Newsletter Archive

Wild Bunch Newsletter - October 2004

Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of September. 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 Great Blue Heron, 1 Green Heron, 4 ducks, 1 quail, 1 osprey, 1 finch, 1 black vulture, 1 seagull, 1 cedar waxwing, 2 Bald Eagles, 4 squirrels, 2 opossums, 4 raccoons, 1 rabbit, 3 flying squirrels and 2 turtles.

Erika received 3 infant raccoons and 3 juvenile raccoons and is still receiving many wildlife related calls. If your chimney is not capped or you have a roof that has areas that need repairing, don’t be surprised if a raccoon, squirrel or other wildlife moves in looking for a home to spend the winter. Now is time to correct these problems.

The True Story of the month on our website is "Foxes Red and Gray". This truly has been the year of the fox. In all the years of rehabbing, we have never received so many foxes to rehabilitate. And we have also received an inordinate number of calls regarding foxes. Many calls are just questions, such as when they see a fox or have one denning on their property. Of course, many calls are about foxes with sarcoptic mange. As we noted many times before, if our protocol is followed, and the foxes are treated, their fur should grow back before cold weather sets in and the fox will be better able to survive.

Bonnie, Charlene and Erika spent a wonderful day at the end of the month visiting the Wild Bunch Refuge. The new barn is completed and the refuge has never looked better now that all the various articles we had no storage for have been placed in the barn. We still have to have shelves installed and that should be completed this month. We are proud of our beautiful and spacious red barn. You will see pictures on our website. Dennis O’Connor worked many days and long hours rearranging and cleaning up the property. He also converted a former patio at the intake center into a large screened-in outdoor room. This is the perfect place to give the animals an opportunity to be in nature, but also protected. Thank you Dennis! You are an unbelievable help and are greatly appreciated.

Following our visit to the refuge, we learned that shortly after we left for home, the refuge had two very special arrivals. Two female Bald Eagles, whose talons had become entangled during an apparent territorial dispute, had fallen into a swamp while still entangled. Dennis was able to rescue the finally separated birds and bring them to the refuge. There, Diana checked the exhausted and battered eagles over, gave them initial treatment, and contacted the appropriate federal authorities. The eagles were taken to The Virginia Raptor Conservancy in Northern Virginia where they are being cared for until they are fully recuperated. They are doing well and will soon be returned to the Northern Neck for release back to the wild.

The first 8 raccoons of this season, now 6 months old, were taken to a release cage near one of the refuge’s clear and inviting streams. They stayed there a few days before being released on a beautiful fall day at the end of the month. The release area looked wonderful with some of the large weeds cleared away and the new tree nesting boxes installed. Stan Polensky, a former rehabber in Northern Virginia and excellent cage builder, who moved to South Carolina few years ago, has built two very functional and attractive tree nesting boxes. Dennis installed them on the roofs of two release cages. Although there are many old and dead trees and other great denning spots for all kind of wildlife, it is helpful to have additional places where they can stay during inclement weather, be safe from predators and be close to the feeding stations that are always filled with food.

Stan also has sent several care packages of native food from his vast property in South Carolina. He spent a lot of time gathering persimmons, wild grapes, apples, and other goodies for our wild friends. It was fun watching the raccoons eating and playing with these goodies. Check the website for pictures of them investigating and eating the wild grapes.

It is important to provide native food to wildlife that is being rehabilitated. Two of our supporters, The Aitkens, visited Erika recently and delivered a huge shopping bag full of the largest acorns we have ever seen. A young friend, 5 year old Jimmy Kettl, had spent 2½ hours gathering them for our wildlife. These acorns are so succulent and tasty that the raccoons prefer them to peanuts, pecans and walnuts. Thank you Jimmy for being such a good volunteer. The raccoons will enjoy them for a long time as the surplus can be frozen to use during the long winter months when acorns are not available. We are also going to share the acorns with some of the other animals at the refuge. Diana has a number of squirrels and other animals that also love acorns.

The Arlington Animal shelter has asked Erika conduct another program for troubled teenagers in October to introduce them to wildlife native to this area. What is especially encouraging is that the teenagers specifically asked for information on wildlife.

A raccoon manual, authored by Erika that provides extensive information on raccoons and how to rehabilitate them has been completed and is currently being printed. A winter training class is in the planning stages.

As always, we are grateful for your generous donations and would truly welcome any offers to help out at the refuge. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.

Enjoy the fall season!!