Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehabilitation Newsletter -- August, 2003
Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of August. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Virginia organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife. 83 acres has been developed the Northern Neck of Virginia near the Rappahannock River to serve as our refuge. The officers and directors are Erika Yery, Pat Crusenberry, Diana O'Connor, Charlene DeVol and Bonnie Brown.
In August Erika received 1 raccoon. To Diana at the refuge came 4 tree swallows, 7 squirrels, 1 hummingbird, 4 bluebirds, 2 raccoons, 1 red-eyed vireo, 2 robins and 11 seagulls. The seagulls had apparently been poisoned and all have died. As they all came from the same area near Colonial Beach, and no other birds have been affected, this seems to be an intentional kill. An investigation by the State is under way to find out who is responsible for this cruel act.
As we move into the month of September our focus shifts from caring for new arrivals to preparing the animals in residence for release. For some species it is as easy as opening a cage and letting a bird fly away. For many other animals, careful consideration has to be given to the best possible location to introduce them to a new home. Each species has different needs and it is up to us to give them the best chance of being successful living in the wild. Ospreys and Heron must be transported to a body of water near the river, which is their natural habitat. For our fox a large meadow is ideal where mice and other rodents are available. Skunks need a good source of water and plenty of underbrush. Dead and rotten logs provide a steady diet of grubs. Groundhogs prefer the open fields with many varieties of grasses. Raccoons are slowly released by first placing them in a secured cage near their release area for approximately one week. This allows them to acclimate to the other wild animals around them. They are then allowed to leave their release cage and come and go as they please. This gives them the chance to fine tune their hunting skills, find proper places to nest in the surrounding trees and locate necessary food sources. During this time they are still provided food and water and have use of the shelter. Eventually they will determine their territory and move farther and farther away.
This month our website is featuring the Coyote. You can find this under True Stories. Once primarily found in the Western plains and deserts they have successfully spread across the entire United States. We occasionally get calls from the public saying they have a coyote in their backyard. This usually turns out to be a fox but, you can be sure, as the coyote continues to migrate east, there will be more encounters with the coyote. Coyotes are predators and in our urban environment cats and small dogs are prey-like animals. For this reason it is always wise to keep small pets indoors. Larger raptors can also find these pets to be an inviting meal.
Our board of directors met recently at the refuge to discuss upcoming plans for the fall and winter. As this is our "downtime" we are looking at completing some much needed projects. A new outdoor cage is soon to be erected to provide more housing. We are also working to expand and repair our existing cages. We have submitted a grant proposal to the Northern Neck Chapter of the National Audubon Society for funding to help with some of these costs. With 83 acres to maintain there is constant maintenance and repairs, not to mention the feeding and medical care of all the animals we rehabilitate. We thank all of you who continue to help our organization in countless ways. We are grateful for everything that is provided to help us care for these orphaned and injured animals. As the only wildlife refuge within a 50 mile range we are continually asked to take in greater numbers of a wider variety of species. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
Please visit our website at http://www.wildbunchrehab.org to find out more about our refuge and the work we do, as well as how to contact us and make donations. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. If you would like any friends or relatives added to our list of newsletter recipients email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The more people that know about us and can find ways to contribute to the well being of our native Virginia wildlife the better for all.