Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals is more than a place. It is a living philosophy based on the belief that encouraging compassion in humans toward all life brings out the finest aspects of our humanity. Fellow Mortals provides excellent medical care to injured and orphaned wild animals entrusted to the hospital by the public. Fellow Mortals continues to advance treatment for the most critically injured and compromised animals admitted for care, demonstrated by a continued high rate of recovery and release back to the wild. Fellow Mortals also attempts to limit the number of animals admitted for care each year by offering public education to prevent unnecessary injury and orphaning, thereby reducing the total n...
Apr 7, 2014

New Life, Renewed Promise

Hand-feeding infant squirrel
Hand-feeding infant squirrel

With the warmth of spring, the door literally opens to a new beginning for dozens of wild creatures who spent the winter healing.  In the last couple of weeks, we have returned red-tailed hawks back to their homes, set migrating songbirds and ducks on their way to their breeding grounds and moved more animals along the path back to eventual freedom.  Give yourself a pat on the back for helping to make this possible!

The first babies of the year came to Fellow Mortals as a large nest of eight 'pinkie' squirrels weighing just 2/3 of an ounce.   These little ones are helpless if something happens to their nest or mom and are some of the most critical patients we see, requiring frequent and late-night feedings and strict hygiene to keep them healthy.  We're happy to say that 10 days later they are all gaining weight and doing well.

After the first squirrels came our first orphaned owls, with two nestling who were injured after their nest was blown out of a tall pine tree.  The babies were alone for awhile before they were found and were very hungry, as well as injured.  One baby had a sprained 'ankle;' the other sustained fractures to both ulnas (a bone in the wing).  Wild creatures are incredibly resilent and both little ones responded well to treatment and are healing while eating up to 12 mice each per day.  They are nearly ready to join our foster owl, Alberta, who adopts the young owls who need us, providing an important role model for them as they learn to act like an owl, talk like an owl, and hunt so that they can survive when they have matured for release.

After the long harsh winter, the first babies of the year are a welcome sign of the awakening earth, filling us with anticipation for all that is to come.  Every year we make a new promise to the wild ones who will need us--to provide the best nutrition, care, facilities and medical care possible, in order to give each individual a real chance to heal and grow and return to the wild where it belongs.  Thanks to you, we know this is a promise we can keep.

Orphaned great horned owls
Orphaned great horned owls
Wood ducks soon to be released
Wood ducks soon to be released
Red-tailed hawk returns to her home
Red-tailed hawk returns to her home
Jan 6, 2014

Moments, Memories & Miracles

Starving Sandhill Crane with grommet on bill
Starving Sandhill Crane with grommet on bill

The frigid winter air in rural Wisconsin is 20 degrees below zero. 

The last few days we've been busy providing extra shelter, extra bedding, extra food. to the animals in our care outdoors.  This means putting up tarps and heavy plastic over exposed areas of outside caging, giving the deer and rabbits mounds of timothy hay to curl up into (and munch if they like), providing the squirrels extra bedding to make their nest boxes cozy and putting heat pads in with the hawks and owls so that food and water stay thawed and accessible to them.  It's sweet to visit the deer barn in the morning and see all the little impressions of resident wildlife who shared the warmth during the night.  We know we have opossum and a stray cat who visit with the deer.

New patients arrive every day, including two screech owl siblings who were found tangled in the snow squabbling over a morsel of food, and a starving red-breasted merganser, who quickly adapted to fishing minnows out of his bowl when finally able to feed himself.  Two beautiful cottontail rabbits, a male and female, were injured when they were hit by cars and suffered head trauma.  They and we are fortunate that kind people took the time to rescue them when they were found injured and all are doing well at this writing.

Although we haven't yet tabulated patient information for 2013, we know there was an increase in the amount of animals we had in care, including increased numbers of both birds of prey (hawks, owls and others) and rabbits and squirrels.

Going through the individual admit records gives us a chance to remember every individual life that passed through our hands, including those who are pictured below.  The little rabbit in the snow?  He was raised from just one day old, after he was orphaned when his mother was killed.  He was born late in the year, so is overwintering with two others.  The sandhill crane was admitted starving after he accidentally stabbed a rubber grommet while feeding and his bill was rendered useless.  The squirrel is one of many late babies who enjoyed Christmas morning with special treats, including dried apple on a stick, while the red-tailed hawk was released during one of our 'warm' spells, along with two great-horned owls, recovered from their injuries.  The posse of common nighthawks shown at feeding time include some permanent birds and others who will be released in the spring, and the deer kissing--they live at Fellow Mortals permanently.

We can't begin to find the words to say 'thank you' for helping to make so many happy endings possible, and for helping us to continue our work--even during the harshest days of winter.   May your kindness to the innocent creatures who need you warm your heart in the coldest times.  Happy New Year from your Fellow Mortals, wild and human.

Juvenile Cottontail rabbit--raised from 1 day old
Juvenile Cottontail rabbit--raised from 1 day old
Resident deer
Resident deer
Grey Squirrel
Grey Squirrel
Feeding Overwintering Common Nighthawks
Feeding Overwintering Common Nighthawks
Release of Red-tailed Hawk
Release of Red-tailed Hawk

Links:

Oct 14, 2013

One Squirrel's Story

Injured Cottontail Rabbit at admit
Injured Cottontail Rabbit at admit

All you have to do is look at the faces of the interns right before releasing the hawks to freedom to see how 'success' is most easily measured in wildlife rehabilitation.  We are excited when the day comes that an animal who came to us starving or injured can go home again, and know that it is 'good bye,' but once in awhile, we get to say 'hello' again...

Buddy came into our lives over three years ago, after she was found injured and starving with an injury to her mouth and jaw.  At the hospital on her arrival on 3/22/09, x-rays revealed that a b.b. had lodged in the little squirrel's jaw and caused her teeth to become misaligned and maloccluded, making it impossible for her to eat.  Another had just missed her spine.

Buddy spent nearly two years in rehabilitation.  The pellet’s proximity to one eye made it impossible to remove, but regular teeth clipping gradually brought Buddy's teeth into alignment and she grew plump and beautiful once she was able to feed herself.  In the fall of 2011, we opened the door to her cage and Buddy left captivity to find her place in the wild.  Since Fellow Mortals has fox squirrels on site and we hoped to monitor her condition, we gave her a nest box  near to the hospital in a lone oak.

We didn’t see Buddy  for several weeks after release and of course we worried—then one day in November of 2011 we were excited to see Buddy in the courtyard helping herself to the treats we put out daily for the birds, squirrels and rabbits.

Buddy lived in the 'wilds' of Fellow Mortals for over two years, until the injury that initially brought her to us brought her back into care.  We will always be grateful that she had the opportunity to live a life of her own choosing, and feel so privileged that—when she was given the chance to leave, she chose to spend the rest of her life with us.  She was never tame, never allowed us to approach too closely, yet we shared our lives.  

The rare experience of being able to follow our patients after release occurs every so often, and gives us hope that many of the animals we never see again are also living long, happy lives in the wild.

Thank you for your gifts which provide the place that makes these stories possible.

New friends
New friends
Robin release
Robin release
Buddy Girl, Fellow Mortals Mascot
Buddy Girl, Fellow Mortals Mascot
Immature Great horned owl
Immature Great horned owl
Release Day
Release Day

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