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Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything

by Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital
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Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Fellow Mortals--Compassion Changes Everything
Cedar Waxwings
Cedar Waxwings

Summer 2020 continues to surprise, and surprisingly delight in unexpected ways.

While we learn new ways to interact with the people who need our help, and how to help from a distance, we have also become more proficient at distance education and providing information in innovative ways.

Challenge really can result in opportunity once one accepts that there is only one direction--forward.

We weren't sure what to expect with the many stay-at-home orders and changes in work and school.  In the very beginning, the wild ones were less impacted by human activity and they thrived in the absence of fewer vehicles on the roads, and activity at work sites.

Once people returned to a semblance of normal, so did our work at the hospital increase.  More people were out working in the yard at home instead of on vacation, and were more likely to encounter wildlife and see behaviors they didn't understand, but which were perfectly normal--like a baby fawn lying quietly next to their porch, or a nest of baby bunnies tucked into a corner of their garden.

While we provide direct services for injured and orphaned wildlife, we return up to 100 calls a day to help an animal finder assess a situation and understand wild behavior.  Most of the education and information we provide allows young wild creatures to stay with their parents.

In the past few years, we have been concerned about a trend that sees fewer of some important bird species, like the American kestrel, or Chimney swift.  Birds that eat insects or rodents are very important to balance in the environment.  This year has been a good one for raptors and songbirds; and while that means our bird nursery and sensitive species, and indoor flights are full to bursting because the more birds out in the environment the more likely they are to be found when they need help--we couldn't be happier for the extra work.

500 animals are currently in care at the hospital.  We release nearly every day, and admit new animals just as quickly.  This evening two great horned owl returned home after recovering from fractured wings.  Yesterday the first 10 swallows were released after growing up in our care.

The birds admitted into care change as the weeks pass, and we have just admitted our first Cedar Waxwings, one of the last bird species to nest in our region.  Summer is really flying by.

THANK YOU to all who are part of Team Hope--your monthly gifts provide for the many wild ones brought to us by people who can't donate.

And thank you to all who donate when you can--your gifts are often the answer to a specific need.

Best wishes to all of you as we continue the adventure.

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Immature red-tailed hawk
Immature red-tailed hawk

Dear friends and recurring monthly donors, and other supporters--I hope this finds you safe and well.

I am writing to let you know how much we appreciate all you have made possible in the past.

To our recurring donors--you are appreciated so very much, especially now.

We understand that everyone is anxious and unsure of what the future holds--we understand things are hard right now and you might not be able to donate as before.  Our hope is to continue to help as needed.

We currently have over 200 animals at the hospital--many will soon be released, but more come in nearly every day.

Wildlife rehabilitation is designated an 'essential service' by Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole, and Governor Evers, and Fellow Mortals continues to be available by appointment 7 days a week by appointment.

We are being safe, and keeping the people who bring us animals safe.  There is no face-to-face contact between staff and the caring public, yet we can still receive animals into care.

The process:  A person bringing an animal for care enters directly from outside into a negative pressure isolation room where the animal contained in a box will be kept warm and safe until the staff enters to take it out of the box.  The triage room is on the other side of a door with a window that looks into isolation, so we are able to wave 'hi' to the animal finder, and watch as the person leaves the isolation area.  After they leave, we enter to retrieve the animal and lock the outside door.  We use gloves when handling containers and we have a disinfection protocol to protect the everyone using the shared space, which involves wiping down door handles and other contact surfaces between admissions, as well as using an ozonator to kill viruses in the air. 

While we all adapt to doing our part to protect each other in the weeks and months to come--the wild ones remind us that there is a constant even in this time of uncertainty, and that Life & Hope still exist in the world.

Thank you, again, for all you do for the wild ones.  We will keep in touch.

Yvonne, co-founder, Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

"In healing, we are healed." tm

 

 

It started with the cranes—I heard the chuckling of their voices before I saw a squadron of six fly over the field. In the hours and days to come, the red-winged blackbirds’ chorus filled the air as suddenly as the sight of the males’ epaulets flashed in the weeds along the road. A single vulture wheeled lazily overhead and a mature bald eagle soared high—but not so high that his white head and tail could not be seen.

As humans retreated into their safe spaces and became less active and more crepuscular, the wild ones ventured further afield at times they would normally be the ones sheltering in place. The turkeys flocked and stopped to stare as a single car came down a rural road. A squirrel buried a nut in a pothole that would be accessible in a way not possible in a time when traffic never stopped. Crows gathered to converse in mid-day, their voices carrying and echoing across the silence.

Spring is here! The dull brown of sodden winter is perforated with shots of snowdrops and the first green shoots of grass—and for the first time in many of the wild ones’ lives—it is they who go forth without fear. Geese drift on endless water in open lakes and deer graze in open fields under the sun.

It’s a strange world in the spring of 2020. Humans are experiencing boundaries never imagined even a few weeks before—real boundaries necessitated by real threats that have caused us to change our behaviors accordingly. For the first time in most of our lives, we are experiencing a reality that the wild creatures have had to accept since humans entered their world.

The wild ones are free in a way they haven’t experienced before. This will be a special season for them.

Absurdly perhaps, my heart lifts at the hope that perhaps we humans will learn some important and lasting lessons from changing places with the wild ones of our world. As the waters clear and the cacophony of engines and talking and activity pause and allow the natural world to emerge and speak to our hearts—will we see that we have overstepped our place and resolve to allow the earth to heal by changing our ways?

Yvonne Wallace Blane

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Feeling better
Feeling better

In August of 2018, we received a call about a young beaver that had fallen 25 feet from a concrete wall into a dry reservoir of a dam.  The drop had miraculously not killed the three-month old, 10-pound animal, but he was hurting, and easily captured by the maintenance workers at the dam, with the help of Jolene, a wildlife rehabilitator friend in the area.

Beaver do not leave their home lodge until they are at least two years old and 50-60 pounds--so we knew tragedy had struck this little beaver's family to leave him separated in such a dangerous place.  The maintenance workers at the dam had first seen a little beaver a month prior, so he had been struggling even before he was injured.  We were so glad to get him into care that evening.

The little beaver was very frightened and cowered in the corner of his transport carrier.  He would not allow himself to be handled and he was also suffering from shock and stress, but we needed to do some kind of exam.  Anesthesia is dangerous for animals like this little one, so we palpated for fractures and other injuries as best as we could.  It was obvious that his left hind leg was injured, possibly fractured as he was not walking on it--but if a fracture existed it was too high for a surgical pin, and would have to heal on its own.  We let the little beaver out of his carrier and he moved clumsily past us to the farthest corner of his new habitat.

Beaver that come to Fellow Mortals are housed in pool habitats.  They are quite large, with heated concrete for comfort and a place to pile logs for a lodge, and they have deep pools for swimming, diving, and defecating.  Beaver only go to the bathroom in water.

As weeks and then months went by, the little beaver grew and gradually was putting weight on the hind leg and foot, then walking normally, and then swimming well by paddling with both feet and legs.  And his first winter passed.   

In June of 2019, a days-old beaver was rescued from out of the Wisconsin River--again surviving against all odds after being torn from her family far too early.  Young beaver are not waterproof for several months after birth and the parents and protective older siblings would never have let this young one out of their care.  Yet again a beaver family had been destroyed, probably through the destruction of their lodge, something that is far too common across the United States, where humans have still to appreciate that wild species each have a unique purpose, and beaver in particular both create and sustain habitat for other wild species and humans.  

The good part of the new baby coming to Fellow Mortals was that we would hopefully have a companion for our first beaver, who we identifed as 'Prairie,' after where he was found.  Since the new baby came in June, she was identified as 'Juniper.'  We don't 'name' the wild patients in our care, but we do have to identify them, and we find that a descriptive works as a short-hand and is much more efficient in identifying animals than a number system such as B184 and J195 for example.

Beaver have internal genitalia, so there is no way of knowing the sex of a beaver for sure without x-ray, but there are some physiological indicators that seem to be quite accurate, such as the shape of the tail, and the personality.  Male beaver are much less industrious in our experience, while female beaver are always very busy.  While we had not been able to x-ray 'Prairie' at admit, we were able to  x-ray the days-old baby and knew she was female, so we were hopeful the two beaver could be put together and released together when they were both old enough.

All was going well, and then we noticed that 'Prairie' was not eating hard food, even though he was gnawing wood for his lodge.  After a period of observation and careful examination, we saw that his upper incisors had overgrown and his teeth were maloccluded.  He would need to see a dentist.  Luckily, we have a dentist with beaver experience!

Beaver are the largest rodent in North America.  They average 60 pounds as adults and the record for the largest beaver is for one in Wisconsin that weighed 110 pounds!  Rodents teeth grow throughout their lifetime, so if they are injured and the bite is affected, they can die from the teeth growing into their skull.

Our human dentist is a great sport, and Dr. Ann had teamed with our veterinarian Dr. Chris in the past, when they worked on another young beaver that had malocclusion as a result of injuries.  They coordinated schedules and soon the beaver had a visit booked from the Beaver Team.

This time--anesthesia was absolutely necessary--and the beaver was sedated for the procedure, which went quickly, with Dr. Ann trimming nearly an inch from each upper incisor. 

Since we had the opportunity, we were also able to take x-rays, and we were astonished at the extent of the healed fracture of the hind leg, which Dr. Chris determined was entirely functional and not painful.  Seeing the fracture site made us even more aware of what this little animal had gone through in his first months of life.  We were also able to determine without a doubt that 'Prairie' was indeed a male.  We could see the bony organ called an 'ospenis' clearly on the x-ray.

As soon as he began to wake, we returned 'Prairie' to his habitat next door to 'Juniper,' where he rested in a cuddly blanket until waking up to clean off all the human germs, and to take a bath.

Strawberries, blueberries, apples, yams, spinach and rodent chow are all being devoured eagerly this winter, and 'Prairie' and 'Juniper' continue to grow toward release.

Anesthesia
Anesthesia
Teeth trimming
Teeth trimming
Beaver tooth enamel is orange from iron
Beaver tooth enamel is orange from iron
X-ray of healed leg fracture
X-ray of healed leg fracture
Our Beaver Team
Our Beaver Team

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admitted injured, these fawn will be released soon
admitted injured, these fawn will be released soon

Dear friend and supporter, 

Next year begins a new and exciting decade and Fellow Mortals 35th year as a wildlife hospital.  Every year, we help more people with wildlife situations and witness how education and information can change a perceived conflict with a wild animal into an opportunity for learning and appreciation of the species' importance to our earth.

As our view shifts from wildlife as 'interlopers' in 'our' space toward understanding that humans are the 'new species on the block,' we see more compassionate acts of people rescuing injured wildlife, being willing to take the time to transport an animal into proper care, and of actions taken and decisions made that prevent unnecessary orphaning and displacement of wild families.

Thanks to your support, Fellow Mortals has completed another year of service to the wild and human communities.

Whether you rescued an injured or orphaned wild animal, made a monetary donation, or a gift of supplies from our wishlist—we thank you for caring about the wild ones.

In 2019, your support made possible:

  • 13,000 hours of care for raptors, deer, endangered/threatened species by licensed wildlife rehabilitators
  • 4,320 hours of orphaned small mammal and songbird care by wildlife interns
  • Rehabilitation of—
    • 407 Eastern Cottontails
    • 200 Eastern Grey Squirrels
    • 16 White-tailed Deer
    • 24 Canada Geese
    • 62 Mallards
    • 48 Wood Ducks
    • 124 American Robins
    • 17 American Goldfinches
    • 18 Cedar Waxwings
    • 57 Mourning Doves
    • 22 Red-tailed Hawks
    • 20 Great Horned Owls
    •  and many others--
  •  5,000 people provided with information and advice on the phone or in person
  •  Education programs and community outreach
  •  Support for law enforcement, humane societies, veterinarians, state and federal agencies

3,650,000 steps?  Shout out to our Team Hope recurring monthly donors--You were with us every step of the way; that's the number of steps one full-time wildlife rehabilitator at Fellow Mortals walks in a year!

Thank you for supporting our work with the wild ones and we wish you and your loved ones a happy New Year!

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Attaching the prosthetic bill
Attaching the prosthetic bill

When the young black-crowned night heron was admitted—near death, emaciated, missing a large portion of the upper bill and with a horrendous injury to one eye—we had a decision to make.  The top bill was broken about midway to the head and could possibly grow back, but the right eye was badly injured and there was no way to know if the bird would be sighted, even if the eye healed.

Black-crowned night heron aren't commonly admitted; they are a nocturnal species and not often encountered by humans.  We made the decision to go ahead and provide life-saving care in the hope that the bird would be releasable, thinking that if that was not ultimately possible, he could be placed in an aquatic exhibit with an established educational center.

After stabilizing the heron with fluids and tube-feeding by putting nutrients directly into his stomach, we started hand-feeding him minnows that had to be held in just the right position where he could grab them from us, one at a time—up to 50 at a time every few hours for the several weeks.  Obviously this couldn't go on forever, and we reached out to our veterinarians and our dentist for help!

Dr. Chris and Dr. Ann  visited Fellow Mortals to assess the heron and Ann carved a prosthesis from wax that was then formed into a plastic piece.

When the temporary prosthetic was ready, our team of Dr. Scot, Dr. Chris and Dr. Ann—three talented, generous, and compassionate professionals—met in surgery to attach it to the broken upper bill.

We had left the eye to heal on its own, which is often the best way, but the scab was starting to lift and we were nervous about what we would find beneath.  Miraculously—when the scab was cut away from the injured eye—we could see the eye was not only intact, but the bird could see from it!

The heron has now doubled in weight and has been self feeding since the surgery.  With his only remaining injury the broken bill, we hope that with time his own natural bill will grow and the prosthesis will fall off, and the bird will be releaseable!

If not for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, wildlife rehabilitators would not be allowed to provide care for wild birds.  We are so grateful we can help when we are needed.

If not for the surgery, this bird would not be able to be kept in captivity and given time to heal.   If not for the person who saw the bird in distress and rescued him, he would not be alive today.

If not for your support, this story would never have been told.  Thank you for the gifts you give the wild ones.

Carved from wax and then formed into plastic
Carved from wax and then formed into plastic
Surgery complete and the right eye is visual!
Surgery complete and the right eye is visual!
Shared by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Shared by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Injured heron at admit
Injured heron at admit

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Organization Information

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FellowMortals1
Project Leader:
Yvonne Wallace Blane
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin United States
$79,879 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,734 donations
$20,121 to go
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