed.



UPDATE: On 10-15-15 the hawk was seen by an avian veterinarian who believes the leg can be mended.

Stay tuned!!!

Oct 3, 2015

Another dead bobcat - SGAR poisoning suspected

By Rebecca Dmytryk

On September 29th, I received a call about a bobcat in a yard on River Road in Felton. The caller was concerned because the cat had been seen in the vicinity for a couple of weeks and she was worried for her dog and other animals. She was also concerned because the cat did not seem to scare off easily.

I went through my typical questions, trying to tease out all the facts, and I asked her to send any pictures or videos she had because I needed to see the condition of the animal. My guess was, without even seeing the cat, it was sick, possibly suffering from rodenticide poisoning.

I assured her, the bobcat posed no threat to her family, that is was probably attracted to the chickens and the rodents that come with raising livestock but if her animals are contained in predator-proof enclosures there should be nothing to worry about.

She sent me these images from September 26th:

Right away, I knew the bobcat was sick - it was suffering from a severe infestation of ear mites, or otodectic mange. 

Normally ear mites are found deep in the ear canal, but can infest the skin on the outer ear. In severe cases like this, where, likely, the animal's immune system has been compromised, the mites take over the face and can spread over the rest of the body.

A trained eye will notice the sharp outline of the cat's profile, where it is missing fur on its face, and its nearly bald tail, and the poor animal's expression.

This cat was very, very ill and needed to be caught, which meant setting a large cage trap during the day and monitoring - we do not set traps that cannot be watched.

Unfortunately, we did not have any specially trained volunteers available who could devote the day to this mission, to set and watch over a trap. This would have to wait until the weekend. 

I asked the resident if she'd keep watch and keep me posted on sightings, and not to squirt the cat with water or chase it off - we needed it to feel safe in their yard. If the animal started showing up regularly, we'd attempt a capture sooner. 

The cat was never seen again...

On October 2nd, the resident emailed me that a neighbor had found the bobcat's body the day before, down by the river. 

It was found by the water, another indication the animal might have died from exposure to a second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR), as hemorrhaging causes thirst.

The problem with these poisons and how they impact our wildlife is thoroughly explained in this excellent post by Laurel Klein Serieys, HERE - please read it. Another article, HERE.

Anger and contempt for the makers of these horrible products and the whole, bloody kill-kill-kill response to rat and mouse problems, tempered by sadness, frustration and regret, fueled a new mission, to get that cat's liver and get it tested.

By the time I could collect a specimen, the cat would have been dead for at least 72 hours... I contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Investigations Lab in Rancho Cordova to make sure old liver is good liver. Yes.

I was sent a map detailing where I could find the deceased bobcat. 

Late Saturday afternoon, Duane dropped me off at the trailhead to the Zayante Trail inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Cooper, my dog, was at my side - he's got a nose that can find pretty much anything. In hand, gloves, mask, blade and resealable plastic bags.

It was a beautiful walk on a sandy trail. Dappled sunlight through redwood, cottonwood, sycamore. Just lovely. 

I used my iPhone to navigate. As we closed in on the location, we found a trail that seemed to lead to the creek.

Indeed, the singletrack led us to a wide sand and stone bank, the confluence, where Zayante Creek meets the San Lorenzo River. A moment to take in the beauty and then I turned to look for the cat. 

There it was, just steps from the trail, just a few feet from the water's edge. Poor cat. Poor, poor cat.

I gloved-up, put on a respirator mask and began documenting.

I used Theodolite to record the location of the carcass. I took pictures of the animal's teeth to help determine its age, and documented its skin condition. 

Then it was time to cut.

Using a utility blade, I gently worked through the fur, just below the sternum, lightly scratching through the thin outer layer of skin and ever-so-delicately through the peritoneum to reveal the insides. Here, we are all pretty much the same... and there it was... what I had come for... the large, carmine-colored organ.

I gently slipped my fingers behind the liver and cut it free, placed it in a plastic bag, degloved down to my first layer and double-bagged the specimen. Deed done.

It was a somber walk back to road but I felt good. I felt I had honored that poor cat in the best way I could - to find out why it died... and maybe these words will help educate others about the real cost of using rodenticides... and then maybe, if the results confirm it was use of rodenticide that killed it, perhaps this story will add weight to any move to get rid of these horrible poisons once and for all.

Stay tuned!

WES has a fund set up for testing specimens for anticoagulants. They are costly - about $120.00. If you'd like to sponsor a Rodenticide Screening, click HERE

Thank you!

A huge THANK YOU! to the residents of River Road for 
reporting this bobcat and helping with recovery of its body.

Sep 24, 2015

Turkey vulture ventures into a water truck tank

Last Friday, WES received a call about a turkey vulture that had been trapped inside a commercial water truck tank in Aromas. The hatch had been left open and unattended, perhaps for days. We don't know how long the bird had been in there.

Frightened of the bird, workers thought to fill the tank with water and flush it out.

When rescuers arrived they found the immature vulture alert, with its wings spread, warming and drying in the sun. Typical of vultures, this is called the "horaltic pose" and it helps them warm up before they take to the wing.

Rescuer, Rebecca Dmytryk, captured the bird and transported it to Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz.

After five days in care the bird was deemed releasable.

The young turkey vulture was transported back to the area where it was captured and set free. Check out the video of its capture and release.

A huge THANK YOU!!! to Ben for calling WES to the rescue!

Please support our wildlife rescue program with a donation 
or choose to give as little as $5.00 monthly.

Check the box that says Make This Recurring.