We received a call from the Winfield area on October 14. A wet, cold, and dirty owl had been found in a domestic duck pen, unable to fly. It was perfect timing as our Facility Manager, who lives in that area, would be driving to the Centre that morning.
Two of our non-releasable Great Grey Owls have found a new home at the Calgary Zoo. The first was admitted into our hospital late May from Sundre with the second arriving in July from Rocky Mountain House. Both had similar injuries, sustaining head trauma and wing fractures.
Neither owls could be repaired so were deemed permanent. As they both thrived in captivity, we started looking for a good placement for them. With one female and the other male, and after being housed together, they quickly became a bonded pair. We knew they must go to the same place, together. We were thrilled when the Calgary Zoo informed us that they had room in their owl display and were happy to give them a new home. They were transferred mid-October and are doing well.
A Great Grey Owl from the Crestomere area, after recovering from a concussion, was taken back to the spot it was found. Great Grey Owls mate for life so we feel if the bird recovers before the next breeding season it is important to return it home. The bird was taken back to the spot it was found on the road after calling the finders to take part in the release. Just as they were to release the little male, a large female swooped across the road in front of them, landing in the trees on the side of the road. The recovered bird was released into the air and it circled, then flew directly into the trees with the waiting female.
This summer we were especially successful in fostering the ducklings we received. We admitted more than 120 Mallard ducklings this summer, either found with dead females or wandering alone.
We also received calls about female mallards nesting in crazy, inappropriate places where the ducklings were unlikely to survive. One even nested up in a spruce tree at the downtown City Hall building in Red Deer. Our staff have become very good at catching both the female and her chicks! When we would receive the call about another duck, staff and volunteers were dispatched, catching every one.
But it didn’t end there. With a pond full of orphans, each of those rescued Mallards were relocated to a much safer wetland with just a few more ducklings than they started with.
Cow Patti Theatre is having a benefit in support of us on November 18! Get your ticket today!
Construction has started on a new playground, like no other, encouraging children to "be a wild animal" as they play within an owl's nest, bird box, fox den, and beaver lodge. Stay tuned for more information on the plans, details, and grand unveiling scheduled for next summer!
When someone hands you a newly hatched, tiny, pink Robin, two things go through your mind: success with these little guys depends on very intense care and it's so busy during the summer that staff's time is very valuable. However, the person who found the little orphan is trusting you to do your best.
Thanks to Lawrence Lee, a Red Deer City Councillor, a new fundraising idea has been born and the best part . . . we aren’t asking you for any money!
In the middle of all our construction, 2016 has brought us a heavier than ever before patient load. Whether it was the warm spring or just a coincidence, the patient numbers are expected to be up at year’s end by 30% bringing totals to over 2500.
The Centre began accepting patients in 1984 with a mere 14 wild critters. It would have been hard to believe back then that the Centre would be accepting 2500 injured, orphaned, and compromised wildlife, answering 10,000 phone calls and offering a wide range of services to the community every year.
Despite the large number of animals and birds we have seen, the staff have done very well at managing everyone. Fostering orphans out to wild families certainly eases the workload and reduces costs, food needs, and space. It isn’t the easiest building to keep clean but the international volunteers have done a terrific job helping to keep it the best possible.
Common injuries tend to change with the season. Spring brings a large number of orphans both real and mistaken. Well- meaning people pick up what they believe to be orphans in need and after some investigation we will get those babies back home. Many of those babies are indeed orphaned and those are the ones for which we seek out new families. Late summer brings large numbers of injured young hawks and owls. These juvenile raptors venture out into the world and encounter vehicles, barbed wire, and power lines. We can always tell when certain species are migrating when animals such as Sharp-shinned Hawks, bats, or warblers begin arriving daily.
We look forward to 2017 as each year brings new experiences, new species, and new learning.