Wild Bunch Newsletter -- July 2004
Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of June. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Virginia organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife. 83 acres have been developed in the Northern Neck of Virginia near the Rappahannock River to serve as our refuge. The officers and directors are Erika Yery, Pat Crusenberry, Diana Oâ€™Connor, Charlene DeVol and Bonnie Brown.
During the month of June, Diana at the refuge took in 8 rabbits, 4 wrens, 1 red-tailed hawk, 8 sparrows, 4 skunks, 1 baby meadowlark, 5 catbirds, 2 ospreys, 7 grackles, 5 mockingbirds, 1 quail, 1 wood thrush, 2 house wrens, 1 blue jay, 3 robins, 3 starlings, 2 song sparrows, 1 cardinal, 1 bat, 1 chimney swift, 1 bald eagle and 7 raccoons. Erika received six baby raccoons.
The 8 foxes that were rescued in March and housed at the refuge in a large enclosure in the woods have now been released. It is amazing how fast they grew and matured. The foxes ultimately let us know when they are ready to go. At some point, they are just too big and restless to remain in the confines of a pen and become more destructive in their efforts to release themselves by digging under the enclosure. As their hunting instincts have been there almost from day one, we have no fear that they wonâ€™t be able to take care of themselves. Diana still sees them, especially in the evening, and they seem to have a grand time frolicking around in the big meadow. It is full of wildflowers and just spectacular to see.
In addition to the new wildflower meadow, we have also had some wonderful Milo grass planted that is a delicacy for birds. On both sides of the intake center, corn is growing that is now close to 10 feet tall. Diana says she has never seen corn that tall. The corn, along with the many other grasses that are abundant, are providing the perfect habitat for the many species that are released and live at the refuge. We hope to have some new photos on the website in the near future so you can see all the progress that has been made including the beautiful wildflower meadow.
The long awaited barn has finally arrived and been constructed. As soon as the flooring is added, it will be ready to use. An aviary is still under construction and we anticipate being able to use it very shortly. Since it is the busiest time of year, the animals get most of the attention and these special projects often must be put on hold.
The True Story of the month is an account of a variety of interesting and humorous experiences Erika had over the years. It is entitled â€œMice that become Rats, Chickenhawks, and other Wild Talesâ€�. This indeed shows how important it is to educate the public and highlights the need to gain as much information as possible so the best approaches can be used to help each animal.
The Washington Post ran an article on baby raccoons in the Kids Post section on Monday, June 28. The article is geared for children and focuses on the very small babies Erika had at the time the reporter visited. The article includes what they look like as infants, how they grow to look like raccoons and how they are eventually released. It also stresses why raccoons do not make good pets.
Erika has just completed the first draft of a revised and updated raccoon rehabilitation manual. This project has taken the better part of a year as changes are always occurring in the care and rehabbing of this species. Ensuring that the most up to date information is shared requires much research and networking with others in the field. For example, vaccinations and the times they are given have changed and new vaccines have been added to control diseases that were not previously thought to pose a danger to raccoons. It is our goal that this manual for a raccoon rehabilitation seminar to be held this fall or winter.
As always, we are grateful for your generous donations and welcome any offers to help out at the refuge. The number of animals we are taking in this year has continued to grow. With that, so do our expenses and the volume of work that must be accomplished to maintain the refuge. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.
Your comments and suggestions about our website are always welcome. Please invite your friends and relatives to view our website. 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.
We hope you are all having a safe and happy summer!