April typically marks the beginning of a busy baby season, and with that comes the opportunity to reunite displaced hatchlings and nestlings with their parents.
Tree cutters trimmed a tree, causing a dove’s nest to fall to the ground. One of the babies died from the fall, but the homeowner knew to warm the other one up to prevent shock. After it was warmed up, he tried to renest the dove in a box up in the tree.
Even though the parents were nearby, they wouldn’t go to the baby. After watching the baby all day, the finder called Sherry for help. Sherry advised him how to keep it comfortable overnight. He brought the hungry nestling to her the next morning for an exam.
Sherry hydrated and fed the dove to ensure it would keep its strength up until the parents returned. After taking a full bottle of formula, the baby dove was ready to be renested.
This time, the homeowner placed the baby in a coconut fiber hanging basket, as advised by Sherry, and wait for the parents.
Within ten minutes, the mama found her baby! Reunited after 24 hours!
Two nestling owlet siblings had their nest tree cut down. Their parents were able to fly off, but the homeowners were not aware that they had a Barred Owl family living in the dead tree the in their backyard. They called Alix as soon as they found the owlets on the ground.
Later that same night, a younger nestling owlet was found orphaned and all three owlets were kept overnight for observation.
Because the three owlets were were close in size, Alix decided to foster the singleton with the two siblings. Wayne Robertson, a professional tree climber, climbed a nearby oak the following evening. He installed a basket nest for the young to mature in. Both adult Barred Owls were present and vocal.
The homeowners followed up to say everything was fine and we are confident that all three owlets would fledge. Successful renest!
We are excited to introduce our newest licensed wildlife rehabilitator and educator!! Kate Harrell has been one of our apprentices for approximately two years, and completed the application process with the TWRA in late February. Kate spent the past year preparing a written account of her experience as an apprentice and designing a triage area and nursery for neonate mammals. The final project before applying for her licenses with the TWRA was constructing a large release cage this past winter; this will be a place for rehabilitated animals to acclimate to the outdoors and give them a chance to familiarize themselves with the local animals.
The construction of the release cage began by surveying the property for a spot that was relatively level, far away from noise, and surrounded by trees. The dimensions of the cage had to be large enough to accommodate two adjacent “rooms”, so that there could be animals on each side. Mitchell Kohlmann, of St. Elmo, measured and set the corner posts in concrete and then built the framework to accommodate a floor, roof and center wall. It took several people to then wrap the framework with ¼” galvanized hardware cloth. Mitchell then built a 4’x4’ double entrance around the doorway on the exterior wall. The frames from three salvaged doors were used to make cage doors. With the centers of these old doors removed, Kate stapled hardware cloth to the wooden frames. All seams on the doors and the cage itself were covered by 1”x4” pieces of lumber so the sharp edges from the hardware cloth would not injure little paws. After installing some squirrel-size doors, feeding trays, and shelves, natural materials like leaf litter and tree branches were added to provide plenty of climbing and caching practice.
Kate is very excited to continue volunteering with Happinest; her favorite part of rehabilitation is seeing a happy animal on release day. “You really can see how joyful they are,” she says, “and that makes all of my efforts absolutely worthwhile.”
Kate will specialize in squirrels, chipmunks, and opossums.