As the dog days of summer are upon us we are overwhelmed with gratitude for your support, along with the help of our volunteers, interns and community during the busiest season of the year. Despite a relatively quiet patient load over the winter, the spring and summer seasons have proven to be busier than ever. Our medical staff and support team has once again risen to the challenge, as over 730 injured or orphaned animals were admitted to the clinic from March-July. During these months of heat and humidity, the Center becomes alive with a frenzy of hard-working human activity. Recently, in one day, our staff admitted: 12 pigeons found in a box on the side of the road, 3 Eastern phoebe nestlings found on the ground covered in mites, a nestling broad-winged hawk found on the ground in the forest with a wound in his wing, 2 orphaned wood ducklings, a fledgling chipping sparrow on the ground with a fractured wrist, and an American robin fledgling with a cat bite- all in one day!
In our baby bird room, volunteers work tirelessly from sunup to sundown, feeding, cleaning and administering medication to baby songbirds that have been injured or orphaned as their parents flit back and forth across dangerous roadways gathering food for their young. Our dedicated interns will hand-feed dozens of young squirrels and opossums, many of which have lost their mothers to automobile strikes or domestic cats. And our tireless medical staff that consists of only three Wildlife Specialists, are fielding up to 70 phone calls a day through our Wildlife Assistance Hotline in addition to their extensive medical duties.
Summer is also peak season for our environmental education programs. In addition to our public programs at schools, libraries, state parks, senior centers, and many other organizations, we provide a weekly Tuesday Afternoon Tour Series around our educational ambassador enclosures and grant-funded outdoor pavilion. These tours are a wonderful way for us to connect with the public and build on the passion for wildlife conservation in our community. As September approaches, the Center is also preparing for one of our biggest public events of the year; our annual open house. This exciting day event typically brings up to 1,000 people to our property where they engage in multiple educational programs with our wildlife ambassadors- this year’s theme being “A Journey Through the Ecosystem”. Participants can also enjoy local food and merchandise, and visit interactive display tables from many local environmental education, research, and land trust organizations who partner with us throughout the year.
Here’s a spotlight on one of our most inspiring cases this summer: A beautiful turkey vulture was rescued from the road in South Berwick, Maine and brought to our clinic on June 12th. She was unfortunately unable to stand, and the rescuer knew that she would not survive if left on her own. Upon examination our Wildlife Specialists and volunteer veterinarian found that the vulture had suffered a pelvic injury with lots of bruising and swelling around her hips and pelvis. She was kept in our Intensive Care room where she was monitored, kept comfortable, and administered homeopathic remedies to help alleviate the swelling and bruising. Once the swelling went down she was stable and strong enough to be moved to an outdoor enclosure where she could begin the rehabilitation process and regaining her strength and coordination. After successfully regaining her flight muscles in our 100-ft flight enclosure, we knew she was ready to be released.
Just one month after she was admitted to our clinic, we released the now healthy bird on the summit of Mt. Agamenticus. Once the turkey vulture took in her surroundings, she stretched out her impressive wings (reaching almost 7 feet across!) and eagerly took to the sky. The latin word for turkey vulture is Cathartes Aura, which means "golden purifier.” Turkey vultures were revered by our ancestors as purifying nature, which they of course still do today! Taking one last look at her caregivers, the lucky vulture soared off strongly back into the wild.
We are so grateful to our global giving donors, for helping us secure the much-needed funding to do this amazing work. With no state or federal funding or support we rely entirely on donors like you to continue medically treating and connecting the community with our wildlife and habitats. We couldn't do it without you!!
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