ATW Newsletter, February 2021

Paws 'N Claws

News from All Things Wild Rehabilitation, Inc. 
What's in this issue:

Amplify Wildlife, Amplify All Things Wild!

Masked Berry Bandits

The Babies are Coming

Those Crazy Cottontails

Watch Us on YouTube
Donate to Support All Things Wild Rehabilitation!

EDITOR’S NOTE as of 2/18:  Whew! It took some doing to get the newsletter out this month, but it’s hard to do when you can’t get to the Internet when there’s no power. Our thanks to Natalie, who formats the newsletter, for persevering and finally getting everything together. Also, heartfelt thanks go to Amber, our intrepid wildlife vet tech, and significant other Jonny for making daring trips down icy country roads to the center every day to take care of the animals.  Our thanks also go to staff Kaela and Ella for braving the elements to get to the center last weekend and to our volunteers, especially Becky, who made the scary drive twice.

As of this writing, the center has been without power and water for 3 days.  It’s been difficult, but we have kept the animals at our well-insulated center clean and well fed.  Finally, many thanks to Anna, our landlord, who has been taking care of the equines of Blue Moon Sanctuary while living without power and water herself.  Anna discovered and turned off the freaky leaking outside faucet a couple of nights ago that flooded our building spilling out all the water in our storage tank and leaving us with a wet mess and no backup water.  

UPDATE as of 2/22:  Although we sent out the newsletter on Friday, 2/19, not everyone got it.  The power was restored late Friday night, and shortly thereafter, the pump at the water well started sending water to our storage tank.  So far, the damage has been a busted outside faucet, and we can't get the x-ray or the doorbell at the front gate to work.  Austin Build Right, our longtime handymen, are coming tomorrow to fix things.  Our next challenge is to raise the money to buy a generator and take steps to ensure that we are not without power and water again.

                             The wildlife rehabilitation center in the snow.

Opossum Penelope peers out from her nice warm hide.

Teddy, the striped skunk, stays warm too.

Speedy, the sulcata tortoise, watches out the car window
on his way to Amber's house.


Please help All Things Wild raise money to save wildlife by donating during Amplify Austin. The big Amplify Austin giving day is from 6 pm on Thursday, March 4, to 6 pm on Friday, March 5.  But you can donate NOW here.
Every little bit helps! A couple of large donors in the Austin area have pledged to match a total of $55,000 to animal services organizations based on the amount of donations received by the end of the day March 5.  The more you donate, the more we get in matching funds.  
Please help All Things Wild save wild animals by donating to us at Amplify Austin!


We can’t save wild animals without your help!
Please DONATE now!

Masked Berry Bandits

This time of the year, large flocks of Cedar Waxwings with their high-pitched calls swarm across the skies of Texas descending to devour berries on bushes.  The birds have quite a travel itinerary.  They nest in Southern Canada in the summer and spend winters in Texas and the southern part of the United States as well as Central and northern South America.  While nesting in the summer, they eat insects and feed insects to their babies, but the rest of the year, they live on berries traveling about in large flocks, stripping berry bushes bare, and leaving berry-stained poop on sidewalks and driveways.

It is this time of the year that All Things Wild takes in drunk and injured Cedar Waxwings.  Yes, drunk.  As the days get warmer, the sugar in the berries ferments giving the foraging birds quite an alcoholic buzz.  Once impaired, the birds get into trouble by being picked up by dogs and cats and getting in the way of cars.  The cure, of course, for an uninjured drunk Cedar Waxwing is to let him sober up and go on his way.  In a way, All Things Wild operates a drunk tank for Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwings are really beautiful birds with the white-lined black masks, yellow tail tips, and red wax-like tips on their wings, from which they derive the name waxwing.  The red wing tips are not found on juvenile birds.  They live in large flocks where they feed cooperatively.  They have been seen lining a branch with a cluster of berries on the end passing berries down the line until everyone gets a berry.  

In rehabilitation at All Things Wild, we feed them grocery store grapes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries cut into little beak-size pieces.  They are voracious eaters.  As soon as a Cedar Waxwing is sober and healthy, he is released near one of the large flocks of birds found throughout our area in early spring.

             Cedar Waxwings in rehabilitation during the recent cold spell.

For more information on Cedar Waxwings, go here and here. 


The Babies Are Coming

An orphaned great-horned owl gets dinner.
We have been busy getting ready for Baby Season 2021 when orphaned wild babies flood into the center.  Getting ready involves making sure we have staff to cover each of the four shifts a day, seven days a week, after April 1 when the center hours change to 8 am to 8 pm.  In fact, this year we are covering each shift with two staff persons on duty to take in animals, answer the phone, feed babies, prepare food for adults, provide medical care, oversee volunteers, and clean, clean, clean.

To supplement our staff, we rely on volunteers to commit at least one 3-hour shift per week.  A couple of weeks ago, we sent out an email inviting all our previous volunteers to return for Baby Season 2021.  On February 18, we opened the volunteer application at our website to new volunteers.  To clarify, youth volunteers must be a minimum of 14 years old and accompanied by an adult until they are 16 and old enough to drive.  

If you are interested in volunteering to help the orphaned, injured, and sick wild birds and animals at our center, please go HERE , fill out the application, and send.  We will be in touch to schedule an orientation session for you.  Our center is located off I-35 between Georgetown and Jarrell.

Thank you for volunteering!
The following article is reprised from our March 2019 newsletter with a few changes.  Because there are cottontail babies in the ground now, we thought it important to repeat the information.

Those Crazy Cottontails
The cottontail mothers are giving birth now while it is still winter, cold, and wet.  The ATW hotline is getting calls from people finding nests in their yards or dogs arriving at the back door with a baby rabbit in their mouths.  What can you do to help?

                                    A cottontail nest that has been disturbed.
First, please understand that you will NEVER see the mother.  Cottontail mothers do not stay with their babies because their presence would attract predators.  The moms come at night, usually twice, to nurse their babies and are gone when the sun rises in the morning.  Baby cottontail rabbits grow very quickly and usually leave the nest at 3-4 weeks of age.
If you find a nest of cottontails in your yard, leave it alone.  The mother is taking care of her babies.  However, if there is a problem with your dog, cover the nest during the day while the dog is outside and uncover it when you bring the dog in at night so the mother cottontail can feed her babies.  Some items you can use to cover the nest include an inverted wheelbarrow, laundry basket with a rock on top, tomato cage, or a heavy flower pot.  At an extreme, you can pick up the babies and keep them warm in a small box on a soft towel in the house during the day and return them to the nest at night.  Remember, you can touch the babies; the prohibition about touching baby animals is a myth.
We love telling the story about a pre-school in Georgetown that solved the bunny nest problem.  The mama bunny had made her nest under the children’s slide on the playground.  When the teachers arrived in the morning, they gathered the babies out of the nest and kept them warm in a shoebox on a soft towel in the building during the day.  Then, when the children left in the evening, the teachers returned the babies to the nest by the slide.  The mama rabbit came during the night to fed her babies. They all grew up and hopped away.
If nothing else works, you can call ATW for help at 512-897-0806.  Just remember that the mother's milk and care are best for the babies so it is preferable that they stay in the nest.

Have you seen the education videos we’ve put on YouTube?

Join our staff and volunteers to learn about our center and some of the animals we rehabilitate. Just click on the picture to see the YouTube video:

Take a tour of our rehabilitation center.

Learn about Texas Tortoises.

Learn about Eastern Screech Owls.

Learn about Virginia Opossums.

Learn about Raccoons.

Your donation could have double the impact. Support ATW now!
Copyright © 2021 All Things Wild Rehab, All rights reserved.

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