When nature calls…

Some people may go their entire life without ever coming across a wildlife animal in need; but others are faced with the decision to step in to help on many occasions.

Charlie Benton, a truck driver, has become a familiar face at Happinest because of all the wildlife he has rescued since 2012. The first was a screech owl that fell out of the grill of a semi at a truck stop. Later, he saved a lifeless American Robin hit by a car, a severely injured Canada Goose, a male House Finch sickened by conjunctivitis at his own bird feeder and an orphaned baby raccoon. Charlie called Happinest when he found the tiny raccoon and Sherry referred him to a licensed rehabber who specialized in rabies vector species. He drove two hours out of town to make sure the raccoon received the care it needed.

Weeks ago, on February 9, Charlie’s GPS guided him 24 miles out of the way in Bristol. When he stopped to turn around, he noticed an American Robin lying upside down on the side of the road…it was as if the GPS took him out of the way for a reason. He picked up the injured bird, wrapped it in his jacket, and again, contacted Sherry at Happinest for advice. The Robin was lethargic and in shock, so he placed him in the cab of the truck and turned up the heat to warm him up as advised. Amazingly, the Robin perked up and was admitted at Happinest later that same day. The robin has a broken right wing and slight head trauma, but thanks to the steps Charlie took to save this bird, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Thank YOU, Linda Koller

Linda Koller became a Happinester in the summer of 2015, during the height of baby season. She’s a devoted rehab volunteer who always brings something special for the birds, from newspapers to homemade treats. She even donated a double macaw cage, which serves as a flight cage for our songbirds. Linda has also gone out of her way to assist us in emergency out-of-town transports to Walden’s Puddle and UT College of Veterinarian Medicine.

After observing a Carolina Wren nest in her own backyard, Linda realized all the baby birds had died except one. She brought the singlet baby bird to Happinest for rehab. It turned out to be a brown-headed cowbird, which is a parasitic species. A female cowbird lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then foster the cowbird baby as their own. We kept Linda’s cowbird for almost six weeks, and she released him once he was ready to go.

We appreciate Linda for all she has done and we look forward to more great experiences with her in the future!

Eclipse Returns to the Wild

Red tail hawk release on Dayton Mountain in Tennessee.

Early morning December 19, 2015 on Dayton Mountain, Happinest released a young Red Tail Hawk (Eclipse) with the help of our friend, Tigris.

Tigris and her mother, Jenny, found Eclipse grounded by the side of the road. He was emaciated and had an infected wound on his leg. Eclipse spent almost 3 months in rehab before being released back to the wild.