ATW Newsletter, March 2020

Paws 'N Claws

News from All Things Wild Rehabilitation, Inc. 
What's In This Issue:
Our center is one year old.
Baby owls are little fluffy dinosaurs.
We are getting better and better.
ATW works to ward off the coronavirus.
Donate now to support our efforts!
Happy Birthday, Big Red Building!

A year ago on March 11, 2019, ATW opened the doors to our first wildlife rehabilitation center. On that March day a year ago, things were still a bit unfinished. But orphaned baby wild animals were starting to come in, and we needed to help them. After all, we had a building, electricity, septic, and running water.
The ATW nonprofit organization has been around since 2012. For 7 years, we were a dedicated bunch of wildlife rehabilitators working out of our homes. However, the time had come to take the leap into a center. We took that leap and here we are one year later!!!
So much has happened in our first year. We screened the garage doors so we can open them for ventilation and fresh air.  Our rudimentary medical area turned into a functioning clinic with the addition of a digital x-ray, anesthesia machine, stainless steel veterinary caging and a full-time veterinary technician who knows how to operate them. We put in large outdoor enclosures for raptors, fawns, foxes, opossums, skunks, raccoons, and songbirds. We added a shed, a cargo trailer, a flatbed trailer, a rusty Surburban, and underground water lines out to the enclosures. 
In front, we landscaped, fenced, and paved the entrance. Before the concrete dried, we added footprints of wild animals and four donkey hoof-prints so our favorite donkey Zelda would be immortalized at our center. 
What do we still need? We could use an autoclave, a second freezer, an outdoor enclosure for non-releasable education raptors, an outdoor enclosure for water birds with a pond, and an Education Center. Yes, we want to build a separate education center dedicated to teaching kids and adults about wild animals. And, finally, we need funding to pay more employees to round out our operating hours of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
We are so very grateful that we have come so far in one year. We have many people to thank for donations, grants, supplies, construction materials, caging, appliances, and time volunteered . . . so many things to be thankful for. Every one of you out there has supported us and helped us grow. Last year we took in 1,200 helpless wild animals who would have died had we not been there to save them.  This year, we’ll help even more.


Little Fluffy Dinosaurs
Birds aren’t exactly dinosaurs today, but they evolved from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods.  For that reason, it’s fitting that we named the three orphaned great-horned owlets Petrie, Chomper, and Spike after the dinosaurs in The Land Before Time.  The three young ones arrived separately, thanks to Hutto Animal Control, who picked up Chomper (3 weeks old) and Spike (4 weeks old) on the ground where they fell from a very high nest.  The difference in age is because mama owls lay an egg every few days until they have a complete clutch of up to four eggs.  Petrie (2 weeks old) arrived very mysteriously from a guy in a pickup truck who was very evasive about where he found the baby.   
The problem with rehabilitating great-horned owl chicks is that they imprint on whoever is feeding them. It’s all cute and fun for those big yellow eyes to gaze lovingly at you as you feed the baby, but not so cute when the owl is fully grown with huge, dangerous talons.  No one wants an adult great-horned owl landing on their head hoping for a meal.
To get around the imprinting, the rehabilitator taking care of the babies wears a great-horned owl mask.  We also use a great-horned owl puppet.  We try not to talk too much around them.  We are lucky that there are three babies because they can imprint on each other, but the human feeder still has to be careful.
From left, Spike, Chomper, the owl puppet, and Petrie.

From left, Chomper, Petrie, and Spike
If you open the door next Halloween to find an adult trick-or-treater wearing a great-horned owl mask, you might ask, “Hey, are you the rehabilitator who raised the little fluffy dinosaurs at All Things Wild?”
For more information on great-horned owl nests, click here.

Getting Better and Better

Thirteen ATW volunteers and two staff members attended the annual National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association (NWRA) education symposium in February.  This year, the symposium was in South Padre, not too shabby, huh? 
The symposium started early in the week of February 24 with day-long classes on diagnosis and wound care. We also got to visit the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, the only facility that takes in wildlife for rehabilitation in the area.  At the zoo, we had a behind-the-scenes tour of the clinic and some of the animal enclosures.  However, beginning on Wednesday through Saturday, the classes, workshops, and roundtables lasted all day and into the evening.  For example, the raptor people got lots of classes on raptors including a workshop on making anklets and jesses for education birds.  The reptile people had a whole day of reptile classes.  

We enjoyed classes on squirrels, cottontails, opossums, and songbirds.  There were 2-hour labs during which participants in masks, gowns, gloves, and googles performed necropsies on mammals and birds or learned about rehabilitating water birds.  Classes were taught by wildlife veterinarians and technicians or expert wildlife rehabilitators.  In the evening, impromptu gatherings occurred, such as, wildlife veterinary techs, skunk lovers, and home rehabilitators who want to build a center.  
Not only does the annual NWRA symposium contribute considerably to our knowledge of the animal species with whom we work, but also, we get to meet and network with wildlife rehabilitators from all over the USA, Canada, and other foreign countries.  Next year’s symposium will be in Wilmington, Delaware, sponsored by Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research.  We will post information about registration, travel, and lodging in the fall.  Want to go?

ATW and COVID-19

We are open and available for animal
 drop-offs. Call before you come: 

Because we have to stay healthy to take care of the helpless wild babies that will be pouring into ATW this spring, we have taken some steps to make sure our center and ourselves are prepared for the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19.
We canceled a new volunteer orientation scheduled for April 22 that would have brought together 30-40 people.  No crowds. Instead, we have invited the new volunteers to make an appointment to come to our center for individual orientation. At our recent board meeting, one of our volunteers, a director with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, brought us up to date on what is happening with the virus and how to best protect ourselves and our center.  
In addition to frequently washing hands and not touching eyes, nose, or mouth, it is best to maintain a distance of 3 feet from other people and 6 feet if the person is coughing.  People should cough into a sleeve or tissue and not their hands.  We have told our volunteers not to come in if they have a fever or cough.  We go around the building every day disinfecting doorknobs, faucet handles, microwave buttons, and other areas frequently touched. 
We are working hard to do what is best for everyone. As far as this COVID-19 goes, our native Texas wild animals are quite safe. It’s the humans we worry about!

For more information about keeping yourself safe from covid-19 click hereand read more about COVID-19 and your pets.

Stay well, everyone!
Donate now to support our efforts!
Copyright © 2020 All Things Wild Rehabilitation, Inc., All rights reserved.

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