Newsletter Archive

Wild Bunch Newsletter- May 2005

Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of April. 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 4 Grey Foxes, 3 baby Raccoons, 1 Osprey, 1 Great Horned Owl, 9 Squirrels, 1 Duck, 1 Mallard, 1 Red Necked loon, 1 Common Loon, 7 Opossums, 3 Rabbits and 1 Bald Eagle. Erika received 7 baby Raccoons.

In mid April, Erika, Bonnie and Charlene visited the refuge to prepare the over wintered raccoons for release. It is always rejuvenating to visit the refuge but it was a special treat to view it on a sunny spring day with the pink flowered crab apple trees framing the intake center and the wild dogwoods blooming throughout the woods.

While at the refuge, we had a chance to visit with Diana O’Connor and catch up on some of the animals that have already come to the refuge for care this spring. Diana shared the story of a Common Loon that had been found on the side of a road, tangled in brush. She examined the bird and found no life threatening illnesses or injuries. After a brief stay to rest and regain strength, the loon was taken to a suitable waterway and released. A juvenile great horned owl is in residence now and will most likely stay through the summer and into the fall to allow it to fully develop the skills it will need to survive in the wild. It is extremely important to nurture the hunting skills in these birds of prey before release.

During our visit we also had the opportunity to take a quick driving tour of some of the nearby wildlife habitat areas near the Rappahannock River. Our visit included Cat Point Creek, a marsh area that is remarkable for its more than 80 bald eagle nests. Like much of Virginia’s Northern Neck, Cat Point Creek is a perfect environment for so many of the native wildlife species.

A few days later, we visited the refuge again, this time to release the seven raccoons. Each release is different and this one was especially low key with several of the raccoons choosing to remain in the release cage when their window to freedom was first opened. The release cage will be checked daily as the raccoons make the transition to life in the wild. During this visit, Erika was able to spend some time investigating the area around the release cages. While venturing into the woods along one of the creeks across the bridge from the release cages, she noticed some cut down trees that looked like beaver work. While walking along the creek, she noticed the first of many beaver lodges. Wow! Something we always wanted. Here we have the perfect beaver habitat. The path along the creek has become beautiful wetland already abundant with vegetation and frogs and other wetland critters. Our excitement had no bounds. Happily, it is a safe place for these wonderful and useful animals, with no worries about people complaining of cut down trees, flooding roads or other problems that many people do not tolerate from beavers. We, at Wild Bunch are elated to have these interesting animals on our property. Due to this new development, the True Story on our website for June will feature a detailed story about beavers.

The True Story on our website this month is: Meet the Gardener's Best Friend- Master of Pest Control: The Skunk. It describes the four types of skunks that inhabit the United States and features the most common type of skunk in Virginia, the Striped Skunk. Many calls requesting advice are still received on a daily basis. These range from a skunk whose head was caught in a trap to calls about bunnies and birds hurt by cats, bats injured with a lawnmower, fox cubs playing in people's yards, and yes, more mangy fox calls. In the case of the skunk, the trap was not covered as it should have been. Animals often become especially frantic as they try to escape from an uncovered trap.

The Raccoon Care and Rehabilitation Class is finally taking place. It will be held Sunday, May 22nd for apprentice rehabilitators who are interested in the rehabilitation of raccoons as well as experienced raccoon rehabbers who want to improve their rehabbing skills. This class is absolutely necessary as each year, the number of animals in need of care increases while several rehabbers again make the decision to no longer take animals. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources to find, train, and help equip new rehabbers. It is particularly hard to do this while also dealing with spring/summer baby season when each day brings more orphans in need of care. We welcome the new apprentice rehabbers and look forward to sharing the challenges and satisfaction of raccoon rehabilitation with them and the experienced rehabbers.

Animal Planet is planning to tape a program in the Alexandria facility as well as the Wild Bunch Wildlife refuge some time in June. We do not know all the details but the program plans to focus on creating habitats for our wild neighbors.

We welcome your comments and suggestions are always welcome. 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 many generous donations and would truly welcome any offers to help out at the refuge. For example, in April, Katie Ryan, one of our new volunteers, helped out enormously at the refuge. She cheerfully sorted and organized supplies, cleaned, helped feed the orphans, and was in general a whirlwind of helpful activity. The number of animals we take in each year continues to grow and so our expenses. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.

We wish all our Wild Bunch friends and family a happy spring.