I have been a good owl all year! Normally I would ask for a mouse or two for Christmas but this year is different. Last week I didn’t look both ways and I flew into a car. Lucky for me I was taken to WildCare. This year Santa, I need medication to make my head not hurt. I need someone to care for me. I need a place where I will be safe until I am better. It may not seem like a lot but it is all that I need to get back on my wings again.
Great Horned Owl
PS You can always slip a few mice into my stocking!
This year I would love to ask for green grasses and dandelions but I’ll dream of a green Christmas next year. This year I need my hind leg to be fixed after a dog almost ate me. I need a radiograph, a splint, and medication. I also need someone to take care of me while I get back on my feet. Thank you Santa! I knew I could count on you!
PS I would also like not to have an owl as a neighbor. They make me nervous!
PSS I promise I will eat all my greens next year!
Thanks to our veterinarians!
When an opossum arrives with part of her anatomy outside of her body, who are you going to call? When an adult bobcat gets hit by a car and you are asked by Norman Animal Control to assist in capturing and sedating her, who are you going to call? This can be a major hurdle for many rescue groups but WildCare has the answer. We call Dr. Joe Carter and his clinic at Oklahoma Equine Hospital. Dr. Carter donated the use of his clinic to the injured and sick wild animals at WildCare for the 11th year. On top of that he encourages his staff Dr. Kelly Fleming and Dr. Summer VanPelt to help in as many procedures as needed. Radiographs, surgeries, and diagnosis are all donated. We can’t thank them enough. Dr. Amy Tyler this year has given one day each week to spend at WildCare helping diagnose and develop treatment plans for hundreds of wild patients. THANK YOU ALL!
We get along with a lot of help from our volunteers!
I have been volunteering at WildCare for just over a year but had been considering it for a lot longer than that. I was worried that I didn’t have the time to spare in my already busy schedule. But every time I read or heard about some animal WildCare had rescued I would feel the pull to go out and see if I could help. In October 2010, I finally took the plunge and contacted Rondi about volunteering (I think it was after reading about the flying squirrels they were caring for) and since that time I have come out one morning a week to help wherever they need me. Most of those mornings I still feel as if I have too much to do to volunteer, but I go, and I always discover that going out there improves my day. For me, it gets me out of my frantic “To Do” mode. I slow down and focus on the animal or project in front of me. To care for an animal that is hurt and frightened, you must be calm and totally present. This is a gift for me. As a self-employed mother, I am often thinking three or four steps ahead of whatever project I am currently working on and focus is hard to come by. But helping care for the animals at WildCare brings me into the moment, as I am constantly in awe of the animals we care for. It also helps me connect with the natural world as I see first-hand the seasonal cycles of baby season (fox squirrels have two!), migrations (burrowing owls anyone?), animal movements to find mates and territories of their own, and the effects of storms, heat, and wind. So while volunteering helps WildCare it also helps me. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to see these animals up close, to treat them gently and care for them, and then experience the thrill of seeing them returned back to the wild. That is a gift!
Kites in crisis!
Wearing their down coat, and without sippy cups, the baby Mississippi Kites in their nests at the tops of the trees had two choices: to cook in the triple digit heat or jump. 302 nestlings that jumped arrived at WildCare! A normal year we would admit 100-130. It is impossible to know the full impact of this year’s heat and drought on Oklahoma’s wildlife but we know first hand it had a negative impact on M. Kite nestlings. In early August, during the peak of the triple digit heat, we began receiving 30 nestling Kites a day. The nestlings, mostly two to four weeks of age, were bailing out of the nest before they could fly. They came to us extremely dehydrated and malnourished. Needless to say taking in triple the usual number severely tested WildCare’s capabilities and resources. Our first crisis was to rehydrate them. Once they were stable the next crisis was food for 300 nestlings 4 times a day. M. Kites are primarily insects eaters but there was no way we could supply the quantity of insects needed. So, to meet the need I made a trip to a food supplier in Nebraska and transported 1,000 lbs of a customized Bird of Prey diet used by zoos nationally to feed hawks and owls. The next crisis was extra hands to feed 300 nestling four times a day. Feeding 300 nestlings by hand 4 times per day was a huge challenge for WildCare’s limited staff. We absolutely could not have accomplished this without the help of many dedicated volunteers who stepped up and met the challenge. We thank you all and extend a special thanks to Dr. Liz Bergey, Kristi Wicker, Angelia Taylor, and especially Rachel Berkowitz for their many hours hand feeding the kites.
As they grew and began to fly the next crisis was needing flight space for 300 kites. Fortunately, WildCare has a large number of outdoor enclosures and with some rearranging of animals we were able to accommodate all in suitable housing until release.
The kites were all released at WildCare where we had feeding platforms around the property for several more weeks. It was rewarding to see so many kites catching bugs so high in the air, calling to each other as they flew. Then, as we expected one day they were gone. Kites fly in large groups to South America catching bugs on their way. Hopefully we will see them next May when they return.
Mississippi Kites banded before release
By Rachel Berkowitz, Volunteer
WildCare took in more than 300 juvenile Mississippi Kites this summer, and master bander Dr. James Parker, PhD flew from Maine to take advantage of the opportunity. Dr. Parker has banded and studied kites for 25 years. He collected data on weights and feather measurements to compare our kites to those he has previously studied. Over four days, we banded all of the kites on the property and later recorded when they were released. In time, this might provide feedback about where our kites end up and if they survive. Dr. Parker involved OSU vet students, keepers at OKC zoo and WildCare staff and volunteers and taught techniques of bird banding and the reasons for it.
Sterilized 1.5” or bigger $ 1.25 each
Teach children about owls and save an injured owl in Oklahoma! Sterilized pellets are full of tiny rodent bones and hair. Small sizes available at $ 1.00 each. Call WildCare to place your order (405) 872-9338
Staff attends conferences thanks to Owl pellets
By Terrie Girlinghouse, 6 years on staff
In Early May, 2011 I attended the Raptor Rehabilitation Conference at the Univ. Of Minnesota. Wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians attended from around the country. The week was filled with training on raptor initial exams, lab work, surgery, physical conditioning and release consideration. I learned new protocols for head trauma, wrapping and splinting broken bones, and physical conditioning to get them ready to be returned to the wild.
For the second year Miranda Vesy, 4 years on staff, and Lacy-Jean Rhodes, 3 years on staff, attended the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association Conference in New York. A few of the programs were given on song bird diets and housing, initial exams for birds and mammals, nutrition, fluid therapy, wound management, trauma care, and rehabilitation of various species.
These conferences are paid for by our sales of Owl Pellets. Throughout the year volunteers , staff and interns pick up the owl pellets the owls produce. We then role them in foil and sterilize them. Then they are sold to schools for students to dissect the bones of the animals the owls ate. It is a great educational tool for teachers and brings in revenue to WildCare.
By O.T. Sanders, Ph.D. Facility Director and Board Member
In April, 2011 WildCare had the honor of releasing another bald eagle. This one hit a windshield of an 18 wheeler on the highway and survived. Once the internal injuries, broken leg, and wing healed she began flight conditioning for release.
WildCare has been helping injured and orphaned wildlife in Oklahoma for 27 years. On June 14th we admitted our 50,000th animal. Yes, over 50,000 animals have come through our admission area needing help. All have been brought to WildCare by caring individuals who want to see these animals get the help they need to recover and to be released back into their natural habitats. The animals can’t say it but we, the staff and volunteers at WildCare can, thank you for caring enough to stop your busy life to try to save a life. We also thank you for your continued donations which makes our work possible.
After 27 years and 50,000 plus animals one begins to think “ I’ve seen it all” but every year brings more surprises. Only once before have we had the privilege of dealing with a River Otter at WildCare; one young baby that unfortunately did not survive. This year we admitted five infants. Raising and housing river otters presented quite a challenge. Otters not only are active swimmers but they are climbers as well. So, in addition to providing a pool for swimming they required a climb-proof enclosure and an insulated den box to house the five for the winter. They also have huge appetites necessitating a constant supply of fish. We thank the OKC Zoo for assisting with this need and one young volunteer, Rachel Berkowitz, for her many early morning fishing expeditions on behalf of the hungry otters. All have survived, are healthy, weighing over 22 pounds, and will be released in early spring.
2011 brought another surprise for WildCare: 317 Mississippi Kites, 302 were nestlings! Read more about the Kites in Crisis on page 2.
WildCare graciously accepted a large donation from the Golden family to start an Education and Facility Building Fund. This 5,000 sq ft building will greatly increase space for education, nurseries, and clinic areas. You will hear more in the coming year of this exciting project!
Once again we have accepted a record number of animals, 4,402 with a month and a half yet to go. We could not have done this without our supports and volunteers. THANK YOU for another year!
As the year comes to a close, we want to thank our dedicated Staff and Interns. We are fortunate to have three full-time staff members at WildCare. Terrie Girlinghouse (6yrs), Miranda Vesy (4yrs), and Lacy Jean Rhodes (3yrs). Sadly, in Sept. Lacy-Jean moved on to a similar position at a facility in CA, her home state. Returning as summer staff were Deb Roppoli (15yrs), Molly Baldwin and Guin Stice (2yrs). Our first year interns were Laura Kintz from New Hampshire, Karyn Lesinski from Ohio, Katie Lisko, from Wisconsin, and Pace Frank from Texas.
To an animal your donation is the world
By Rondi M Large, Executive Director
When I first became involved in wildlife rehabilitation I didn’t know what an impact it would have on my life. I also would never had guessed that I would or could have ever taken in 50,000 animals. Wow! That’s a lot. But we have. How have we done it? One life at a time! Granted, there are days when lots of individual lives arrive together, but it still is one life at a time.
Today, a burrowing owl arrived at WildCare that was in shock. She needed fluids, requiring a sterile needle, syringe, and someone trained to administer them. Food and water were placed in a large crate with towels, a heating pad, and a den box where the owl will rest peacefully. An opossum arrived with a wound needing antibiotics, wound cleaner, gauze, ointment and then a bandage needed to be applied. She was picked up with leather gloves and weighed then put in an enclosure with soft straw, a den box, branches and fed dry kibble, fish, egg, and fruit along with a bowl of water. She was given medication to remove fleas. Their world would have ended without WildCare.
Both the owl and the opossum were struggling to survive when someone stopped to save them. They both arrived at WildCare with their world turned upside down. As they received the care they needed to survive as described above please notice the highlighted words. Every one of those items you have provided! Every time an animal has come to WildCare we have been prepared because of you! Every donation made will give another animal the chance to have his world back!
You may be just one person to the world
but to this one animal your donation is the world
50,000 times your donation has allowed WildCare to care for each life brought to our hands! One donation at a time, one life at a time, we have given their world back!
Who knows what crisis and challenges these magnificent wild creatures will face in 2012. I know you will join WildCare in providing the world for each of the animals that will find themselves hurt, ill or without a family. Your donation is so necessary for them to have a chance at returning to their world. Your donation of $100… $75… $50… or even $25 will speak for your own love and respect for all wildlife.
Thank you for giving their world back with a donation for 2012!
WildCare wants to thank all the families and friends for the memorial donations in their loved ones names. We hope you are comforted knowing that a wild one will be free once more in their names!
Ruth Boyd, Sue Kristine Isaac-Gould, Joe Rolston, Mike Little, Scott Borelli, Kris Speegle, Ruby E Ray, Eleanor Gainan, Claire Nellie Moore, Dr. Hugh Maguire, Jerry Francis, Justin Hues, Georgia May Hummer, Logan Lonsbury, Ozella Vaeth, JoAnn Holt, and Mary Malzahn
Melinda West, Trisha Worster and Sarah Williams
Jan-Nov 2011 Intake
# Accepted ~ Species
623 ~ Cottontail
545 ~ Opossum
341~ Fox Squirrel
317~ Mississippi Kite
160~ House Sparrow
101~ Blue Jay
94~ Purple Martin
92~ Mourning Dove
81~ Eurasian Collared Dove
62~ Canada Goose
55~ Mocking Bird
42~ House Finch
39~ Domestic Duck
38~ Field Mouse
33~ Barred Owl
31~ Red Shoulder Hawk
30~ 3 Toed Box Turtle
28~ Coopers Hawk
26~ White Tail Deer
25~ Red Bat
22~ Red Tail Hawk
20~ Barn Swallow
21~ American Coot
19~ Phoebe, Great Horned Owl
18~ Kestrel, House Wren
17~ Ornate Box Turtle
16~ Brown Thrasher
14 ~ Cattle Egret, Peking Duck, Downy Woodpecker, Franklin Gull, Domestic Goose
12~ Bluebird, Scissor-Tail Flycatcher, Bewick’s Wren
11 ~ Screech Owl, Chickadee, Broadwing Hawk, Crow, Toad, Red Bellied Woodpecker
10 ~ Great Tail Grackle, Unknown infant songbird, Ruby Throated Hummingbird
9 ~ Grey Fox, Common Blackbird
8 ~ Turkey Vulture, Cedar Waxwing
7 ~ Night Hawk, Yellow Billed Cuckoo, Western Kingbird
6 ~ Gold Finch, Red Winged Blackbird, Missouri Cooter
5 ~ Beaver, Wood Duck, Killdeer, Mexican Free-Tailed Bat, Poorwill, River Otter, Quail
4 ~ Black Crowned Night Heron, Barn Owl, Turkey, Cotton Rat, Eastern Kingbird, Brown Headed Cowbird, White Winged Dove
3 ~ Bobcat, Coyote, Armadillo, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Ring Billed Gull, Sharp Shinned Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Pipistral Bat, Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 ~ Grey Squirrel, Brewers Blackbird, Great Blue Heron, Snapping Turtle, Purple Finch, Roadrunner, Flying Squirrel, Chicken, African Grey Goose, Mole, Gopher, Evening Bat, Tufted Titmouse, Sora, Upland Sandpiper, Mute Swan, Lark Sparrow, Shrew, Blue Winged Teal, Muskrat, Oachita Map Turtle, Red Eyed Vireo
1 ~ Porcupine, Junco, Snowy Egret, Meadow Lark, Bald Eagle, Ring Neck Dove, Yellow Billed Sapsucker, Red Fox, Green Heron, Painted Bunting, Belter Kingfisher, Nashville Warbler, Prairie Falcon, Pied Billed Grebe, Piliated Woodpecker, White Goose, Yellow warbler, Indigo Bunting, Black Vulture, Frog, Lesser Scaulp, Ovenbird, Ruddy Duck, Hoary Bat, and 20 other species