Monday, June 2, 2008

Health Center Event and Squirrel Freedom

NYWR Photo Slide Show of Saturday's events

Saturday the 31st of May was a busy day for New York Wildlife Rescue Center!

Our local community of Middleburgh celebrated the grand opening of the new Bassett Health Care Center. NYWR was set up with other community organizations in the Middleburgh Central School gymnasium. Along side displays by groups such as the Iroquois Indian Museum and the Middleburgh Volunteer Ambulance Corps, our posters and presentation drew a crowd of visitors. Many stopped by to offer their support, ask questions, and take home brochures and flyers. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with our neighbors about the good work we do.

In addition to the displays, a number of groups put on demonstrations. We enjoyed watching the Flying Mustangs cheer acrobatics group, a karate performance from our local martial arts school, and a delightful childrens' gymnastics demo.

Interest really picked up when our "teachers of honor" showed up a little after noon. In the middle of a torrential downpour, federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators Kelly Martin and Michele Segerberg arrived with their birds of prey. Our visitors had the opportunity to see a Turkey Vulture close up, look a Red Tailed Hawk in the eye, closely examine the beauty of an American Kestrel, and be touched by the wise gaze of a Great Horned Owl. Kelly and Michele were a fountain of fascinating knowledge about the amazing birds in their care, as they answered question and explained about the lives and habits of each species.

Did you know that Turkey Vultures may not be raptors, but may actually be more closely related to storks? Or that they vomit in response to stress? Or that a Red Tailed Hawk who is blind in one eye can fly fairly well ... but has a hard time landing correctly?

The birds themselves were marvelously patient, as well, and weathered the day with calm benevolence.

It's such a pleasure to have Kelly and Michele and their magnificent birds on the New York Wildlife Rescue Center team.

After the event was over, we headed back up to the sanctuary. Some new little rescues had come in -- baby mergansers -- that Wes had to get set up and tend to. We spent some time observing them and working out feeding arrangements.

Then came the next big event of the day: several of the orphaned squirrels, lovingly raised by Darcy, were ready for release. They took to the maple grove in front of the farm house like champs, and had such a great time zipping up and down the branches. Several days later, they're adapting, adjusting, and still hanging around to let us know they're okay. It was an emotional moment, but there is no deeper joy than knowing you've helped a wild creature return to freedom.

Have a wonderful life, little buddies ... and don't forget to write!

No comments: