Newsletter Archive

Wild Bunch Newsletter - June 2005

Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of May. 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, the refuge received 11 Rabbits, 5 Canadian Geese, 2 Blackbirds, 7 Starlings, 7 Sparrows, 3 Mallards, 1 Wren, 22 Opossums, 2 Geese, 2 Robins, 3 Grackles, 1 Black Vulture, 1 Slider Turtle, 2 Painted Turtles, 1 Dove, 18 Raccoons, 5 Red Foxes, 1 Pigeon, 1 Otter and 1 Osprey. Erika received 24 baby raccoons.

Almost daily, Erika has been receiving calls from the public about raccoons in the attic, chimney, garage or under a deck. In cases such as these, we advise the public that the animal they have seen and/or heard is almost always a mother with babies and that after the babies are 6 to 7 weeks old, she will move them to a more natural den. The raccoon mother moves into attics, chimneys, etc. because she thinks that the place will be a safe birthing den. Often, after we explain that, the caller is willing to give the mother a chance to stay until she is ready to move the babies. The mother will move the babies to their new den one by one at night. We sometimes hear back from callers who were rewarded for their tolerance and patience by being able to quietly watch the wild family as they head out for their new home. Many callers find the experience to be both interesting and amusing. And we, in turn, are delighted to receive these follow-up calls.

The Raccoon Care and Rehabilitation Class was held on Sunday May 22nd. There was a great turnout and we were amazed at the long distances some rehabilitators traveled to take the class. This class was intended for apprentice rehabilitators who are interested in the rehabilitation of raccoons as well as experienced raccoon rehabbers who want to improve their rehabbing skills. Due to a limit in the number we could accommodate, several of those interested could not join the class. A second class will be offered when time permits.

In early May, Stan Polinsky, a former Northern Virginia rehabilitator, who now lives on a former horse farm in rural South Carolina, visited. During his all too brief stay in Northern Virginia, Stan did some needed repair work on and added some enhancements to Erika's outdoor cages. Accompanied by Erika and Bonnie, Stan took advantage of a fine Spring day to pay a long awaited visit to the refuge. There, he was given a thorough tour of the refuge's intake center, the barns and other outbuildings, and the area in the woods around the release cages. He saw that the cage and nest boxes he had contributed to the refuge were being put to good use. During the visit, Stan, Bonnie, and Erika took a long walk along the stream where Erika had discovered the beaver lodges on an earlier visit. Stan, too, was amazed at the size and number of lodges. He shared our satisfaction that so many of these often maligned animals had found such a wonderful and peaceful place to live.

This month's True Story will feature a detailed report about beavers. Unfortunately, this fascinating animal is often unwanted and unappreciated by people who only know that beavers cut down trees and build dams. Many people are unaware of the critical role beavers play in improving the environment. This species creates rich habitats for other mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, ducks and other birds. Since beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, much of the flooded area becomes wetlands. Such wetlands are cradles of life with great biodiversity. Almost half of endangered and threatened species in North America rely upon wetlands.

Your comments and suggestions about our website or newsletters are always welcome. 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 much needed donations. As the number of animals we take in each year continues to grow, so do our expenses. The financial burden on Wild Bunch to provide all the supplies, food, medication and equipment that rehabilitation demands is very challenging. In addition to financial support, we also have a great need for volunteers to help out at the refuge. If you or anyone you know is able to spend even a weekend day helping with chores please call us at 804-313-2240. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.