April 29, 2013
April is Volunteer Month and we are celebrating our dedicated volunteers with our April edition of "Wild Times." Four volunteers share their experiences with our subscribers. Please visit this url to view the newsletter online: http://e2.ma/message/30led/3svgj. Photo of TWC Volunteer Morgan Light and Sly
March 29, 2013
TWC's March newsletter continues the discussion about New Mexico's resident falcons. Please visit this url to read all about them: http://e2.ma/message/n418c/3svgj. Photo of a Peregrine Falcon by Izuru.
February 28, 2013
Learn about New Mexico's amazing falcon species. The first in a series, you will learn about the American kestrel (or as some like to call it, the Arthropod Hawk). Please visit this url to view our February newsletter: http://e2.ma/message/7j33c/3svgj. Photo of Squirt, TWC's American kestrel by Izuru.
January 31, 2013
Thank you to all of TWC's supporters in 2012. We could not do our work without you! Please read: 2012 - By the Numbers - to learn what you supported. http://e2.ma/message/jdmzc/3svgj Photo of River Classroom participants by Katherine Eagleson.
December 28, 2012
Do you get frustrated by all the negative news regarding our environment? Read our December newsletter to find out about all the good that is being done and the positive strides we are making. Please visit this url to see our latest newsletter: http://e2.ma/message/vacvc/3svgj. Photo of Otero Mesa, NM by Katherine Eagleson.
November 29, 2012
Why do birds flock? How do they move seemingly simultaneously? To find out, see our November e-newsletter on "Flocking." Visit this url: http://e2.ma/message/r37rc/3svgj. Photo of a mixed flock of Western Sandpipers and Dunlin. Photo by K. Eagleson.
October 31, 2012
The Wildlife Center has recently entered into a partnership with RD Wildlife Management to support their nonprofit initiative to fight white-nose syndrome in bats. To learn more about the amazing bat, please check out our October newsletter: http://e2.ma/message/rv1pc/3svgj. Photo of a pallid bat by Holly Smith.
September 28, 2012
TWC's September newsletter is about the ongoing effects of pesticides on wildlife and humans, in light of the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Silent Spring." Please go to this url to view the newsletter:(http://e2.ma/message/38jmc/3svgj). Photo of a Peregrine Falcon rehabilitating from a wing fracture at TWC. Photo by K. Grant.
September 13, 2012
The following animals are a few of the species still rehabilitating at The Wildlife Center: mule deer fawns, elk calf, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and numerous other raptors, songbirds and mammals. This is what they need to eat, and what will help us care for them: • Dark leafy greens (no iceberg or cabbage) • Grapes • Blueberries/Blackberries/ Raspberries • Apples • Wild Dove Food • Finch and Canary Seed • Wild Bird Seed (limited amounts) • Bleach • Powdered Laundry Detergent • Paper Towels • Kleenex • Ziploc Bags – Freezer, Quart and Gallon • Copy Paper. Fresh cut branches of the following (with or without fruit): • Fruit trees • Crabapple trees • Chokecherry trees • Plum trees • Mulberry trees • Aspen trees • Cottonwood trees • Willow trees. Photo of a Black-crowned Night Heron by K. Grant.
August 30, 2012
August's newsletter focuses on water issues in New Mexico and beyond. Please visit this URL http://e2.ma/message/rjcic/3svgj to view the newsletter.
July 25, 2012
Please check out our July newsletter (http://e2.ma/message/fu06b/3svgj) for the latest on TWC happenings. Photo of Katherine Eagleson with Grace the Golden Eagle.
July 24, 2012
The Wildlife Center, located near Espanola, New Mexico has an immediate opening for a skilled wildlife rehabilitator. We are seeking a person with at least three years experience in rehabilitation work with both avian and mammal species. A current veterinary technician certificate or a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology or related field is required. This position is a full-time position with the possibility of job-sharing duties with a local shelter. However, the majority of the work will be with The Wildlife Center. The Wildlife Center is a non-profit wildlife hospital and environmental education center. We have a full service wildlife hospital with veterinarians on contract. The center treats between 800 and 1,000 wild animals a year representing between 125 and 150 different species. We offer a competitive salary and full health insurance benefits. Please submit your resume, contact information for three current references from work associates and supervisors and a cover letter to Katherine@thewildlifecenter.org or mail your application materials to: Katherine Eagleson, The Wildlife Center, P.O. Box 246, Espanola, NM 87532. Application deadline: until position is filled. You may view current pictures of our work on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wildlife-Center/191467244161
June 28, 2012
Baby Season is in full swing at The Wildlife Center. To learn about all the orphans and see photos, please see our June newsletter online (http://e2.ma/message/zh0pb/3svgj). Photo by K. Grant of grey foxes rescued from Ruidoso during fire.
The Wildlife Center's May newsletter focuses on the impacts that outdoor/feral cats have on native wildlife populations. Please visit (http://e2.ma/message/n4lkb/7rhsj) to view this article. Myotis bat recovering from cat attack. Photo: K. Eagleson.
April 30, 2012
Please visit this url: (http://e2.ma/message/z95cb/3svgj) to view our April Newsletter about a recently released mountain lion. Photo by Alissa Mundt.
Please go to the following URL (http://e2.ma/message/bj9ab/3svgj) to view our March issue of the Wild Times e-newsletter. The issue is about phenology - the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle stages. Photo of a honeybee on a Pin Cherry blossom by K. Eagleson.
February 28, 2012
Please go to the following URL (http://e2.ma/message/vi28/3svgj ) to view our February issue of the Wild Times e-newsletter. The issue is about golden eagles in New Mexico. Photo of Grace, TWC's educational golden eagle. Grace helped to capture/release six golden eagles this month near Hatch, NM. Photo by K. Eagleson.
January 31, 2012
Please go to the following URL (http://e2.ma/message/zh4k/7rhsj) to view our January e-newsletter. The newsletter provides statistics and photos of our work in 2011. River Classroom Participants. Photo by K. Eagleson
December 30, 2011
Please go to the following URL (https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:1363829.7708014484/rid:72fea7f1ed64f9ec757f7b6493d16b5a) to read the December 2011 e-newsletter about the amazing phenomenon of hibernation. Black bear release photo by JoAnn Lysne
22 December 2011
On December 5th, amid the snow storm we all experienced, a kind couple in Taos rescued an Eared grebe at the Taos Ski Valley and transported him to TWC (brave souls!). The little bird presumably got off course in the storm and decided to go skiing. He was a little thin, but otherwise in good condition. He was quite hungry and enjoyed swimming in the tub, snatching up mealworms and minnows as fast as I could give them. After a few days of fattening up he was ready to go and join up with other grebes at the Rio Grande Nature Center in Albuquerque for the winter. Photos by: Kerrin Grant and Alissa Mundt
14 December 2011
Exciting news! The four Mule Deer fawns that had been receiving care at TWC since July have been released! The fawns, roughly 5 months of age, were released on a remote, private property where hunting is not allowed and several wild deer herds commonly gather. Thank you for all your support and donations that made caring for these critters another TWC success!
8 November 2011
Bar-B-Qs, watermelon, ice cream treats --- summertime fun. This past summer, in particular, was hot and dry, so begged for summer treats to cool us down and quench our thirst. One of my favorite treats on a hot summer day is the Sonic Blast --- especially the Snickers flavor. Hmmm, hmmm good! For those of you who have also enjoyed the Sonic Blast, you know the cup containing the ice cream treat has a clear, domed lid that has a large hole in the top so you can scoop out the snack with a spoon. In September of this year, TWC received an adult striped skunk that had her neck stuck in a Sonic Blast lid. The hole in the top was just big enough for her to get her head through, but not the rest of her body; nor was she able to push off the lid with her front feet. It acted similarly to the e-collars put on dogs and cats after surgery to prevent scratching at their incision site. But unlike an e-collar, the edge of the lid was tight around her neck and cut into her flesh. As time wore on, the wound became deeper and deeper and became infected. Soon flies laid their eggs in the wound; maggots hatched and crawled throughout the wound to feed on the infected tissue. If this animal didn’t receive help soon, she would either die from the infection or from starvation, as she was unable to dig for bugs to eat. Fortunately, someone saw the skunk in distress and brought her to TWC for care. At intake, the wound was severe and encircled her entire neck and extended under one front leg. She was weak, underweight and covered with fleas, all indications that the obstruction around her neck impaired ability to find food and take care of herself. The wound was cleaned and she was started on antibiotics. Over time the wound healed and she only had a thick scar as a lifelong reminder of her ordeal. She gained 1 ½ pounds during the three week stay at TWC. Since she was an adult, she could still be released in the fall. We took her to a forested area in Albuquerque so she could still have nice weather for a while as she adapted to her new home. This skunk was very fortunate in that someone saw she was in distress and rescued her while there was still time to help. Many animals are not so fortunate and succumb to starvation when they get caught in debris left at roadsides, in forests and along lake and riverbanks. This is another reminder of how we, as stewards of the Earth, are responsible for picking up after ourselves when we are out in nature. Many times bags from fast food restaurants, soft drink cups, lids from ice cream treats and other items have tidbits of food on or in them which attract hungry animals to investigate. Unknowingly they find themselves the victims of these various packaging devices that entrap and possibly result in their deaths. So please be mindful about throwing trash out a car window or leaving debris at campsites. These items may seem innocuous, but are in fact, potential death traps for wildlife. Story by: Kerrin Grant Photos by: Lisa Morgan and Alissa Mundt
3 November 2011
The Wildlife Center is currently in need of nuts for our rehabbing Mule Deer Fawns. If you have a surplus, we are looking for Acorns, Pecans, Piñon, and shelled Walnuts to feed them during the fall months. Additionally, we are still in need of dark leafy greens (Kale, Romaine, Mustard and Dandelion greens, etc), apples, pears and grapes.
10 October 2011
Walk on the Wild Side
The Wildlife Center in Española—New Mexico’s only wildlife hospital—turns 25 this year. Founded by veterinarian Kathleen Ramsay in 1986 as a raptor rehabilitation facility, today the center treats all the state’s endemic species, from hawks and owls to cougars and black bears. In a typical year, more than 1,000 animals are brought into the center’s ICU, for ailments ranging from domestic cat bites to gunshot wounds.
While the center has an impressive success rate of releasing animals back into the wild, its ultimate goal is to promote an ethic of wildlife stewardship. “People protect what they value, and they value what they have an engagement with,” says executive director Katherine Eagleson. Encouraging site visits to the center is one way the nonprofit—staffed by eight full- and part-time employees and assisted by more than 75 volunteers— facilitates a connection to wildlife on a personal level. Visitors can take self-guided tours along the center’s “Wild Walk” and learn about resident species (such as the golden eagle, foxes, and bobcats) that cannot be released back into the wild due to injuries or having become imprinted on humans. Literature at the center provides information about where the 30-plus animals on view were found and how they were harmed, and skilled handlers, who are available for questions, can be seen feeding and tending to the animals in various ways.
Educational programs, both on- and off-site, present the biggest opportunity for the center to foster an appreciation among New Mexicans for the importance of preserving habitats and therefore safeguarding indigenous animals. One of the most popular annual events takes place at Abiquiú Lake during the first weekend in January, when the public can assist the center and the Army Corps of Engineers in counting migratory bald eagles. The center knows that it is outreach initiatives like this that will impact the survival of the state’s wildlife the most. “We’re not going to save any species by fixing broken wings,” Eagleson notes. “We are only going to save species by educating people to protect habitats.” For more information, visit thewildlifecenter.org.
Steven Horak, as published in the Santa Fean, October/November 2011
30 April 2011
On October 25, 2010 The Wildlife Center received an injured female golden eagle. Her right eye had been injured and needed treatment, but during the intake exam, it was discovered she was emaciated and on the verge of death from starvation. The average weight for an adult female golden eagle is 4 – 6 kg (8.8 – 13 lbs). This bird weighed a mere 2.8 kg (6.2 lbs), which was half her normal weight range. Because of her eye injury, which may have resulted from a collision with a car, she was probably unable to find enough food to maintain adequate weight. Additionally, all of her tail feathers were missing, which would have made it even more difficult to capture prey. As the story goes, the missing tail feathers were human-caused. Someone found the eagle on Navajo Nation land, possibly on the ground, too weak to escape or defend herself from attack, and pulled out all of the feathers. Native Americans are allowed to possess eagle feathers, with proper authorization, for use in religious and spiritual ceremonies. Eagle feathers represent strength, courage and dignity. It is unlawful, however, for anyone to strip feathers from a live eagle, and is considered inhumane to do so. But whoever was responsible for this act may not have known that, felt entitled to take the feathers, or may have thought the bird was going to die anyway --- so left her --- helpless to care for herself. Fortunately someone else came along and found the bird, weak, emaciated and stripped of her dignity. They took her to the Navaho Fish and Wildlife Conservation organization, who cared for her until she could be transported to The Wildlife Center. She was so weak at intake she couldn’t even hold up her head, let alone stand or perch. She was passive and quiet ---- no more fight in her --- a very bad sign. She was given supportive care and then allowed to rest --- I didn’t expect her to survive the night. The following morning I came in to find a bird that was still very weak but alive. She was fed a special diet for emaciated birds over the course of several days until her digestive tract was strong enough to handle solid food. She made progress every day and quickly increased her weight to 5 kg (11 lbs). Even her tail feathers started to grow back. After we corrected her weight issue, we turned our attention to her eye injury. The trauma was severe and we didn’t know if her sight would be good enough to allow for her release, but that’s what we hoped for, and what she deserved. If not, we would find a permanent home for her and she would live the rest of her life in captivity --- a sad end to this majestic bird’s story. Fast forward a few weeks --- the damage to the eye was too severe to save it. A surgical procedure was performed that involved removing all parts of the eye. Her fate was sealed ---- she would not be able to return to the wild, as we had hoped. This bird had endured so much, and deserved more than we were able to give in order to help her live her life as intended. And if that wasn’t enough, she faced yet another hurdle. For some reason, which is still unknown, she was unable to feed herself after surgery. Prior to that she had a ravenous appetite and inhaled her food as soon as it was presented. Now, she was unable to find or grasp the food. Initially we thought it was residual pain since eye surgery tends to cause severe headaches. We provided strong pain medication, but even days later, when the pain should have subsided, she could not feed herself. The staff hand-fed her daily to keep her weight up. Even though she had had very negative associations with humans, she patiently sat on her perch and allowed us to open her mouth and put pieces of food in for her to eat. Weeks went by and no progress in her ability to take food on her own. We moved her to an outdoor mew so she could get fresh air and exercise, but we still had to feed her by hand. Now we were in a very precarious position because if she couldn’t self-feed, we wouldn’t be able to find her a permanent home, but would be forced to euthanize her. Everyone at The Wildlife Center was rooting for her and we were determined to exhaust every avenue to help her --- euthanasia would be the last resort and only done if we thought her quality of life had deteriorated. Over a period of months, we saw miracle after miracle occur as she slowly relearned how to eat. First we had to manually open her mouth and put the food in, then she started taking pieces when we tapped the side of her mouth. Eventually she grabbed pieces from the tongs when held out in front of her, and now she actively takes pieces from a plate and when placed on a log in front of her feet. The next step will be for her to tear apart whole prey and eat with no assistance from staff. We are hoping she will take that next step soon. This Golden Eagle endured pain and suffering at the hands of humans but despite that has allowed us to help her --- an honor very few people have experienced. We have watched, over the course of the past several months, one miracle after another and have seen how perseverance, patience and the strong will to live have helped her regain her dignity and her life. She exemplifies characteristics we should all aspire to have. She has fought through every adversity that has come her way and truly embodies a fighting spirit. She will continue to live at The Wildlife Center for the rest of her life and will eventually become an ambassador for other animals that are negatively impacted by human actions. We are currently trying to find a name for this miracle bird that symbolizes her spirit. Golden eagles are one of the largest raptors in North America and have a wingspan of 6 – 7.5 ft. long. They have been adversely affected by habitat destruction and human encroachment in the past century. Many of the eagles The Wildlife Center receives are victims of collisions with cars and electrocution from power lines. They are protected under the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prevents anyone to kill, capture or take body parts (including feathers) except for authorized parties who have the proper permits. The Wildlife Center is currently one of a few rehabilitation centers in the United States authorized to care for injured Bald and Golden Eagles. Story and Photo by: Kerrin Grant
18 March 2011
The Wildlife Center was featured in the Santa Fe Reporter last week. Follow this link to see the latest ICU activity! http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/blog-2730-espantildeola-javelina-thriving.html
21 January 2011
This Great Horned Owl was presented to the ICU department yesterday caught in a live trap. The person that set out the live trap intended to catch the unknown predator that was killing their chickens. While the general condition of the bird was stable, it was dehydrated, the feather condition was poor and the cere (the soft part of the beak above the nostrils) was swollen and bloody from bashing in the live trap. Upon examination of the owl, the left wing was drooping. Radiographs did not reveal any fractures. However, there appears to be soft tissue damage in the bird’s left wrist joint. The bird’s wing was wrapped to its body to keep the wing stable for healing purposes. It was placed on a medication to control swelling and pain. Only time will tell how well this owl will heal, and if it will be able to be released back in to the wild. This owl weighed in at 1450 grams (3.2 pounds) when admitted to the ICU. Due to this weight, we believe this to be a female owl. Females are generally 20-28% larger than their male counterparts. This phenomenon is also known as sexual dimorphism. It is believed that the females are larger than the males because they are the primary brooders of the eggs that are laid. In New Mexico, Great Horned Owl courtship begins in late fall to early winter; typically in October. The nesting period is from February to April. Hatching of the owlets typically occurs in April. Fledging of the young owlets occurs in May through June. It is believed that this female Great Horned Owl has a mate in the area where she was trapped. Due to her injuries, it is unlikely that she will be able to produce young this year, and it is quite possible that her mate will find another female to nest with. When and should this owl be released back to the wild, it is likely that she will have to find a new mate, as well as new territory. At The Wildlife Center, we do not advocate trapping and releasing animals in new locations. Quite frequently, wildlife that is trapped and relocated either die of starvation or succumb to the aggression of other wild animals that are already occupying the territory that these animals have been released in to. When there is human conflict with wildlife, it is best to ask ourselves what we can do to deter these conflicts from happening. In the case of this Great Horned Owl, the best solution would’ve been to recondition the chicken coop. There are many ways this could have been done. Running chicken wire underneath cage and around the perimeter of the cage would’ve been a good start in deterring predators. Laying pea gravel and hay or straw on top of the chicken wire would’ve allowed the chickens a soft substrate to walk on and lay in. This also would’ve allowed for easy cleaning. Also adding hardwire cloth to the inside walls of the chicken coop would’ve added extra protection from predators while protecting the integrity of the chicken’s feathers. Having doors and windows that close well against the cage and lock, preferably with a pad lock would’ve also allowed for extra protection. Where there is conflict with wildlife, there is almost always a way to remedy the situation without injuring, relocating or interfering with the natural laws of the way our wild neighbors live. Next time you have a conflict with your wild neighbors, ask yourself how you can remedy the situation without interfering with natural laws of nature. Photo and Story by: Lisa Morgan
30 December 2010
At the end of November, a Canada goose was transported to The Wildlife Center from the Las Vegas area of New Mexico. There was a bone sticking out of the lower part of the left leg. Having an exposed bone can be a serious matter in that it acts as a source of infection. Many times these cases do not have a happy ending. But upon looking at the x-ray, it was clear this fracture was old and a callus had already formed. Although the bone ends had “healed” they were not in good alignment, and we had this pesky piece of bone protruding from the body. It was estimated the fracture was 4 – 6 weeks old, but the bird was not putting any weight on it, so definitely needed our help. Dr. Cameron filed off the bone and closed the skin around it, but because the callus was so strong, re-breaking the leg did not seem like the best option. Within a few days post-surgery, the goose was putting some weight on the bad leg. Time in a warm-water bath every day also seemed to improve his ability to bear weight on the foot, although he was definitely “pigeon-toed” on that side. The next step in his rehabilitation was to put him outside so he could exercise the bad leg and re-build the muscle he had lost from not using it for a month or more. He made progress at that step and was walking quite well on his bad leg within a short time, although the “pigeon-toed” stance will be a permanent fixture since it was caused by the way the bone ends healed. The last step in his rehabilitation concerns flight. He has to be able to run a few steps to get lift, and then has to be able to support his body with his flight muscles. Additionally, we have to make sure that when he is released, he will be able to run well enough to dodge potential predators such as raccoons. He is making progress every day and has even flown short distances. Because there are year-round resident Canada geese in New Mexico, we will be able to release him as soon as he passes all of the tests and demonstrates he can adequately care for himself in the wild, which should be sometime in late-winter to early spring. Until then we will enjoy the daily honking we hear as we chase him around the flight cage to encourage his practice flights. Story by: Kerrin Grant
August 25, 2010
July 28, 2010
Barn owl #1 is released with two other barn owls on a farm in Nambe! This was an excellent outcome for a bird that upon intake was thought to have a minimal chance of release.
July 16, 2010
At two months of age, barn owl #1 was moved into an outdoor mew with other barn owls so he could develop his flight muscles. Less than a month later, he started mouse school where he had to hunt for his own food. He did as well as all the other owls, so graduated with flying colors.
May 20, 2010
Barn owl #1, the owl with MBD, also had a fractured leg, but the bones were in good alignment so it could heal with just a splint. The leg fracture healed and with proper nutrition and growth, the wing abnormality resolved. At this point we needed to determine whether or not he would have normal flight to determine if he could be released. The single chick was given a buddy from another group of nestlings and continued to grow and bond with the other barn owls.
Barn owls #2 and 3 underwent surgery for the fractures in their legs. Barn owl #3 was euthanized because there were multiple complications and it appeared to be suffering. Barn owl #2 also had surgery to repair its fractured leg and developed complications. This is common with young birds because of an undeveloped immune system and possibly lower pain threshold. As a result, barn owl #2 was euthanized as well.
April 24, 2010
Every spring The Wildlife Center receives orphaned owls. This year, we received 16 young barn owls during Baby Season. The first batch arrived on April 24th from Lake Arthur, NM. They were three nestlings, under a week old, whose nest had blown down. All three had broken legs and one also had signs of metabolic bone disease (MBD), as demonstrated by a twisted portion of the wing near the wrist. MBD results from inadequate nutrients during development and is somewhat common in barn owl fledglings. This is presumably because there is not enough food for all the chicks in large clutches. As a result of the severity of the fractures and the MBD, the prognosis for all three owls was poor.
April 20, 2010
The barn owl (Tyto alba) is the most widespread of all owl species around the world. Alba is the only representative of the Tyto genus in North America. It looks quite different from the other owls. While the owl is widespread it will not be found in high latitude territories or at very high altitudes. It can be found in New Mexico at middle and low elevations, preferring open country with appropriate nest and roost sites. Favorite nest sites seem to be cliffs and steep arroyos, abandoned man-made structures and bosque areas that boarder agricultural fields and open grassland. Changing agricultural practices in the upper mid-west may be the cause of the dramatic declines there. The barn owl is listed as endangered in six mid-western states and a species of special concern in nine others. While none of the other twelve species of owl found in New Mexico build their own nests, the Barn Owl may excavate a burrow in an arroyo wall. It will also readily use natural cavities, abandoned structures or nest boxes constructed and placed especially for them.