Newsletter Archive

Wild Bunch Newsletter - September 2004

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 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 2 sparrows, 3 ospreys, 5 chimney swifts, 4 blue jays, 1 seagull, 1 robin, 4 doves, 1 mockingbird, 3 wrens, 1 goldfinch, 1 egret, 1 catbird, 1 hummingbird, 2 raccoons, 2 groundhogs, 11 squirrels, 22 opossums and 1 box turtle.

Erika received 2 infant raccoons and 3 gray foxes. The gray foxes were found in a window well taken to the local animal shelter. They spent several days there until a rehabilitator could be found to take them. Unfortunately, by the time Erika received them they were severely dehydrated and one was near death. They were hydrated and, after they had recovered and were doing much better, were transferred to another local rehabber that already had a gray fox.

We still continue to get calls on young or mangy foxes coming out during the day. July and August are typically the months that most calls of this type come in. We are treating those foxes with sarcoptic mange with our usual protocol. If treated now, their fur should be grown back in before the cold weather arrives and the fox will be able to better survive the coming winter.

The story of the month on our website will be a repeat of last month’s True Story, back by popular demand. This interview of Diana O’Connor by Jan Ohrmundt, a reporter with The Westmoreland News, really details what Diana's life is like during the summer months at the Wild Bunch Wildlife Refuge. It is hard to imagine how Diana is able to expertly care for so many animals with very little help. We had hoped that this article would bring some badly needed volunteers to the refuge but so far, this has not happened.

The barn that was destroyed last fall during Hurricane Isabel, has finally been replaced with a large and, hopefully, sturdy barn. We were not aware that the barn did not come installed with a floor. After much searching, a contractor was found to install a cement floor with drains. We are very happy to complete this necessary costly and time consuming project.

We are starting to plan the release of some of our older raccoons at the refuge. This will most likely occur in the early part of October. Stan Polensky, a former rehabber in Northern Virginia and excellent carpenter, has built a wonderful raccoon sleeping box as well as a raccoon tree nesting box for the refuge. Tree boxes are needed in the trees near the release cages so the animals can move in if they wish before finding a permanent denning site in the woods surrounding the area. Stan moved to South Carolina several years ago. We are grateful that he continues to be so generous with his help. His large property contains many fruit and berry trees and we have been the recent recipient of some wonderful muscatel grapes still on the vines. Providing as many natural foods as possible is very important.

Erika was asked to conduct a several education programs for adults and children at the Arlington and Alexandria Animal Welfare Leagues. Two were for troubled juveniles that were in a program requiring them to perform community service at the shelters. The authorities thought it would be beneficial for these youngsters to be educated about wildlife.

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.

We hope all our Wild Bunch friends and family enjoy the rest of the summer.