Dec 24, 2014

Christmas Eve rescue

It was early Christmas Eve morning when we received a call about an injured baby bird on the rooftop of Macy's, in Monterey.

We knew it couldn't be a baby - not this time of year - we suspected it might be a grounded loon or grebe. These are aquatic birds more suited for water than land. 

With legs sprouting from their rear, grebes and loons are off balance, unable to walk on hard surfaces. Out of the water, they must rest on their keel (breast bone), which can quickly become bruised and abraded.

To take flight, these species require a "runway" of water. Once grounded, they're helpless and vulnerable.

We arrived at Macy's and met up with George, the reporting party. George escorted us through the department store full of last-minute shoppers, into an elevator, up a stairwell to the roof. 

The rooftop was impressively large with a fortress-like wall surrounding it. 

George showed us where the bird was last observed, hiding under a massive duct, and sure enough, it was still there.

An eared grebe!

Eared grebes generally migrate at night. Perhaps this eared grebe was migrating south to its wintering grounds, when it mistook the gravel roof with large puddles of water for a sheltered marsh.

Duane collected the small bird with ease, and placed it in a cardboard pet carrier. 

The carrier was padded with a thick layer of balled-up newspaper covered with a towel. This helps distribute the bird's weight off its keel. In a hospital setting, aquatic birds are fitted with a "doughnut", developed by International Bird Rescue in 1995.

While the grebe appeared to be in relatively good shape, it seemed underweight. The bird was transported to the wildlife center at the SPCA for Monterey County for a full evaluation.

Check out the rescue video, below.

Support Wildlife Emergency Services for as little as $5.00 a month!

Make a donation of any size, here:

Thank you!

Dec 15, 2014

Opossum recovering

The opossum injured in the "humane" cage trap (story HERE) is doing quite well and is expected to make a full recovery, according to wildlife medical staff at the Wildlife Center for Silicon Valley.

Thanks to All who contributed towards its medical "bills".

Stay tuned for release video!

Dec 14, 2014

Fox loses paw in illegal trap


At dark on December 9th, Wildlife Emergency Services (WES) was called to rescue a fox in Hollister that was reportedly snared in a trap that it was dragging around by a front leg.

Rescuers caught a glimpse of the animal near the intersection of Union Heights and Riverside Road, but could not get close enough to capture it.

This morning, the animal was spotted again in the Union Heights neighborhood.

Deanna Barth, WES’ rescue team leader for Hollister, responded on scene, along with a warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Though it had been 5 days since the initial report, the fox was still alert and wary and able to evade capture.

However, while tracking the fox, at one point, they noticed the trap was gone.

It had fallen off, along with the animal’s front paw. It is not uncommon for animals to gnaw their own limbs off to get free from traps.

The trap was found and is in the possession of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement, which is conducting an investigation.

This type of trap, called a leghold, was banned in California in 1998.

WES is offering a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

Anyone with information can call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line at 1-888-334-2258 or 408-499-8714. To add to the reward amount, please email

We believe this animal was trapped because it was perceived as a nuisance – perhaps someone was trying to protect crops or livestock. Not only are there strict regulations governing the use of traps, even cage traps, trapping or otherwise destroying wildlife is rarely a sound solution - when one animal is taken out, another one quickly takes its place.

WES offers basic consulting for wildlife problems through our hotline at 1-866-WILD-911 (866) 945-3911 at extension 2.

Dec 13, 2014

Help Wildlife in 2015

Wildlife Emergency Services will be forced to cut back field service if it cannot raise operating expenses.

Donate now to help them continue rescuing injured, ill and orphaned wildlife in 2015.

Give as little as $5.00 monthly to make a BIG difference:

Make a donation of any size, here:

Thank you!

Dec 12, 2014

Hooked scoter - SAVED!

This morning, Robert Scoles and Ron Eby - both volunteers for Elkhorn Slough Reserve, were completing their daily otter re-sights when they stopped to collect trash at Kirby Park.

That's when they spotted a scoter hiding in the riprap that protects the parking lot.

Ron, a long-time volunteer responder with WES, approach the scoter from the water. 

Once in hand, he passed the sea duck to Robert, who was on solid ground.  

They cut the line to remove the sinker and leader but left the hook in place since it was deeply embedded.

The animal was placed in a padded carrier for transport.

A huge Thank You! to the wildlife hospital at the SPCA for Monterey County for their prompt response.


Dec 11, 2014

What $5.00 a month could do

If every Wild Byte subscriber would sign up to give $5.00 monthly, we could cover our 2015 operating expenses!

Just $5.00 a month could make a huge difference.

Safely and securely through PayPal and you don't even need an account.

You don't have to have a PayPal account to sign up. Click where it says to pay using your credit or debit card.

Your monthly contribution will help fuel the rescue truck, purchase supplies and capture equipment, cover administrative costs, fundraising and educational programs, and the publication of our Sunday Wild Bytes. 

Select amount before clicking Sign Up button.

Every monthly donation of $5.00 or more or any donation of $50.00 
or more comes with a subscription to our Sunday Wild Byte newsletter.

Thank you for supporting WES!

Dec 7, 2014

At a crossroads

Dear Fans and Supporters of Wildlife Emergency Services, as director of this program, I am coming to you for guidance.

As many of you know, we are a small nonprofit specializing in response to wild animals in distress, providing injured animals with immediate aid and transport to the nearest wildlife hospital. 

We're also one of the very few organizations in the country that performs difficult, technical wildlife rescues.

To date, we have managed as an all-volunteer-run charity. No employees. No paid staff.

Over the last few years, however, we have experienced a decline in donations and a wane in volunteerism, reducing our capacity to respond to wildlife emergencies.

The time has come for us to have a paid Program Director to oversee day-to-day operations and lead wildlife rescues. 

We've launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise operating expenses in 2015, which includes one paid position. See a breakdown of expenses HERE.

Without this financial support, we will be forced to reduce field services in 2015.

Please help us continue our valuable work by making a contribution today. 

Thank you,

Rebecca Dmytryk, CEO, President
Wildlife Emergency Services / National Association for Wildlife Emergency Services

You can donate in these ways:

1. Through our Go Fund Me campaign, HERE.

2. By check payable to WES: 

P.O. Box 65 Moss Landing CA 95039

3. Safely and securely through PayPal.

4. Send us a little something every month:

Support Options