Spring has come to Fellow Mortals this week, and we welcomed our first baby squirrels and our first baby bunnies, after sad accidents separated them from mom--but not before the people who found them worked with us to try to keep the families together.
As we embark on another busy season, we continue to release many animals who were injured last fall and winter--including three birds returned to the 'big pond'' this week: an immature (1st winter) Ring-billed Gull that was admitted 10/13/2017 with a fracture of both the radius and ulna in the left wing; a transitional phase Horned Grebe that was grounded last week and needed a few days in the pool to heal her abraded feet and regain weight and waterproofing; and a mature female Ruddy Duck admitted 10/17/17 with such severe damage to the back of her neck from a predator attack that we could see her spine when she was admitted, and there was literally no skin to pull over the wound, which had to granulate in over several weeks.
Every animal has its own special story, and that could not be more true than for the Horned Grebe.
To give some idea of the area that Fellow Mortals serves, we admit wildlife from two states and over 100 communities. When people call for help, they often assume we are nearby--since they were referred by a local veterinarian or humane society, when in fact we could be hours away. This complicates things when a person isn't able to bring the animal to us, and that was the case with the grebe who was discovered by a long-distance truck driver in a parking lot several counties away from Fellow Mortals.
On his way home to Connecticut from Wisconsin with a big fuel truck, Paul just wanted to do the right thing by reporting the injured bird to us. Little did he know, he was going to be involved in not just one--but two life-saving events.
Given Paul's situation, we knew he couldn't bring the grebe to us, but it needed to be contained so that it wouldn't be run over or taken by a predator before we could get a volunteer to his location. Following our instructions, Paul gamely parked his rig, went into a local hardware store and explained why he needed a free cardboard box--but didn't want to buy anything, and then made his way back to the grebe--just in time to chase away a hungry red-tailed hawk that wasn't going to have a grebe for lunch today!
Paul was pretty excited when he got back on the phone with us--which he'd dropped in the effort to get to the grebe before the hawk did! It's probably good he had a little rest before getting back on the road, while he waited for our volunteer to arrive to transport the grebe back to the hospital.
The grebe's story has another twist, because Joseph, the volunteer who drove to meet Paul and bring the grebe to us, was celebrating his birthday, and spent over three hours on the road on his day off, so we made sure to have an ice cream cake ready to thank him in exchange for the bird.
Just another day in the Wonderful World of Wildlife.
For those of you who don't know, Fellow Mortals' logo depicts two Trumpeter Swans--one in flight, one attempting to take flight. Our logo symbolizes the work that we do, the triumph of those wild ones who recover, and our sorrow for those who may not. Because not all wild ones can heal from their injuries, not all who struggle will ultimately survive--every individual who is released is a cause for celebration as they represent the fruits of the compassion that makes our work possible, and so very necessary.
Horned grebes don't breed in our area of the United States, so once our friend had recovered, we got her back out to a local lake with enough space for her to run across the water and take flight and continue migration to her breeding grounds up north.
The grebe's story doesn't end there though--it circles back to you, because your support is what makes it possible for us to answer the phone, provide advice, give care, maintain the facility and return the grebe and hundreds of others back to the wild after they heal.
So thank you! And Happy Spring!