This summer we had a wonderful opportunity to follow along on someone else’s journey of helping wild animals.
The initial interaction came in when a woman called who had accidentally watered some baby bunnies who had taken residence under her flower bushes.
Being quite concerned and feeling like she needed to act, she contacted our hotline. Within a short time she was able to get the nest resecured and Mom bunny returned. She must have been happy with the renovations because she and her little family kept the temporary residence.
The caller was able to observe them regularly without disturbing the nest literally under her window.
Over the course of the summer we provided information multiple times regarding the situation including feline deterrent ideas when local cats caught wise to the adorable bundles of bunny joy.
Finally we received a call that the whole group had finished summering in the safety of the flowers and moved on.
We were really happy to have such a great wild animal and human encounter. We can live in harmony with wild animals. It just takes compassion and a little effort.
This month we had an opportunity to do a similar call to the one that started us on our non profit journey.
The caller had witnessed quail chicks falling into a storm drain through the grate on Friendly Street in Eugene. She was unable to lift the grate to rescue the distressed birds herself and called our hotline.
We arrived on scene to assess the situation and discovered four baby quail chicks were far below street level, in the drain. Once we removed the cover, we worked as a team to remove the four chicks. The caller was feeling unsure, that she thought there had been five that fell. The pipe at the bottom travels vertically and slightly down at the start and we couldn’t leave without somehow checking.
With a little creativity we were able to look down and see the stranded chick had slid down about three feet into the runoff pipe. Using a make-shift scoop with a thick hoop wire, we gently pulled it within reach.
Unfortunately by the time we arrived the mom had disappeared. We let the babies call for a time but they were cold and stressed so we eventually bundled them up for temporary care until we found a suitable home. Two days later we were able to coordinate getting them to a farm with many other quail so they can be raised as naturally as possible without parents.
These little quail could never have navigated this situation of urban infrastructure without the heroic work of humans, namely our caller, who was not only insistent on remembering 5 chicks, but also surprised us by entering the drain of her own volition without hesitation to aid the rescue.
We really appreciate her reaching out to us and we encourage everyone to notice wildlife around you and be aware of the dangers they face, particularly in our beautifully forested county and cities.
It was a very quiet winter for the hotline. That all ended in June, with a record breaking heat dome and a warm spring combining to create many wildlife emergencies.
The warm, dry spring led to a burgeoning population of all types of wildlife causing our only physical, medical resource to be completely overwhelmed and stop taking patients. This complicated many calls as we could no longer offer a location for even the most urgent of cases. Then the heatwave hit.
Wild Animal Rescue of Lane County, like many other wildlife agencies, was overwhelmed by the volume of calls due to birds kicking nestlings out early, fawns separated from parents and ground mammals suffering from the heat. Our phones took more calls in June than the last four years combined.
Many people seemed surprised that wild animals may be unable to mitigate extreme conditions themselves. The conditions brought on by climate change are even more difficult for animals to navigate as they generally lack shelter and fresh water.
While planting bushes, trees and installing natural water features are amazing to aid them, not everyone can do these things. Please also consider leaving out a box to create a shade location and small, shallow containers of water, if it’s a possibility. Also, don’t be surprised if you see animals in distress, acting strangely, or chased out of their normal sleeping schedule and safety due to heatstroke or hyperthermia.
As always, we are here 24 hours a day to help anyway we can. Local wildlife agencies need volunteers too, so if you’ve got time, consider reaching out.
Cruelty can come in so many forms. So often our heavy handed attempts to help are too broad. This month we had a call about another set of abandoned Pekin ducks. These domestic ducks have been released at a nearby pond, maybe thinking that this was a good habitat for them.
Unfortunately this is mistaken. While many ducks and other water fowl find this to be a wonderful area to thrive, Pekin ducks are domestic and do not dive, meaning any deeper source of food is unattainable for them. In addition they have been bred for human consumption and not survival so many winter foraging and survival skills are not available to them.
Through our network we were able to locate a partner non-profit that could offer them a better life. We sent volunteers hopeful for a wonderful marriage of wildlife and habitat.
These ducks had clearly been domesticated, coming happily to our food source, yet they were cautious and wary of us. With rice and watermelon we were able to get them close, the female being more friendly and we were able to grab her. Unfortunately this quite concerned the male, spooking him and he was not able to be captured. He swam to the center of the pond and could not be convinced to return to shore.
With our limited resources and noting the ducks to be healthy, capable of flight and not suffering any ill affects as yet to the incompatible environment, we chose to release the female who was quite distressed to be separated from her partner.
Though a new location may offer better food and safety, the absence of an obviously attached mate is much more traumatic in our eyes.
We continue to monitor their health and situation. Should they begin to deteriorate, we will attempt to intervene and get them somewhere much more suitable, but for now we find them better off facing these challenges together along with the heron and mallards that favor the area.
We thank the original person who contacted us for use of the above photo.
Wild Animal Rescue of Lane county received a call late in May regarding the rehoming of some domestic Pekin ducks. Not our usual call for service as we usually only handle wild animal calls but any animals in need are our soft spot, so we gathered the details to see what help we could offer.
The caller said she and her son had discovered the ducklings in the trash on a walk one day. She immediately adopted the adorable ducklings into her home, unaware how big they would become. Once these sweet Pekin ducks began to reach full size, she realized she didn’t have the space to properly keep them happy and healthy. That’s when she found us online and reached out to see if we could help.
We were able to use our resources to reach out to the local community and find someone with plenty of space to rehome the ducks with. Our volunteers drove and picked up the ducks and transported them to their new digs, a couple of farm acres with some new chicken friends.
We are so happy to have a great ending for everyone involved and to be able to share our stories with you.
In mid June we received a message from a very distressed individual who heard from a friend about an injured Canadian goose at the local golf course. Scant details were available, though we did have a photo showing a long arrow shaft through the front of it’s breast and they told us others had tried to help but it could fly making it quite elusive.
Determined to investigate, volunteers went to the scene. On the initial visit we could not locate the goose anywhere, though we did find part of the flock, it wasn’t amongst them. A regular golfer at the course stated it had actually been injured for months but they had not seen the injured animal in a while. Additionally, in the back portion of the course there were definite signs of carnage. We were disheartened but understand that in nature sometimes the weak are taken by predators and the course is in a very rural area.
We left our information with the staff and a little over a week later, it had been sighted again. Our team once again returned to the scene to make an assessment and see if we could help.
Initially we were very concerned. It’s swimming was tilted and in the initial encounters with us, it only flew short bursts, just far enough to evade us. It was attempting to constantly worry the arrow with it’s bill, pulling to dislodge the arrow alone, but the arrow was clearly not moving at all. We hoped to at least cut the ends of the arrow off in order to enable a freer range of motion and greater flight capabilities. However, the flock was always close by and had set up quite a system to protect their injured friend. We never got closer than 25 feet, and in our attempts to do so, it and the flock showed themselves quite capable, calling out to when we neared and blocking our path at points, using the water to their definite benefit. Despite the situation, he seemed to be fairing well and in the end they all took off and had a sustained flight of at least five minutes until they were out of sight, removing our last concern about it’s ability to survive.
While it’s clear some humans were not considerate of this animal, it was obvious it’s flock could and would protect and help it continue to survive without our help.
When leaving another golfer informed us he has been surviving more than a year in that condition.
Animals have the ability to survive in some very rough situations and it amazes me.
We take all types of calls here at Wild Animal Rescue of Lane County. Usually just giving information over the phone, but sometimes we get to spring into action.
In early July this year we received a call from an elderly woman who said she had a snake enmeshed in her fence on her rural farm. She attempted to free it by herself but it “rattled” it’s tail so she wasn’t feeling safe to continue alone.
Our volunteers arrived on the scene and the first thing she asked was if we were prepared to remove it from the property. We agreed that we could relocate it to a different wild area and proceeded to the fence where it was trapped. There we found a gopher snake, which can make a fake rattle sound to warn others away. It was caught in multiple places with several swollen and raw areas from attempting to free itself from a nylon fence that was wrapped around it’s mid torso. The nylon squares had then gotten caught on the regular wire fencing of her farm. It seems it had been caught in the mesh awhile, but just recently the wire fence.
Using tiny scissors and extremely delicate surgery our volunteer was able to cut the mesh fencing off. After several strategic cuts it was free. The snake was grateful, slithering all around the rescuers’ arms. The woman realized it wasn’t dangerous to her and then asked if we would actually release it in her field after she got to hold it. It did have a few superficial injuries but we felt confident releasing it back into the wild field behind her small farm.
This is one of our favorite success stories so far because we were able to quickly rescue the snake from the reckless human infrastructure and change a human mind about the animal.