Printed Quarterly – Spring • Summer • Fall • Winter 2012 • Volume 21, No. 2
We started this rainy season with lots of rain! The most important lesson? It is not always a
hurricane that you need to watch for!!! Flash flooding hit NW Florida hard after the first week
of June testing the Wildlife Sanctuary of NW FL and their ability to cope with a disaster that
came in with no warning whatsoever!!! Luckily their training, planning and quick thinking helped
to save the animals and the most valuable stashes of food! Unfortunately while they successfully
rescued all of the animals some later did succumb to stress. I am sure there will be many lessons learned to
share at the conference in September!
Speaking of the conference the scholarship applications have been up at www.fwra.org for a while now. Dead-
line to apply is June 23rd so get them in and make sure they are complete! Incomplete applications cannot be
accepted.The conference will be in beautiful Haines City, FL once again this year September 27-29th.
The CDC wants to conduct a study that would involve a confidential serosurvey of wildlife rehabilitators for
subclinical exposure to certain wildlife diseases especially Baylis Ascaris, which is becoming more prevalent in
Florida as was reported last FWRA conference by Dr.s Yabsley and Cunningham. They have identified more and
more counties from the panhandle down to Broward and Dade counties that now have Baylis! Michael Yabsley
of SCWDS, who has done several presentations at FWRA, has recommended our group for the pilot study!! So
this year SCWDS, the CDC and a phlebotomist will be set up at the conference.They will explain the study and
why and how to interpret the results.There will be a simple survey about what kind of animals you rehab and
a consent form to fill out, all samples will remain anonyms.The samples will be analyzed for exposure to Baylis
but they also hope to screen for other diseases such as West Nile and Toxoplasmosis among others. Once they
get our group’s results they are hoping to reach a larger sample pool and will be back at FWRA’s conference in
2013 to discuss the results. Read more information in this newsletter concerning this.
As always this years conference will be another great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones,
acquire new skills and share your own with the rehab community and have some, much needed break from it
all with lots of fun…fun…fun. FWRA continues to be the best value with a low low low all inclusive price that
cannot be beat! The lecturers are always fantastic and all of the lectures are pertinent to Florida rehabilita-
tors!! Keep checking the website at www.fwra.org for the conference schedule as lecturers are confirmed and
for registration as the conference gets closer. If you have not started already, start saving now and join us in
September!! The auction always has so many great deals and gift opportunities with the holidays only a short
few months after we meet! So stay dry and get some sleep if the babies let you and I will hope to see you in
With warmest regards and great respect for all if your hard work,
Beth Hirschfeld DVM, CVA,VMO
FLORIDA Bits and Blurbs .. Summer 2012
WILDLIFE Website Update
REHABILITATORS More life is being brought to the new website with each quarter.
ASSOCIATION Be sure to check in from time to time to see what’s new.
The Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Upcoming Events
Association (FWRA) is a non-profit
organization dedicated to the unification,
education and dissemination of informa-
tion to all wildlife rehabilitators in Florida.
To provide an organizational structure within
which various individuals and organizations in-
volved in the rehabilitation of injured, orphaned
and displaced wildlife may exchange informa-
To provide training and assistance to individuals
and organizations involved in the rehabilitation FWRA – September 27-29, 2012 FFA Florida Leadership
of injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife. Training Center, Haines City, FL
As Beth said ….This is absolutely the best value out there for an
To increase public awareness through educa- excellent wildlife symposium! So please save the date!!
tional means of and support for the activities of
19th Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society
To engage in such other activities as are Portland, Oregon - October 13-17, 2012
permitted by Florida Law.
Would You Like to Join the Team?
FWRA Board of Directors
Beth Hirschfeld, DVM, President JOIN the FWRA Advisory Board! Your FWRA Board is always look-
Deb Anderson, DVM,Vice President ing for new faces and ideas to help make us a stronger organiza-
Margaret “Noni” Beck,Vice Pres./Symposium tion. As an advisory Board Member you work with our team and
Sue Small, Treasurer our 20 different committees, brainstorming, planning and execut-
Dorothy Kauffman, Secretary ing activities that help our members become even better wildlife
Members at Large
Leslie Johnson Dianna Flynt So if you have time and talent to share with the organization,
Gail Straight Leslie Straub please email our Nomination Committee at email@example.com for
Advisory Board more information. Dianna Flynt
Chris Wise Robin News
Dan Martinelli Jenkins, DVM
Carol McCorkle Michelle Whitfield News from the veterinary world that may impact your patients is
Vered Nograd Phyllis Benton the major food recall from the diamond food plant. Contamination
Reinier Munguia of salmonella was found in various pet food products. If there is
any doubt you should call the individual supplier. See the article in
Beth Hirschfeld, DVM - Chairperson this newsletter for further information.
Nicole Nemeth, DVM
Jack Landess, DVM Another food health issue that continues to surface is the feeding
Danielle Stanek, DVM Scott Citino, DVM of chicken jerky treats.These treats have been linked to subclini-
Mark Cunningham, DVM Mike Ruggieri cal kidney disease, originally thought to be a problem only with
Robert Hess, DVM Carmen Simonton treats coming from China. Please do not feed these treats to your
Hector Cruz-Lopez, Ph.D animals.
Newsletter If you or your business were affected by the Deepwater Horizon
Leslie Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org Oil Spill, you may be able to get payments and other benefits from
FWRA WEBSITE: www.fwra.org
two separate legal settlements, medical and economic.You may be
Webmaster: Reinier Munguia eligible to participate in one or both settlements.You can check for
EMAIL: email@example.com more information at this website: http://www.deepwaterhorizon-
Wildlife Rehabilitation Employment and skills. Able to handle multiple responsibilities and to work
well with others. Strong organizational skills. High motiva-
Intern Opportunities are still available! tion. Educational vision. College degree desirable.
Amenities , On site housing available.
Wildlife Veterinarian Payment Based on experience.
Other Information: Please send resume to
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is seeking a wildlife Contact Teresa Stevenson
Veterinarian to plan, direct, participate in daily health care Address 5580 Salem Road, Quincy, FL
program of wildlife clinic and work closely with Wildlife Phone 850-627-4151
Clinic Director to integrate veterinary protocols and pro- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
cedures into established protocols and guidelines including Website www.stfranciswildlife.org
the mission of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. No
phone calls, please. Email application, cover letter and sup-
porting documents to email@example.com. Wildlife News: Barn Owl Found
See full job description here.
Microsoft Word application here. In a bit more exciting wildlife
PDF application here. news a Barn Owl thought
to be extinct in Michigan
Animis Foundation is looking for a small/me- was found Coopersville, MI
dium animal caretaker. The position requires knowl- on May 21st!! A sick male
edge of basic animal husbandry & care, working with was found on the floor of a
domestic cats, dogs, fowl, psittacines, NR deer and some
wildlife. Knowledge of neonatal & infant wild mammal locals barn and remains in
care is a plus but we will be able to train (baby season). rehab at the moment.The
Animis Foundation is offering a base salary & housing. last sighting of the Michi-
Please email for more information. gan Barn Owl was in 2000,
Michelle Whitfield so many thought the bird
Animis Foundation extinct.There had been only
A Non-Profit Sanctuary Dedicated to the Rescue, Rehabili- four confirmed sightings of
tation & Care of Wildlife & Domestic Animals individuals since the last breeding pair were spotted in
Ocala, FL 1983.They are hopeful that the sick male, originally tout
to have WNV will be released.The owl is in rehab at Blan-
St. Francis Wildlife Assoc. is looking for a per- ford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, MI.
manent, full time Wildlife Rehabilitator
About us: St. Francis Wildlife is an established, non-profit
organization, founded in 1978, that enjoys strong commu-
nity support. Each year, we rescue and care for more than
Newsletter – Ed Desk
Summer 2012 - Leslie Johnson, Editor
3,000 animals in north Florida.We receive a wide variety
of birds, mammals and reptiles. Our rehabilitation facility is I can’t believe we are half way through 2012 already
located on 35 secluded acres of forest, fields and ponds in and I know that I, for one, am sure wondering where
the Tallahassee area.
the first half went! As we continue to immerse our-
Position Title selves deeper in the heat (literally) of baby season,
and every other project we have going on, we will
Wildlife rehabilitator (Full time, permanent position). likely not have the total focus to “think ahead” to
Responsibilities what’s coming up in months ahead. But never fear.
• Animal rehabilitation, which includes rescue, animal intake, Our different Committee Chairmen will bring some
diagnosis, medical treatment, care, transport to veterinarian reminders to you in this issue.
clinics, and disposition.
• Supervise the daily care of the animals (husbandry, han- As for me, just this once I’m going to take a little
dling, feeding, cleaning, etc). editorial privilege and share a touching story about a
• Training and overseeing paid staff members, interns and/ dear friend of FWRA who served us for many, many
• Supervise the maintenance of outdoor and indoor facilities. years as our Webmaster and friend. Sadly and tragi-
• Maintain the supplies of food, supplies and medications. cally, Rusty’s life ended in April of this year. He was all
• Supervise administrative/office work. about this cause of ours and gave his time, knowledge
and heart to help FWRA grow. I can say this because
Qualifications I knew him, worked with him and wanted to strangle
him at times (most times), but Rusty Dickson was an
At least three years experience working full time in a odd personality with a heart of pure gold. So, indulge
wildlife rehabilitation center. State and federal permits. me if you will, and let David Sadkin’s tribute speak to
Knowledgeable about small mammals, birds and reptiles the character of this his veteran who served his coun-
of the area and their natural history. Ability to work ef- try and FWRA so well.
fectively and independently. Management/administrative
Remembering Rusty Dickson
Volunteer Director, Education Services
Around 2001, a year after we moved to the area, my wife and I took in an arts and crafts show in downtown
Sarasota. Among the booths was one with a sign saying “Wildlife.” Perched in the back were an assortment of
birds of prey, and, in the front, photos of rescued wildlife and a donation box.
Since I began life wanting to be a vet, (though, having met and been defeated by physics and organic chemistry
I had osmosed into a now retired English professor) I was drawn like a magnet to the booth. I began asking all
the questions of its “curator” that for years since, people have asked me when manning the booth, such as “Is
that an eagle?” “No, that’s a red tail hawk.” He spent a long time patiently talking with me about Wildlife, Inc.
and what they did. The person manning the booth was Rusty. (He was also our valiant “roady” for years, setting
up, and taking down the booth, and lugging everything , including the monumentally heavy tables we used in
those days, in his dilapidated, but generally faithful van .)
I asked if they needed volunteers (not realizing at the time that for every hundred people who inquire, one
might show up). I was directed to call Ed and Gail Straight about needs. Long story short, I began to volunteer
at the Center twice a week; and, over time, graduated to helping man the booth every weekend (both days!)
from October through April.
Rusty was often my booth mate; and whether the days went quickly, with lots of passers-by, or slowly, they
were filled with Rusty’s knowledge, lore, stories, and philosophizing. A great deal of what I know about wildlife,
and the philosophy I have about preserving it came as a gift from Rusty. He was mentor, teacher, confidant, and
friend. He tolerated humans passably well, but his real colleagues were the damaged but functional animals who
were teaching us about respect for nature.
Jacaranda, the red tail, so named because she had been hit by a car on Jacaranda Blvd. in Venice, could only fly
chest-high. One day, when the bird was outside on tether, Rusty interposed himself between her and a dog who
was intent on a poultry dinner. From then, Jacaranda accorded him affection and trust she offered no other
person. She was “Rusty’s bird.”
Eventually I had so many commitments beyond the booth, that I began to limit those activities, as I took over
the education programs for Wildlife, Inc, and began writing articles for both the on-line website (which Rusty
created and maintained) and the FWRA Newsletter (which was also Rusty’s product). Rusty, too, first selflessly
caring for his mother in her long final decline, and then because of his own health problems, withdrew more
and more from wildlife commitments. But Rusty stayed in my life.
He had heroically served in Vietnam and came back with both the physical and psychological wounds that are
still all too familiar. Wildlife work had given him focus and purpose. Now, he turned, as he had in his youth, to
music; and was teaching himself the keyboard. Since I am a jazz pianist, we began to have long discussions about
the technical aspects of music. He came to my house with some of the stuff he was learning to play, and we
spent long wonderful hours during which I taught him some of the tricks of the trade.
On the Sunday of the last weekend of this year’s booth season, Rusty came to visit. (Alas, I worked on Saturday,
and missed him.) Jacaranda, still recognized him and was putty in his hands. Rusty was “coming home” for the
last time; for, tragically, he died that week.
All of us whose lives he touched will miss him dearly. Jacaranda, too.
Symposium Update macology manual offered by NWRA. His knowledge spans
Are You Ready? a wide array of valuable topics for wildlife rehabilitators
and we look forward to having him with us in September.
In early July registration will be available on the web site,
It’s hard to believe that the symposium is just a few short www.fwra.org and you can pay with PayPal to make it even
months away we will once again be meeting at the Florida easier when you register on line. As always, you can just
FFA Leadership Training Center in Haines City! As a re- mail a check if you prefer.
minder, those dates are September 27-29, 2012. So SAVE You don’t want to miss our great line up of speakers!
THOSE DATES! There will be lots of information you can use to help your
patients and make your life easier! There will also be the
We’re really excited because everything is falling into usual great silent auction and raffle.
place. As always, we’ll have some basic skills classes, some We hope to see all of you there!
species specific classes, a heads-up with what’s going on
around the state and some hands-on labs.We’re looking Noni Beck, VP Symposiums
forward to bringing back the Saturday afternoon make
and takes, so if you have ideas to share, please let us know
Symposium 2012 looks forward to welcoming Dave 2012 FWRA Symposium Scholarships!
McRuer from the Wildlife Center of Virginia as one of our
featured speakers. Dr. McRuer is from East Gore, Nova The application for a scholarship to the 2012 FWRA
Scotia, Canada and has a long–time interest in popula- symposium is still available for a limited time on the web
tion biology/ecology, natural history and wildlife medicine. site www.fwra.org for current members who would like to
He obtained a BS in Biology at Mount Allison University in apply.The link is at the bottom left of the home page.Your
Sackville, New Brunswick (1999), and then a MS in Ecol- membership dues need to be up-to-date for consideration,
ogy and Evolutionary Biology from Carleton University in and if you are not a licensed rehabilitator we need a let-
Ottawa, Ontario (2001). From 2001–2005, Dave attended ter from the licensed rehabilitator that you work with as
the Atlantic Veterinary College and acquired his veterinary confirmation.
degree. After graduating, he conducted an internship in
Zoological Medicine, Exotics, and Wildlife from the Western Letters may be sent to the FWRA post office box, or to my
College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2005–2006). Dave took a residency training position with Apply now, baby season has started, and it won’t be long
the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) in July 2006 where until we all have so many mouths to feed that there is no
he is specialized in Preventative Medicine/Veterinary time for paperwork!
Public Health. In August 2007, Dave became the Direc-
tor of Veterinary Services at WCV. He is a diplomat of the We have 3 full and up to 3 partial scholarships available
American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and again this year. Application deadline is June 23rd, 2012.
his research interests include zoonotic disease, infectious Even if you aren’t awarded a scholarship, you’ve got time
diseases of wildlife, and avian medicine and surgery. to save up and attend. FWRA’s symposium is a great
Dr. McRuer is a co-developer of WILD-ONe, which is the value. Classes, workshops, food and accommodations are
wildlife record keeping system developed at the Wildlife all included. No extra fees at all!
Center of Virginia. He also collaborated on the new Phar-
Thank you to our Sponsoring Rehabilitation Organizations
Animis Foundation Florida Bat Conservatory Sawgrass Nature Center
email@example.com www.floridabats.org www.sawgrassnaturecenter.org
Avian Recondition Center Florida Wild Mammal Association Florida Keys Wild Bird Center
www.adoptabird.org www.wakullawildlifel.org firstname.lastname@example.org
Audubon Center for Birds of Prey SPCA Wildlife Care Center Miami Museum of Science
www.audubonofflorida.org www.wildlifecarecenter.org www.miamisci.org
Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Peace River Wildlife
www.floridawildlifehospital.org of Central FL www.peaceriverwildlifecenter.org
From the Book Shelf: Book Review and examples of techniques for repair; bacterial and viral
diseases; parasites; x-rays of sick or injured animals; condi-
Health Care & Rehabilitation of Turtles and Tor- tions requiring surgery; and a wide variety of other topics.
toises by Amanda Ebenhack Ebenback’s years of experience caring for turtles and tor-
Reviewed by Hyta Mederer, Ph.D. toises enable her to discuss in depth the issues which face
anyone who rehabs chelonians. Her information is current
Now that we know this book is and thorough, pointing out, for example, that there is no
still available, it is safe to properly longer any need to use acrylic or fiberglass to patch shell
review it for our readers. I like fractures, as these can lead to serious infections, and that
this book so much that I find it there are other, more effective, techniques for shell repair.
difficult to be satisfied with my
review. Health Care & Rehabili- For purchase and special member pricing contact
tation of Turtles and Tortoises PatR620@aol.com
by Amanda Ebenhack, 2012, is
clearly one of the most com-
prehensive treatises of the
Ban on Constrictor of Four
field of turtle and tortoise
care. Ebenhack specializes The US Fish & Wildlife Service announced the
in Florida gopher tortoises, finalized rule banning the importation and inter-
but this book covers species state transportation of four nonnative constrictor
from all over the world. Clear, de- snakes that threaten the Everglades and other
tailed photographs depict many of these spe- sensitive ecosystems across the US. The rule goes
cies, both as juveniles and as adults; techniques for exam- into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal
ining all aspects of the patient; methods of administering Register. Species under the ban are the Burmese
treatments; deformities resulting from toxins and improper python, the yellow anaconda, and the northern
diet; shell and soft tissue damage from external sources and southern African pythons. www.fws.gov.
FWC working with wildlife rehabilitators to conduct
wildlife disease surveillance in Florida
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commis- lowing assistance. Please contact FWC immediately
sion (FWC) is working with wildlife rehabilitators on if you admit any cormorants or have any cormorants
several wildlife disease surveillance projects in Florida. arrive dead (the latter should be refrigerated). Live
A study beginning in June 2012 involves surveillance cormorants with neurological signs should either be
for virulent Newcastle disease virus in double-crested euthanized or quarantined away from other hospi-
cormorants. This disease causes neurological signs talized birds to prevent disease spread if a virulent
and is often fatal to cormorants, other wild birds, and Newcastle disease infection is present. For the rac-
poultry. The projects stems from a Newcastle disease coon roundworm study we are examining the intes-
outbreak among cormorants hospitalized in at least tinal tracts for parasites – if you have any raccoons
two facilities in 2010-11. To investigate the disease, arriving to your facility dead or that die shortly after
FWC would like to examine and sample any hospital- admission (before deworming) please save the en-
ized cormorants and conduct necropsies on any that tire carcass frozen. Please also immediately contact
arrive dead or die in a rehab facility. Other projects FWC if any bats (any species) are admitted to your
that are ongoing include surveillance for the raccoon facility or arrive dead (carcasses should be refriger-
roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, disease surveil- ated). Dr. Dan Wolf is leading the Newcastle disease,
lance in bats, and surveillance for chronic wasting roundworm, and bat studies and can be reached at
disease in white-tailed deer. 352-334-4235 or email@example.com. Finally, FWC
is continuing to conduct chronic wasting disease
surveillance. If you have any deer arriving dead or that
die in your facility please immediately call the CWD
hotline (1-866-CWD-WATCH). For all carcasses we
If you are would need basic information such as collection loca-
interested and tion, date, clinical signs (if any), and cause of death. For
able to participate more information please contact Dr. Wolf or Dr. Mark
in these studies we Cunningham
are asking for the fol- (firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-334-4233).
(800-435-7352) within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.
most obvious markings: blotches, d
Each section begins with the venom
Freed Enterprises, Inc. often confused with them, and then
Because some snakes’ patterns c
Petiatric.comIdentification Guide to the
snakes may be found in more than o
the section on blotches as a juvenile
Fox Valley is a world leader manufacturer of
milk (formula) replacement for orphaned Snakes of Florida
Each snake species is listed with a description, and inform
There is also a map with each species, indicating the range wh
and injured wildlife.
Reviewed by Hyta Mederer, P.H.D,
We have over other features, such
This A. Johnson and Monica E. unique and as 10 p
Steveguide includes numerous 125McGaritty
Day One Formula milk replacers are species specific specials diets to feed anything
habitats where snakes are likely to be found in Florida, wh
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These products closely match the unique composition from Aardvarks to Zebras!
distinguishing features of venomous pit vipers and of nonveno
snakes and coral the Snakes of Florida is a about two different
of mother’s milk, to assure proper nutrition if mothers recently published, the Identification Guide to snakes, and information collection of
Just 3030 Mascot
clear, beautiful photos of the 46 snakes.
67204guide is snakes on heavy as well as several
Wichita, Kansas native species of printed in Florida,card stock and is ring-boun
cannot, or will not, suckle their own.
Quantity discounts are now available.
commonly found nonnative species.This photos are grouped according to the snakes’
Call for more information. Orders: 1-800-490-0118 have little (corporate customer solid coloration. snake
or no experience with Florida’s
most obvious markings: blotches, diamonds, stripes, crossbands, and
Please call for more information. Information: the venomous species, across it. The authors hope that snakes
Each section begins with 316-831-9500 comefollowed by those snakes that are most will b
determine which snakes are nonvenomous.
Sales / Technical Service: (800) 679-4666often confused with them, and then followed by the other snakes that share the pattern.
Fax: (815) 578-4240 Becausewww.petiatric.com guideage or vary with location, pictures of those or a
some snakes’ patterns change with can be obtained from www.ifasbooks.com
snakes may be found in more than one section. The black racer, for example, is shown in
‘Tis the Season …… the section on blotches as a juvenile and the section on solid colors as an adult.
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hate when June rolls around and features, licensed rehab operation.
habitats the season”? Many of to be found say we’ll
minded that “this iswhere snakes are likely our experts in Florida, what to do or not do if bitten by a venomous snake,
probably be OK this year while others say no, not so, we’llof nonvenomous
distinguishing features of venomous pit vipers and
snakes and coral storm and information we know?
probably have a very active snakes, season. How doabout two different groups of legless lizards that are often mistaken for
After all, we did kick off the season with some “named” storms
This guide truth is that no one really knows ring-bound. It is designed to be of use to
prior to June lst, but the is printed on heavy card stock and iswhat
people who have little or face this year. Disaster
unexpected challenge each of us willno experience with Florida’s snakes and who need to be able to quickly identify one
planning is not just for Hurricane season. If there was ever
when they come across it. The authors
any doubt, just ask Dorothy Kaufmann and staff hope that snakes will benefit from this guide by making it easy for people to
at the Wildlife
determine which snakes are nonvenomous.
Sanctuary of NW Florida. It’s highly doubtful that they ex-
This guide can be obtained from www.ifasbooks.com
pected and planned for the flash flood that ravaged their facility or at 800-226-1764.
in mid June of this year. Yet, because that staff is well trained,
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Have a safe season! - FWRA Emergency Committee
When Callers are Creepy:
protecting yourself against human-related wildlife issues
by Phyllis Benton, Coral Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
Do you let people come to your home to drop off
animals? Do you have set safety protocol when doing • When doing animal pickups, if at all possible, don’t
wildlife pickups? A very eye-opening online discus- go alone.
sion among Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Association
members served as recent wakeup call; you may be • If you must go alone, let others know where you
surprised how often humans present a potential or are going and who you are meeting.Keep a log of
actual safety threat to wildlife rehabilitators. who you are meeting, phone number and address
of the person/location you are going, and what
The discussion thread started when I posted a heads- time you are expected to return.
up to other rehabilitators, and a link to a very disturb-
ing story. A man from a small, Connecticut town was • If you receive a wildlife call and don’t have time to
arrested after he allegedly tried to abduct a female leave notice (or are already on the road), leave a
student at a local university. The man was in the pos- voicemail for a coworker or family member with
session of a gun, ski mask, and items police say were as much information as possible.
to be used in a planned sexual assault. Having grown
up in that area, I forwarded the story to a rehabilita- • Meet people in public places that are well-traveled
tor in that same small town and asked if she knew and well-lit.
this person. Shockingly, she had done a wildlife pickup
at the man’s home two years ago. The man’s wife was • Try to avoid having people make animals drop offs
also there, but she remembers him as being some- at your home or facility where only one person is
what standoffish. She now avoids doing any pickups there by themselves.
alone. The post opened the floodgates to a surprising
number of incidents where human-related threats • Involve the police or other authorities when nec-
were encountered by rehabilitators, and some very essary.
solid, valuable tips on how to avoid human danger.
• Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger or at
“Last year, I got a call from a man in his forties. He risk – whether it be from direct interaction with
said to hurry right on over and get an injured ‘eagle’ in humans or from potential traffic or other related
his backyard. Well, he just didn’t sound like your aver- dangers.
age concerned citizen. He wasn’t able to answer any
of my routine questions about the bird’s condition, • Most importantly, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t
etc. and sounded irritated and impatient that I would feel right, it probably isn’t.
even ask about the bird. Well, I got the heebee jeebees
and called the town’s chief of police. Not only was this Gail Straight offered some sobering thoughts when
guy an ex-con, he wasn’t even allowed in the state... we fail to balance our desire to help animals with
Imagine his surprise when the Chief of Police and keeping ourself out of harm’s way: “Flashers on your
the town’s Animal Control Officer walked down his car don’t always stop the traffic [when rescuing ani-
driveway with me behind them. There was no eagle, mals in the road]. Be very careful; I do believe we lost
of course. There was no bird at all.” FWRA member at least one or two rehabbers [who were] killed by
from New Hampshire. oncoming traffic that did not stop.”
Longtime FWRA member Leslie Johnson summed up
what many others shared: Things are different today.
“Once upon a time I would have thought nothing Innovative Ideas
about jumping in my car and driving to God knows
where to pick up an animal, but I’m waaayy more cau- You can look for this to be shared later with many
tious than I used to be.” Johnson says that, “With the other projects as we develop a DIY section, but for
proper quizzing, I’ve been able to ascertain a reason- now, Treasure Coast Wildlife Center has provided this
able feeling of comfort if I do have to make the trek, great article and instructions to construct a nestbox
but I rarely make the trip alone. Unless absolutely from a single plank of wood 1”x10”x8’. They suggest
necessary to go to the residence, I usually do try to that rough cut wood such as cedar, cypress or red-
have people meet me in a known and secure place wood is preferred, as the box should remain unpaint-
like a well lighted convenience store parking lot, fire ed.
station, or a bank drive through with a zillion security
cameras.” If you have any DIY ideas you may want to share send
Here are some valuable tips offered by FWRA mem- them to email@example.com
bers on how to stay safe:
8626 SW Citrus Boulevard, Palm City, FL 34990
772-286-6200 voice 772-286-6220 fax
Screech Owl Nest Box (and American Kestrel too)
The Eastern Screech Owl is the smallest native Screech Owls make excellent neighbors, helping
owl in the Treasure Coast area, reaching a length of to control populations of rats, mice, and harmful in-
about 8 inches. The feather “ear tufts” often cause it sects. Since their distribution and abundance is deter-
to be mistaken for a baby Great Horned Owl; but an mined by available nesting sites, we encourage you to
actual Horned Owl the size of an adult Screech would build a screech owl nesting box for your own back
be less than ten days old, mostly naked and quite yard. A simple nesting box may be made from a
helpless. Three color phases are common: reddish, single board, 1” x 10” by 8 feet long (see diagram).
grey, and brown. The Screech Owl’s name is a mis- Rough cut wood that weathers well, such as cedar,
nomer, as it never actually screeches. Instead, the call cypress or redwood is preferred, as the box should
is made up of a series of hollow, vibrating notes remain unpainted. When complete, hang the box on a
which may be mistaken for the coo of a dove. tree, building, or pole about 15 feet high. Place it
A bold nocturnal hunter, this owl eats insects, within the edge of your trees, close to the open yard.
birds, bats, and rodents, sometimes attacking prey larger Screech owls do not bring nesting materials into their
than itself. Frequenting both wild and suburban set- nests, so you should provide them with wood shav-
tings, it is common throughout the Treasure Coast. ings or pine straw. Do not use cedar shavings or
Nesting season extends from about March until sum- sawdust! If starlings or sparrows begin to place their
mer; nests are built in natural and artificial cavities like own nesting materials inside, remove them, as
woodpecker holes or inside the rotten eaves of a screechies will not use an occupied box.
building. Four to six eggs are laid, and incubation American Kestrels, our smallest native falcons,
lasts about 26 days. Newly hatched screech owls are will use the same type of nest boxes and would be
white and fluffy, looking like dandelion flowers- ex- most welcome nesting visitors. To specifically encour-
cept for the presence of two large eyes. age Kestrels, place the box higher, on an isolated live
or dead tree. Good luck!
Kali, a red phase Eastern
Screech Owl Plank 1” x 10” x 8’ cut diagram
18” 15” 8” 15” 26” 12”
SIDE SIDE BOTTOM FRONT BACK TOP
1/2” vent holes
1/2” drain holes
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We, as an organization, get troubled and sometimes www.animal-care.com email aces@animal-c
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