Aug 31, 2012

Opossum left for dead

This morning we received a call from a person who had been renting a vacation home in Aptos. He and his family were cleaning up the house and getting ready to leave when they discovered an opossum in the garbage bin. In fact, they had dropped a bag of trash on top of it.

The opossum looked as though it was dying. It might have been trapped in the large container for days, with very little to eat and nothing to drink.

Don't miss the incredible video, below!

The opossum was actually in good shape! The twitching and death throes described by the RP was the opossum just being an opossum - feigning death... but, then maybe it decided to stay in that position for a while. It must have been about 40 minutes from the time the can was tipped to when responders arrived.

The opossum was checked by a local mammal rehabilitator and we released it back to its home that evening at dark.

Aug 28, 2012

Pelicans at Fisherman's Wharf

by Deanna Barth

This week, I decided to start my 'rounds' at Lake El Estero, hoping to find an injured gull I'd seen last week, but all the birds there were in good shape, so I headed for Fisherman's Wharf.

Near the entrance to the wharf, I stood, scanning the water and pilings with my binoculars when a vigorous movement on the rocks below caught my attention. It was a pelican, dripping wet and wildly flapping its wings. It was so drenched it couldn't fly.

Birds are naturally waterproof, and not because of any feather conditioner, but it's actually the structure of a bird's feathers and their alignment (like shingles on a roof) that protects the bird from the elements. Substances, like oil, can cause a bird's feathers to 'collapse', allowing cold water and wind to reach the bird's skin.

This pelican (pictured here) is a good example of what happens - how the feathers clump and part. I suspect the wet one on the rocks is contaminated with 'fish juice'.

As I was walking to get a better view of the wet pelican, I spotted another one on the beach nearby. This pelican was in much worse condition. It was standing, but had that 'hunched' look - its head was down, eyes closed, facing inland, not the water, and its left wing appeared broken at the wrist. Everything about this bird screamed pain. I knew I needed to focus on capturing this pelican, first. The wet one could wait, for now.

Ashley, the parking enforcement officer, allowed me to park my vehicle inside the closed-off section so I'd have all my rescue gear at hand.

I would try first to lure the bird to me, so I asked a local restaurant owner if they had any fish scraps, and I was quickly handed a beautiful fish that the kitchen had just cleaned and prepared to serve.
I cautiously made my way down the incline to within a few feet of the injured bird. As soon as it saw me approach, it took a few steps towards the cliff. I played with the fish, trying to draw his attention, but with no response. I tossed bits of the fish towards him and he turned his back to me. I knelt there for a few minutes, taking in the surroundings and building a new capture plan.

Just to the pelican's left, there was a large rock, about 4 feet tall.
 I walked over and crouched behind it. If I approached from this direction, the pelican would not be able to see me. I needed my net.

By now, a crowd of about twenty people had gathered along the railing above. As I made my way up the cliff and to my vehicle, s
everal bystanders approached me, asking how they could help. I directed everyone to remain quiet and still, but to keep an eye on the bird while I grabbed my equipment.

I was back on the beach in no time, slinking into position with the rock as my cover.
I estimated my net was about 10 feet from the bird. I called up to the crowd and asked them to relay its current position, which they did perfectly.

I took a deep breath, counted to three, and pounced.

As the netting draped over the weakened body of this poor bird, the crowd broke out into applause. A
s soon as I turned and stood up holding the bird, though, I heard a collective gasp. I looked down - I was covered in blood!

I made my way back up the seawall. Ashley was there, waiting to assist me with the carrier. As we placed the bird into the cage, I saw the wound - a large hole in its abdomen, likely caused by a sea lion. The video, below, shows how this can happen when fish scraps are thrown into the ocean, causing a feeding frenzy.

As I drove the pelican to the wildlife hospital at the Monterey SPCA, I knew the bird would probably be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries, but in my heart I was thankful I'd been in a position to help end its suffering. I was grateful on many levels.

My faith in humanity was reinforced today. I cannot begin to count how many people offered to help - from the restaurant owner giving me fish, to the visitors who helped me over the wall, to the supportive cheers and applause. I may have been alone on the beach, but I felt like I had a team with me. A huge thank you to Ashley who not only allowed me to park on site, but went above and beyond helping me move supplies and the carrier to and from my vehicle.

Aug 27, 2012

Turkey shot with target arrow

WildRescue is working up a plan to safely capture a wild turkey with an arrow through its body. These are very difficult rescues.

Turkeys are powerful birds, and, like deer, they tend to panic when confined. To minimize risk to the animal and its rescuers, capture strategies must be well thought out, taking days, or even weeks to organize.

The turkey was spotted last Monday, near 
Ridgemark Park in Hollister, traveling with a gang of other wild turkeys. The group is seen regularly as the birds meander through backyards and along hillsides in this suburban neighborhood, foraging on seeds, grasses, and insects.

The arrow appears to have a bullet target point, used for target practice not hunting, the fletching is a deep purple, and the nock is bright green.

It is not yet hunting season for turkeys, so this was an illegal act. If anyone has any information on who may have shot this turkey, please call the Department of Fish & Game at 1-888-DFG-CAL-TIP (888-334-2258). You do not have to give your name.

WildRescue has had success in capturing 'skewered' turkeys before. Click HERE and HERE for the video of Pinky's rescue and release in 2008.

UPDATE 9-6-12: 
Capture specialists Duane Titus and Rebecca Dmytryk will be attempting a capture Sunday morning, September 9th. Arrangements have been made for the bird to be seen by Dr. Rebecca Duerr, staff veterinarian at International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, CA. 

Stay tuned!

Aug 26, 2012

More marmot

This morning, Ashley Kinney, Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, headed for Yosemite to return the marmot to her home territory.

Once inside the national park, rangers assisted in helping choose a location that was quiet and known to support marmots.

It was mid-afternoon when Ashley reached the released site.


More on marmots:

Yellow-bellied marmots live communally, in harems, with a single male maintaining two to three females over an area that can be as large as 5 acres. There is a single breeding season, in spring, with the young raised jointly by the females.

Interestingly, research has found that female pups with lots of brothers tend to be 'tom boys'. That's because, in the womb, they were exposed to high levels of the hormone testosterone. Masculinized females tend to be more playful and adventuresome than feminine females. Read more about this interesting phenomenon, HERE.

How this might relate to you? Apparently, more than 90% of Americans have been contaminated by a chemical, 
Bisphenol A (BPA), that mimics the hormone estrogen. The marmot study emphasizes how slight changes in hormone levels within the womb can greatly influence development and behavior. Read one professor's take on it, HERE.

Aug 23, 2012

Cooper's uncooped

A few weeks ago, we predicted a rise in raptor entrapments. Sure enough, there's been an increase in trapped hawks.

Accipiters, the swift-flying, bird-eating hawks are typically the ones that get into trouble. It usually involves them going after prey near an open doorway, where the momentum of their dive sends them through the portal.

Once inside, the hawk panics and heads for safety - which is, instinctually, up.

There, flying inches from the ceiling, back and forth, navigating pipes and wires and ductwork as it would a tree canopy, the hawk remains, confused and trapped, until it is either drawn or driven out of the building, captured, or weakens until it cannot fly.

Photo credit Lisa Owen Viani.
Where there are skylights or high windows, birds become even more disoriented and at greater risk of suffering severe, even fatal, injuries or perishing from exhaustion.

We find the most common reaction from people who discover a trapped bird is to try chasing it towards an exit. This only causes the bird to panic more.

Freeing birds from buildings is extremely
 labor intensive and time consuming. Safe and effective rescue strategies are based on the layout of the building and the bird's behavior, minimizing potential harm to the animal, while maximizing the potential for success.

Photo credit: Ellie Sadler
This week, we faced a significant challenge. A young Cooper's hawk entrapped in a parking structure in downtown San Francisco.

The ground-level parking structure is lined with large, tall, grated windows. The doors, also grated, raise to let cars through, then close again.

WildRescue was first notified of the hawk on August 16th, when Joseph, a security guard for the downtown apartment complex, called to report it being trapped for two days. We immediately alerted our Bay Area responders and San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC).

Officers from SFACC responded quickly and tried to encourage the hawk towards the front of the building where the doors were held open.

Members from Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) also responded and used lures to entice the hawk toward the entrances, but with no luck.

A week passed. Fortunately, the hawk had been feeding on pigeons and smaller birds, so she was still fit and agile.

This morning, WildRescue's founder and director, Rebecca Dmytryk, traveled to the city to lead another rescue attempt. She was assisted by Eddie Bartley and Noreen Weeden from Golden Gate Audubon Society, and Officer Ellie Sadler from SFACC.

The team began by observing the bird, watching its pattern of flight and identifying the spots it preferred to perch. They used this information to choose a corner of the garage to section off using lightweight netting material.

The plan was to drive the animal into this smaller area and confine it. The hawk would then either hit the netting and drop down, where it could be funneled out the open garage door, or it would be netted by hand.

Check out the video of its rescue below.

A huge Thank You to everyone who helped return this hawk to freedom!

If you want to be part of our response team so you can help out on rescues like this one, please fill out an application and waiver and send it to

Aug 21, 2012

Stowaway Marmot

On Monday afternoon, we received word of an unusually large rodent-like animal emerging from storm drains near Schallenberger Elementary School in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose.

Residents were able to email images, helping us identify it as a yellow-bellied marmot.

Marmots are the largest of the ground-squirrel tribe. They are 
found in higher elevations, above 6,000 feet. In California, yellow-bellied marmots, affectionately called 'whistle pigs' for their shrill alarm calls and portly build, inhabit the grasslands and alpine meadows of the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, and White Mountains.

So, what's a marmot doing in San Jose? We believe it 'hitchhiked' in the engine block of a vehicle that recently returned from the mountains. Marmots have an affinity for antifreeze and are known to get up into engine blocks looking for access to the sweet-tasting but toxic fluid.

Rebecca Dmytryk, was on scene by 2:00 PM on Tuesday. Here is her account of the rescue:

There was no sign of the marmot at the storm drain where it had been seen earlier in the day, but a fellow passing by had just spotted it a block away.

As I pulled up to the intersection, I saw it. Grizzled fur, long body 
outstretched over the curb, gnawing on a patch of manicured grass.

I set a medium-sized cage trap. Then a larger one. Then both. The marmot showed no interest in the freshly sliced apple and carrot being offered, only grass.

I called the City of San Jose Department of Transportation for help to see if they could assist in driving the animal out of the storm drain.

At about 5:30, Anthony Friebel from San Jose DOT arrived. He knew, right away, which drain the animal was using. Thankfully, we were dealing with a single lateral (Don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about?). 

Anthony was great. He had animal handling experience from his work with livestock, so he was totally up for the task at hand.

The open-ended net over the catch basin, held in place with sandbags.
While I secured a large, open-ended hoop net over the drain, Anthony pieced together segments of flexible rods to feed through the pipe. He fixed a large plastic Gatorade bottle to the leading end to keep the animal from squeezing past. 

At one point we ran out of rods. Anthony called on his co-workers, Frank and Joe, who brought more extensions.

We started driving the animal. I heard the Gatorade bottle getting closer and expected the animal to dart out at any second, when finally, out popped the Gatorade bottle.

There was nothing else to do but slowly pull the line back out and hope the animal would come with it.

Anthony held a small hoop net in place as the line was drawn up. Suddenly, out jumped the marmot, into the net, but the bag wasn't deep enough for him to twist closed (Awesome, that he knew to do that!), so it squirmed out of the net and into an adjacent pipe. A shorter one.

The men quickly blocked its escape, I secured the open-ended net over the new catch basin, and we started again.

It wasn't long before they ran into a blockage of some sort. When they started to pull the rods back, the marmot shot from the pipe and was netted for a second time. Joe used his gloved hands to secure the wriggly creature until it could be transferred to a cage. Check out the video, below.

It was 7:45 PM when Rebecca delivered the marmot to staff at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, where it will be cared for until we figure out where it can be released. In the State of California, relocation of wildlife is prohibited without authorization, and for many good reasons. For one, relocation can spread disease between wild populations

Earlier, Rebecca contacted Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center. Its founders, Cheryl and Tom Millham, who have been rehabilitating wildlife since the late 1970's, generously offered to get the animal back into suitable marmot territory. The 
California Department of Fish and Game approved the idea, but we'll keep that as a backup plan - ideally, we want to find its home territory.

Thankfully, the marmot's story received a good amount of coverage through the news media and by morning we had a strong lead from a Willow Glen resident whose father frequents Yosemite.

William Charlson, a retired Santa Clara County Park supervisor, travels to and from Yosemite just about every week, stopping at his daughter's home on Cottle Avenue, 200 yards from where the animal was originally spotted. His most recent visit was Sunday evening - the marmot was first reported Monday morning.

Charlson runs a bed and breakfast in Groveland, just outside of Yosemite National Park. He built 
Lillaskog, which means "little forest" in Swedish, by hand, using salvaged logs from a forest fire. Check out his interesting story, HERE. He informed us that on Saturday, there had been a number of trips from his inn to Tuolumne Meadows, where marmots are abundant, and he suspects that's where the marmot came from.

A tray of marmot food. Photo credit: WCSV
Back at the wildlife center, the marmot was weighed and examined. The female marmot was underweight. She needs to bulk up before going anywhere. There's no time for delay, however. Marmots hibernate through winter, so she'll need to get into the mountains in time to find a suitable burrow.

We spoke with a yellow-bellied marmot researcher who said that even if we do not find her exact meadow, this is a good time to introduce a marmot into a foreign colony - they will not harm her. The marmot is being transported to Tuolumne Meadows on Sunday, August 26th where she will be released. Chip-in to cover gas, HERE.



Aug 20, 2012

Mourning Dove vs. Pressure Washer

This mourning dove, with her nest of two eggs, is about to get power-washed.

Actually, these kinds of threats to wild birds are not uncommon, especially in spring and summer months - the time when people typically trim trees, clear brush, and fix up their homes, coinciding, however, with the peak nesting season for many migratory birds.

Often, what people don't realize 
is that disturbing a wild bird or its nest can result in substantial fines.

Wild birds, their nests and eggs, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), administrated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The pertinent section (16 USC § 703) of this federal law reads: shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird,...
The law doesn't make tree trimming or power-washing a home illegal, but if, in the process, a protected bird is injured or an active nest is disturbed or damaged, the responsible party can be held accountable. Fines vary, but can be as high as $1,000.00 per incident with an additional $100.00 per bird or item (nest).

Outside a window of a townhouse slated for fumigation.
Occasionally, wildlife rescuers are called upon to save an active bird's nest, like the one pictured above. A word of caution - even a licensed wildlife professional, with federal permits allowing them to rescue and transport protected birds, would be in violation of the law if they disturbed an active nest. Ideally, they should wait until after the violation has been committed before they intervene to perform a rescue.

As for the mourning dove and her nest, we hope the property management postpones power-washing and painting of the townhouses, at least until October, giving this dove time to raise her young.

A huge Thank You! to the homeowner who was concerned enough to call us!

We urge people to report potential, impending violations of the MBTA to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (see numbers below). If witnessing a violation in progress, thorough documentation and collection of evidence can be helpful in prosecuting such a crime.

US Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Offices in California:
Torrance, CA 310-328-1516
Burlingame, CA 650-876-9078
Sacramento, CA 916-414-6660

Aug 18, 2012

Inspiring by example

Deanna Barth, one of our lead wildlife responders, takes her position as a member of our response team quite seriously. Just about every Friday afternoon, after work, she makes her rounds, checking local 'hot spots', looking for injured wildlife.

With camera, binoculars and bag of grain in hand, I began my Friday afternoon scavenger hunt. This time, I chose Almaden Lake Park in San Jose. 
It was a gorgeous 93 degrees out as I slowly strolled around the lake, stopping at each group of birds to do a 'leg check'. 
During my walk I spotted some fishing line glimmering in the bright sun. Loose line can be harmful to wildlife, so I cut it away from the rock and pocketed it.
All the resident waterfowl, which included Canada geese, egrets, great blue herons, coots, and mallards, appeared to be in great shape, so I packed up and headed over to Hellyer Park. 
I found the lake overflowing with Canada geese. Just a quick rustle of my bag of grain, and they all came out of the water  and towards me.
I don't really feed the waterfowl, I just make them think I'm going to. For one thing, I don't want to add to their habituation to humans, which can only get them into trouble. I only toss handfuls when I'm rescuing an individual.
I walked around the huge flock for about 20 minutes, carefully inspecting each bird as it foraged on grass. No injuries! I also picked up several deflated Birthday balloons. 
Heading towards home, I stopped in Morgan Hill to check the Community Park waterfowl. To my surprise, there were no geese, only a few odd ducks, and an enormous mess of plastic bread bags, soda cans and cereal boxes. I put on my gloves and began cleaning it up. 
As I was picking up the garbage, I realized I was being watched by park goers, but never expected the thunderous applause I received when I deposited the trash in the garbage bin. I responded with a  smile and a wave. But, as I walked off I couldn’t help but think that anyone in the park could have picked up the mess just as easily as I had. 
Although I chose to spend three hours walking around parks today, it only took me 10 minutes to make a significant difference. 
Most of us live or work near a community park or lake. Just think what an impact you could have if you took just a few minutes each week to look for injured animals and pick up trash along the way. Whether it’s a brisk walk on your lunch hour, a nice evening stroll, or part of your weekend plans, you can have a positive impact on your community and its wildlife.

Every wildlife rescue begins with the person who first discovers an animal in distress. With luck, they reach someone willing and experienced to help.

Recently, Deanna received an email about an injured gull at Pinto Lake. The person knew Deanna made weekly rounds, so they thought to pass on the information. The next day, Deanna was there to check it out.

Photo credit: Kraig C.

Photo credit: Kaia Barth (6 years old)
Sure enough, there was a gull in trouble. Deanna's 6 year-old daughter, Kaia - a wildlife-rescuer-in-training, spotted it first!

The gull appeared weak and in severe pain from a wing injury.

Deanna gently netted the gull and delivered it to Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Unfortunately it had a fractured wrist and could not be saved. 

Many thanks to Kraig C. for reaching out for help for this poor bird.

Quite often, we receive reports of injured animals that are still very mobile, like the recent call about a brown pelican, entangled in fishing gear, near Antioch, CA. We do our best to send responders quickly, even so, it usually means searching a vast area when we're looking for a flighted bird.

Akira So, also one of our volunteer wildlife responders, does an outstanding job of canvassing for injured animals, and a superb job of documenting his findings.

Akira generously gave up his Friday to search for pelicans in distress. Here's his account of the areas he covered.


1. Shoreline between "Humphrey's On the Delta" to Amtrak Station/Riverview Lodge.

One juvenile brown pelican found near the public fishing pier by Riverview Lodge/Amtrak Station. Not tangled in fishing gear and appeared healthy.

2. Public Fishing Pier by the Antioch Bridge

Suggested by bait shop. One juvenile brown pelican found at the end of the pier, being almost hand-fed by a little kid. However found to be not tangled in fishing gear.

3. Lauritzen Marina just east of the Antioch Bridge

Talked to office manager, who showed me of a picture of a pelican found in the area tangled in fishing line, back in March.

4. Big Break Regional Shoreline public pier
No brown pelicans found.



To become a volunteer wildlife responder please send in an application and waiver to

Aug 15, 2012

Family rescues entangled gull

The Perry family.

Early this morning, a family, visiting from out of town, found an injured gull on the beach in Santa Cruz. The seabird was so horribly entangled in fishing line that it could not fly. They wanted to help, so they did what most people do - they started making phone calls for assistance. They were referred to WildRescue.

Unfortunately, our response time was going to be close to one hour. In that time, this wonderful family made the decision to take matters into their own hands. Here's their firsthand account:

We feel so fortunate to be the ones to find this seagull that we have named "Blessed". 
My son, Casey, spotted him first, and then my daughter, Kylie, who cried when she saw how he couldnt fly or walk, he just flopped around right near the waters edge. 
My son and I ran the length of the beach to the boardwalk to get help, while my husband and daughter stayed near the seagull to make sure that he didnt get swept into the ocean. 
When security on the boardwalk said that it was one of thousands of seagulls, and they couldn't do anything to help us, I thought to myself, he may be one of thousands, but he is one that will die if we leave him here. He matters. 
My husband cut apart an old chair that was lying on the beach to use the canvas as a "hammock" to carry the seagull to the boardwalk where we found a box. 
Summer vacation souvenir: the bobber
that was removed from the entangled gull.
We drove him to Native Animal Rescue which was less than 10 minutes away. 
To watch the volunteer untangle all of the fishing line, weights, and the large bobber that was entangled all around him, and to see him so submissive and seemingly thankful as she pulled the line out from down his throat, and check his wings to find that they were not broken, what a blessing! 
We are so thankful to have helped this living creature that needed someone to care. 
The young gull resting after the ordeal.

A huge Thank You! to the Perry family for rescuing the gull - you are true heroes!

Aug 14, 2012

Hawked snagged by crook

Today, Duane and I just so happened to be in San Jose at a meeting, discussing ways we might officially expand our specialized wildlife rescue services in the area, when we received an emergency page.

The caller, Peter, was reporting a hawk, caught in a tree, about 30' high. As luck would have it, we were only eight miles away!

On scene we found a very tired but alert red-shouldered hawk, stuck on a branch. We couldn't tell exactly what held him to the limb - often it's kite string or fishing line.

There was no way to reach the bird without special equipment. Thankfully, there was an tool rental place just up the road, and, we happened to be driving our newly donated heavy-duty rig that could easily tow the boom lift.

Within 20 minutes we were all set and Duane began the ascent. Check out the video below.

Oddly enough, the hawk's leg was simply caught in a crook, nothing else held it to the tree - no line or string. Duane freed the bird by breaking the branch.

We rushed the bird to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley where it received immediate attention.

The bird was thin, indicating it had been trapped for two or three days. The leg did not appear broken, but the skin where it was caught had torn and peeled back. This is called a  degloving injury.

Photo courtesy WCSV.
The center's wildlife medics cleaned and bandaged the wound and placed the bird on pain medication and antibiotics. We will post updates as we receive them from the hospital. Please consider donating to our friends at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, HERE.

~ Rebecca


Today's rescue clearly illustrates the value of having a dedicated team of experienced first responders who specialize in wildlife. The skills necessary to safely handle wild animals in distress differ greatly than those used in domestic animal rescue.

As this season draws to an end, we will be looking at ways to increase our coverage of the Bay Area in 2013. If you'd like to receive training to volunteer on our Wildlife Search and Rescue team, please start by sending in an application and waiver.

UPDATE 8-18-12: Today we received word that the hawk is still alive and improving. At first, there was some concern because it wasn't defecating, but now that the bird is well hydrated, everything's flowing smoothly, so to speak. The hawk is able to perch and grip, but is not using its hallux well - that's the rear facing toe. We were also told that his behavior has improved, so much so that, to everyone's surprise, he lunged for his dinner-mouse before it was served.

Stay tuned!

Aug 8, 2012

Raccoon caught in tree

Early this morning we responded to a call from a resident of Santa Cruz. She sees a family of raccoons in her yard almost nightly, but last night she heard crying, and found one of the youngsters stuck in a tree.

The poor thing was caught at its waist between two vertical trunks. Its struggling caused it to slip lower, and lower, wedging it even more.

On approach, we saw the raccoon had use of its tail and back legs, and it had a great deal of fight left. Good signs!

Once the animal was freed, we watched it for a few minutes, hoping it would take off, but it was apparently weak in the hind quarters.

The youngster was transported to Native Animal Rescue for evaluation. With luck, we can return it to its family in a few days.

UPDATE 8/16/12: The raccoon is still in care, being treated for weakness in its back legs.

Aug 7, 2012

Skunk strikes out

This afternoon we received a call from a landowner in Aptos. They had just noticed a skunk was stuck in the netting of their batting cage. The animal had probably been entangled for at least 12 hours. Thankfully, the yard was shaded by surrounding redwoods, which prevented the struggling animal from overheating.

Equipped with eye protection, gloves, and a respirator mask, lead responder, Rebecca Dmytryk, approached the animal with a sheet. After draping the sheet over the skunk, she safely restrained its head, tucked its tail, and began methodically cutting the strands of material.

Once the youngster was completely untangled, she walked it just a few feet away and set it free. Both took off speedily in opposite directions!

Aug 3, 2012

Wet, cold, emaciated

Deanna has been a volunteer wildlife responder with WildRescue for a year and a half, during which she's honed her skills at catching geese, earning the nickname, ‘Goose Whisperer’. She’s 5 for 5, having captured, by hand, every Canada goose she’s set her sights on.

It has been years since Deanna has worked with pelicans though, and she's been eager to practice current capture and handling techniques. Today, she had her opportunity - catching a wet and emaciated juvenile pelican covered in lice!

In this video, Deanna tries, first, to entice the young bird close enough for a hand-grab, but the bird was not as interested as she’d hoped. She allowed it to settle in to a spot before attempting a capture using a long-handled net.

The bird was transferred to SPCA of Monterey Wildlife Center (Thank you Evan!) for immediate care, but will be transported to International Bird Rescue in Cordelia for rehabilitation.

Support our rescue and transport efforts, or their care and feeding at wildlife hospitals throughout California by contributing to our Pelican Aid Fund, HERE. 
This week we will be distributing $400.00 in funds collected so far. Many thanks!!!

Aug 1, 2012

Entrapments and window strikes

Rescuing birds from buildings can be very tricky, and time-consuming.
This week, we received a report of a hawk entrapped in a warehouse. Thankfully, the bird found its way out on its own, but that's not usually the case.

Entrapments often happen during hunting - when a hawk swoops down after prey, usually a small bird. The angle of its dive or pursuit of its prey can send it through an open doorway and into a building. Startled, the hawk instinctively flies upward.

Entrapped hawks usually panic and keep flying back and forth, but rarely down. 
It’s worse if the structure has skylights or high windows because the bird will keep trying to escape through the glass.

Entrapments are serious emergencies and should be reported right away. 
To reduce the chances of a bird entering a large doorway, we suggest hanging streamers, CDs, or balloons to deter small birds and the hawks that prey on them.

Hanging, shiny objects can also help reduce window strikes.

Window strikes occur when a bird sees the reflection of the outdoors in a window and flies into it, head on. Worse, is when a bird can see straight through a window to the outdoors on the other side of a building.

Please check out these tips and techniques for reducing collisions around the home, HERE, and for commercial buildings, HERE.

Purchase WindowAlert Ultraviolet decals from WildRescue, 

Collisions with windows also occur in cities, where light attracts and confuses migrating birds. Please don't miss this great video from Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) that explains the hazards birds encounter in our cities and what you can do to help.