Newsletter Archive

Wild Bunch Newsletter - November 2004

Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of October. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Virginia organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife. 83 acres in the Northern Neck of Virginia near the Rappahannock River serve as our wildlife refuge. The officers and directors are Erika Yery, Pat Crusenberry, Diana O’Connor, Charlene DeVol and Bonnie Brown.

In the past month, at the refuge, Diana took in 1 Red Tailed Hawk, 1 Screech Owl, 2 raccoons, 1 opossum, 1 flying squirrel and 1 turtle.

Erika received 5 infant raccoons and is still receiving many wildlife related calls. It is very unusual to receive babies this late in the year. Raccoons born after July must be kept until spring before they can be released. Normally, October is a quiet month as most animals have been released, but this year has been exceptionally busy with more animals and many more calls from the public. It is surprising how many calls Wild Bunch Rehabilitation receives due to our website Calls from British Columbia and California, and even some from European countries, asking for advice about wildlife and wildlife problems are common.

Due to the many calls about foxes we continue to get, the True Story of the month on the website will again be "Foxes Red and Gray". This indeed has been the Year of the Fox. In all the years of rehabbing, we have never received so many foxes to rehabilitate nor such an inordinate number of calls regarding foxes. Many calls are just questions about seeing a fox or having one denning on the caller’s property and, of course, there are many calls about foxes with sarcoptic mange. As we have noted many times before, if our treatment protocol is followed, the foxes’ fur should grow back before cold weather sets in and the fox will be better able to survive.

A second group of 8 raccoons that had been in the pre-release cage for a week have been released. Unfortunately, the weather was rather dreary, but it did not matter to the ring-tailed bandits. After we opened the cage’s release window, most came out almost immediately and started to investigate the area. This is a time when we become nervous when they start climbing really high trees with no branches to hold on to. But, instinct seems to kick in and they almost immediately adapt to the new environment and are able to climb down the tree without a problem. As usual, they soon found the stream and started playing and fishing for crawfish and other critters.

Mr. and Mrs. Aitken delivered another batch of very large and succulent acorns. We are grateful for all the natural foods that we receive from friends and the public. It is helpful to have an abundance of acorns as we can freeze them for use during the winter. The squirrels that Diana is currently rehabilitating also love the acorns.

Diana has gotten estimates on a long overdue driveway repair. The long driveway leading to the intake center needs to be repaired or replaced as well as the stretch of path going down to the release cages and feeding stations. This stretch of the path is rather steep and during heavy rains tends to erode. In bad winter weather, it is difficult to get to and from that area. Although it is very pricey, we decided to have the driveway to the center completely replaced. This will involve removal of the old asphalt, re-grading and new black top added to complete the whole driveway. Although this is more expensive than an alternative of gravel, it will be easier to maintain in the long run.

Erika conducted a very productive program at the Arlington Animal Shelter for troubled teenagers to introduce them to wildlife native to the area. This group specifically wanted to learn more about wildlife and it was refreshing to find some of the youngsters being truly interested in the environment and wildlife.

Kathy Doucette, our former Webmaster and a great friend of Wild Bunch, has completed the much anticipated Raccoon Manual. Kathy edited and produced the manual and it really is an excellent resource for learning about raccoons and how to rehabilitate them. Several winter classes are planned for the general public and area wildlife rehabbers.

Your comments and suggestions about our website are always welcome. To contact us or, if you would like any friends or relatives added to our list of newsletter recipients, email us at 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.

As always, we are grateful for your generous donations. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.