Mother Nature changed our landscape plan over the past couple of years when she sent us an enormous snow load and a micro burst. All the tree and cage damage was devastating at first but we soon began to see the silver lining in it all. It will mean a lot of work but in the end it will be wonderful. We will have new and improved cages built on our south quarter and a wonderful wetland viewing area as part of the new public wing.
The first stage was to take down the older, damaged, and exposed cages, so we started small. The songbird/small mammal compounds were redesigned to become one cage with four interchangeable quadrants. Next year’s plan will be to take on the rebuilding of the hawk and eagle enclosures. This will be a much larger project but we will be seeking the assistance of our supporters to accomplish the job. Perhaps we will even try another crowdfunding project to secure some funds.
Fostering Researchers, Judy Boyd and Carol Kelly were so well received during their presentation on fostering orphaned wildlife in Princeton, NJ this past spring that they have been asked to present at the California Conference this fall. The method of fostering wild orphans into wild families instead of captive-raising is becoming well received and Judy and Carol have so much to offer with their experiences perfecting the method. Attending these conferences is never one-sided as we reap the benefits of all those other papers that others present and we love the networking!
Fostering and re-homing of orphaned or displaced wildlife saves costs, facilities, and workload but best of all allows the orphans to be raised by wild families. Wild parents offer them training in survival skills that cannot be taught in captivity by humans.
The number of patients has increased once again this year with over 2000 injured, orphaned and compromised wild critters anticipated to pass through our care before the year is over.
The increase in calls requesting help with wildlife challenges in the Red Deer area prompted us to hire a Community Wildlife Liaison, Gwenevere Marshall, two years ago.
The summer of 2015 at the Centre began with great spring weather, enthusiastic new staff and volunteers, and a secure operating budget. The challenge was that the Centre’s building was quickly becoming unusable.
This spring we are pleased to announce the addition of two new Hospital Coordinators. Brittany Ginter and Alana Pay bring their interest and education to share the position of Hospital Coordinator. They both have lots to experience and learn and are looking forward to the challenge.
The first of the international volunteers have arrived and are settling in. This year we have 14 volunteers from Germany and England along with 2 local practicum students and 2 work experience students. It's going to be a challenging year so it looks like we will have lots of eager help to get all the work done!
The gentle winter of 2014/15 was truly appreciated by the staff of MRWC. The Centre was running with just 1 part-time hospital staff and the building was on its last legs with the heating system crashing by late winter. The warm weather and lack of snow made it so much easier to function but also brought far less patients than normal. The Centre experienced less than half of the normal patient calls than a normal, more difficult winter. We really will be working hard to get the new hospital in place for next year because we likely won't be as lucky two years in a row.
We feel it is truly spring when we hear the sound of the Sandhill Cranes singing in our wetland. The loud, echoing, rolling croak made by the Cranes is distinctive and music to our ears. The birds arrive "home" mid-April every year and the male soon begins to display his prowess to the female in a graceful dance. They nest quite visibly on the wetland hatching 1-2 red, fuzzy chicks.
Sandhill Cranes are tall, grey cranes with red top-knots. They travel high in the sky in huge groups numbering in the thousands at times and return to the same nesting grounds year after year. These cranes prefer to live on prairie, grasslands and wetlands around North America and feed on grains and invertabrates.
This year's spring National Wildlife Rehabilitators' Association Conference was held in the college town of Princeton, New Jersey. Fostering Researcher, Judy Boyd and Executive Director, Carol Kelly were asked, once again, to present. This year's request was to speak on Medicine River's research fostering orphaned mammals into wild families. The two were a big hit, presenting to a packed double room at the Princeton Hilton.
The presentation discussed how to foster when working with coyote pups, fawns, moose calves, hare and beaver kits. The presentation was created by Education Coordinator, Erin Young, and even included Judy appearing in a doe mask and tail to demonstrate the incorrect response you may see in adult deer when playing the distress call of a fawn. Making a presentation informative, interesting and lots of fun will hopefully make it memorable for the attendees.
The California Rehabilitation Association has requested a fall presentation by the ladies this November. We are so proud that our fostering project has been received so well. It puts babies back into a wild family to be raised normally, reduces time and minimizes costs. It really is a win-win situation.
Spring is always a welcome time for staff at MRWC as some patients who have overwintered with us can now be sent "home". As the weather warms up and their wild counterparts return to Alberta or become active again, muskrats, gulls, ducks, songbirds, owls, hawks, and even salamanders are set free once again. This Great Horned Owl was one of two released on a wildlife reserve where no other Great Horned Owl nests were known to exist in an attempt to avoid a fight over territory.