Have you ever seen one of your relatives, during the holiday season, eat a bit too much and end up on their backs for the next several hours? Well, it might not be Christmas, but this eagle had a fine time gorging on a nearby carcass. So much in fact, that he got stuck on this back! We have seen this with other eagles before, where they simply overfill their crops, making it impossible for them to get up or fly.
Social media has increased our supporter base and keeps our followers in touch with happenings around the Centre. It is very important to keep passwords confidential and changed regularly.
This winter was a long, hard one for all of us including our wild neighbours. MRWC received over 120 phone calls from people seeing deer and moose with damaged and fractured legs. We believe it was because the ditches were so full of snow that the deer running on the roads had no place to escape from the oncoming vehicles.
The bad news is that we are unable to bring the animals into captivity to repair them as they die of stress. But the good news is that the large majority of them will heal very well on their own. We only intervene if the animal is unable to get up, so if they are moving and eating, the protocol is to leave them alone and monitor them. Reports back from people are that they do amazingly well without our help.
We would like to send a sincere thank you to several of MRWC's valuable volunteers this month. Four of our long serving members of the Board of Directors stepped down from their duties on the Board but do continue as volunteers in other areas. A big THANK YOU goes out to Shannon Foster, Ursula Schoeder, Aly Seymour and Connie Farion for their valuable time.
We love the years that we get a casino! They only come every 18 months or so, but when they happen we get a big injection of funds into our operating budget. This important fundraiser takes place on February 22/23 at the Cowboys Casino in Calgary, and will likely make us close to $70,000.
MRWC currently has 150 volunteers who help in areas such as on the Board of Directors, driving patients and public education. This month we have chosen to feature the amazing Lil Dupperon. We have featured the Pygmy Owl as well this month, who spent several days at the First Aid Station in Drayton Valley. Lil runs that station.
Lil began as a driver several years ago but moved into learning first aid due to the distance from us. If she could get some initial treatment into the patients before and during the trip to the Centre it gave them a much better chance of survival.
Her first real test came when a severe storm grounded her for several days shortly after receiving a Great Grey Owl. It was not safe to have Lil on the road so she cared for the bird with daily calls to the Centre until the roads improved.
Over the past couple of years, Lil has cared for numerous patients and is often called directly from residents in her area or the local Fish and Wildlife office as they have come to trust her. She keeps excellent records, works closely with staff at MRWC and uses her years of teaching experience to help educate the finders who bring patients to her. Her patient, determined nature has helped her work through some difficult situations and we can always be assured that she is a great ambassador for MRWC. Thank you Lil! You are a treasure.
MRWC is grateful to Telus for their recent grant of $5,000.
Thanks to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MRWC has new lead testing equipment. This testing equipment will allow for more timely identification of birds with higher than normal lead in their system. The Centre will also be able to share these cases with researchers across Canada who are involved with research in lead toxicity issues in our wildlife.
This tiny Pygmy Owl is the smallest species of owls in Alberta. Smaller than a pop can, they weigh just 62-73g! This little guy arrived in early January through our first aid station in Drayton Valley. It was underweight at only 47g and was suffering from a fractured humerus. The weather was extremely bad, making travel difficult and our staffing was limited, so the decision was made to have it begin its recovery in the capable hands of our first aid station.
A few days of one-on-one special care and our little owl had gained weight and was ready to travel. Our new little 60g patient is eating a mouse per day, exercising in its enclosure and will hopefully be released in spring.