Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

by Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital
Kaleigh with fledgling merlin
Kaleigh with fledgling merlin

Just like every new patient, this young Merlin's story involves some special people.

Kaleigh Lound arrived at Fellow Mortals to start her internship just ahead of the many injured and orphaned baby birds that were to follow her.  A recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, Kaleigh moved to Wisconsin from Michigan for a nearly year-long wildlife internship.  We couldn't be happier to have her with us!

Kaleigh's normal day starts before 8 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m.--baby birds require frequent feedings that start at sunrise and continue until dark.  Between feedings, Kaleigh mixes formula, cleans incubators, washes syringes and helps with admitting new patients.  While every intern and staff member looks forward to days off and sleeping in, Kaleigh is willing to help even on her days off--including going on rescues when a caller may be elderly, disabled, or without a vehicle.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a call about a bird that had been on the ground all day in the hot sun.  We routinely ask people alot of questions when they call, and sometimes ask for pictures to help us assess a situation, as we never want to take a healthy baby away from its parents. 

Once we saw pictures of the Merlin, we knew it was a young bird but not so young it shouldn't be off the ground, and needed to come into care.  The woman who noticed the bird couldn't leave her elderly mother to bring it to us, however, so enter Kaleigh!  We asked the woman to place a laundry basket over the bird until Kaleigh could get to it.  Laundry baskets are handy because they provide protection from predator-attack and the elements, while keeping the injured animal from leaving the area until it can be helped.

Kaleigh was able to retrieve the bird easily, thanks to the woman following our instructions.  Back at the hospital, we examined the Merlin and found old injuries to both wings--probably caused when it first left the nest.  He was a little thin, a little dehydrated, but the wounds would heal.

Two weeks later, the young fledgling has lost most of his baby down, and is in that 'awkward' teenage phase.  He is also eating like a teenager as he finished growing in his first set of feathers!

Once the Merlin is at the age he would normally leave his parents, and has learned to hunt, he will be released--a happy ending made possible by the woman who cared enough to call, and by Kaleigh, who took the time to help.

Weighing in
Weighing in
Why am I here?
Why am I here?
That awkward age...
That awkward age...


Eagle in Flight
Eagle in Flight

Dear Friend,

This may not be my best-written post, but it is most sincere.  With all that we have to celebrate this spring--the release of a Bald Eagle and a Peregrine Falcon--the start of construction on a new 2,000 squre foot Critical Care Wing at the hospital--we are fighting to save the beautiful big trees that provide privacy and screening from noise and human activity that is produced by the traffic on the road that runs in front of our hospital.

After 21 years at Fellow Mortals' present location--chosen in large part for the mature spruce and walnut trees on the property--American Transmission Company (ATC) showed up in February and announced their plan to clear-cut 50 feet back from the electric line--removing a century old spruce and dozens of other small walnut trees and all of the rest of the undergrowth in the easement, and has been trimmed in years past.

This property was specifically chosen based on its location and the mature trees on the property that had been there for decades, before and after the electric line went in.

While critical care and recovery happen inside the hospital, when wildlife nears release, birds and mammals are moved to outside acclimitization habitats and flights where they once again are exposed to rain and cold, natural photocycles and the natural sounds of the wild to which they will return.

Located centrally to the region we serve on the border of Wisconsin and Illinois, the location of the hospital on Palmer Road was the perfect combination of rural quiet and accessibility--until now.

If ATC is successful in its plan to clear cut in front of the hospital, the sanctuary will never be the same--privacy, security and protection from noise and human activity and potential interference will be the cost and outside habitats may become unusable.

In the past few months, we have been working quietly to reason with ATC to make an exception for the wildlife to no avail.  We offered to pay for the trimming to save this business the cost.  We offered to let them take some of the cover but preserve the big trees.  We asked about moving the electric lines.  We asked them to make an exception--there are no other wildlife hospitals in the state affected in this way.

We have now hired an attorney and are partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to try to save the very special place that means the difference between life and death for 2000 wild animals every year.

Clear-cutting of the easement on the property isn't a federal or state regulation--it is a choice by a for-profit business that cares about nothing more than its bottom line.  This company seemingly answers to no one.  It has more power than any private business should.

If you would like to make a special gift to help with wildlife care at this time, it would be very much appreciated, as we have not been able to write for grants or to our regular donors while fighting this important battle for the future of the sanctuary.

I will update you on this issue as soon as we have any news.

If you would like to follow this issue in the meantime, please visit our Facebook page:  Fellow Mortals Wildlfie Hospital.


Yearling male beaver
Yearling male beaver

Every time we use the gifts you provide through Global Giving, we think carefully about what the wild ones need, and how best to make your donations go as far as possible.  As a tax-exempt organization, we don't pay sales tax on purchases, so that money can be used for other things.  We also work hard to forge relationships with manufacturers and suppliers who will provide services or items at a discount.  When we do go to spend money, we have made sure it goes as far as possible!

Last month, your gifts through Global Giving meant nearly $900 was available for the wild ones at the hospital!  Your gifts fed 200 animals for a whole week--and, you purchased a box of 100 x-ray films and the chemicals to develop them--and, you helped a sandhill crane and a great horned owl fight infection with a powerful and very expensive antibiotic. 

But that's not all you did last month--you even made some special Valetine's Day enrichment possible for two very special animals.

We have many overwintering squirrels, ducks, geese and owls, and we also have two beaver in long-term care.
Beaver rehabilitation is a long process. A minimum of two years in care is required before release, as the young rely upon their families to help build a lodge and store food to survive the harsh winters. As we continue to follow the progress of "Kesha," a hand-raised baby released in 2012 with a rehabilitated male beaver, we are working with our current beaver in the hopes that they can be released together next summer.

The female beaver and male beaver spend 'supervised' play time together as we gradually introduce them to each other's smell and behavior.  Eventually, when they let us know they are ready, they will move in together for rest of their time in rehabilitation in preparation for release.
After a Valentine's Beaver play date, Chip and Angel took their new pillows back home to soak them in their pools and add them to their squishy, squashy bedding...a process that has been repeated every day since, as beavers love Laundry Time!  What can we say! It's the beaver way:)
Thank you for all you make possible in so many ways.
With heartfelt thanks,
Female beaver watching for male
Female beaver watching for male 'play date'
I think I like you!
I think I like you!
Valentine Pillow for the Girl of the Lodge
Valentine Pillow for the Girl of the Lodge
...and one for you.
...and one for you.



Fellow Mortals was invited to participate in a challenge on Global Giving in 2010, after we learned about them through our friends at the Pepsi Refresh project.  Though our work is regional, our mission is universal:  'we believe that encouraging compassion in humans toward all life brings out the finest aspects of our humanity and helps create a better world for all living beings.'

Global Giving changed many things for our organization--all in a good way--and you are the reason why!

Your one-time gift or recurring monthly donation is treated in a special way, because it goes into a special account at the bank.  Your gifts are used to buy food for Shakespeare, a barred owl who, with his companion, Sophie, helps us to educate about wildlife and habitat preservation, and also raises orphaned young barred owls.  Your gifts, which are treated as savings, are used for special projects, like providing necessary housing for overwintering animals, or helping to cover the cost of supplies for our education birds.

A gift to Global Giving means security for Shakespeare, and all of the other animals who rely on us 365 days a year--and don't know anything about how money works:)

In addition to your gifts that directly help injured and orphaned wildlife, supporting Fellow Mortals through Global Giving means you are supporting thousands of other organizations as well as Fellow Mortals, as we learn and benefit from the expert advice made available through blogs, webinars and special trainings.  This year, because you have given us a place on Global Giving's platform with your donation, you helped us raise $1,500 for wildlife care during a matching campaign; you helped us raise nearly $4,000 for a new deer habitat; and you made it possible for me to take part in the 2015 Fundraising Academy as a student.

As Fellow Mortals celebrates its 30th continuous year of providing care for injured and orphaned wildlife, we are constantly evolving and growing, and much of that is thanks to your gifts.

Tonight, as you sit down to supper, you can feel good that Shakespeare has eaten too, the fawns are browsing and playing in a spacious new habitat, and over 100 other injured anmals are safe for the night. You made this possible.

For all of the wild ones, Shakespeare wants to say 'thank you.'

First fawn
First fawn

Jilly was found near death, cold to point where only warm intravenous fluids over 48 hours brought her body back to normal temperature--emaciated, she was too weak to stand or suckle, so we fed her by stomach tube for several days.

We celebrated every milestone, every morning she was still alive. When she finally took a bottle on her own, it was the best day ever.

If Fellow Mortals had been unable to help Jilly, she would have died. Instead, she grew strong and was given a new family where hers had been lost.

Fellow Mortals provided care for deer from 1989 to 2003, when a policy change by our state agency made it illegal for us to help. As part of an advisory group to the Wisconsin DNR, I helped to create a policy that would allow licensed wildlife rehabilitators to again care for injured and orphaned fawns.

Fellow Mortals is just one of a handful of facilities equipped and willing to take on the financial burden of rehabilitating injured and orphaned deer. It is an expensive endeavor. The cost to rehabilitate one fawn to release is $1,000.
We want to help all the deer who need us, but we need to complete a larger deer habitat in order to that date.

We have gone forward on faith and the one-acre enclosure is complete!  At a cost of $30,000, we still have to raise $10,000 to pay the contractor.  Thanks to gifts made on bonus day, we have raised nearly $4,000 toward the this expense, but are still $4,000 shy of what is needed.

This beautiful habitat is located on 52 acres of private property where there is no hunting and where the deer can be released on site.

Please consider being a part of a future of healing through a special gift to Jilly's Legacy, our microproject on Global Giving, to make a gift that will keep helping orphaned and injured deer for years to come.

Thank you for what you have given in the past, and thank you for considering this special need, in tribute to Jilly.

Yearling doe
Yearling doe
Injured older doe with orphaned newborn
Injured older doe with orphaned newborn



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Organization Information

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.fellowmortals.org
Project Leader:
Yvonne Wallace Blane
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin United States
$38,135 raised of $50,000 goal
707 donations
$11,865 to go
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