I feel drained should be my motto from this holiday weekend. Three days were spent working on the plumbing to the house. The drains carrying the gray water away from the kitchen sink, wash machine, dishwasher and the basement sub-pump collapsed. I spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday getting the old lines opened up and new lines installed. I think that I have finally found something that I hate worse than painting. The worse part of the whole weekend was that friends came up this weekend to help finish the construction on the indoor part of the Raptor Center. We could have easily finished the six remaining aviaries with the 3 days that we spent playing human backhoe in the backyard.
It was a very busy weekend of people coming to see llamas for possible adoption and wildlife coming in that needed my immediate attention also. PLEASE read the blog on emergencies. Click on the link to the NY Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Website. Go to their toolbar, click on find a Rehabber close to me..... I received a call on a duckling in Albany this weekend. If I personally went to pick up every animal that needed my help I wouldn't be home to care for everything else that came in. Remember we are volunteers, we do not get paid, you will have to drive to drop off your wildlife in need right now because most wildlife rehabbers are very busy right now.
We had a baby English Sparrow and a Robin come in this weekend. I know that it is tough to find and get ahold of a licensed wildlife rehabber this time of year but try not to hold on to your orphaned wildlife in need. Often hours make a huge difference in saving an animal. I also had an adult House Finch come in this weekend with the eye conjunctivitis thing going on. Very contagious to other birds, often passed at bird feeders. Seems like only the finch species of songbirds are getting it right now but I am sure it is in other species as well. Nasty and I hope that it doesn't spread more. I was amazed that no fawns have come in yet but I am sure that they will be coming in soon. PLEASE leave them where you find them. 90% of the time they dont need your help and are not orphaned. You can tell when a fawn is orphaned by the way it is acting or if you see the dead doe. Fawns by instinct hide in the grass and dont move.
By sat night, I was sick of large holes and plumbing and decided to get away from the facility, the phone calls, and take the kids fishing. We got to a friends farm to fish on his pond (to be sure the kids caught something). I had hardly cast their lines out and my friend showed up and said "Get in the truck quick....there is a baby fox out in the hay field". I grabbed my catch pole and gloves out of the truck. I was expecting a fox with distemper, mnost likely last years kit. Once we got down there, it was a small kit from this year.
The owner of the barn we were near said that he shot a fox recently right by his barn. I dont know why people illegally shoot animals this time a year. Most wild animals have offspring this time of year. When you shoot the parent, you are leaving behind the offspring to suffer a slow death by starvation. I saw the kit, walked slowly up to the kit and caught it with the catch pole. This little female fox was nothing but bones. I went back and collected my kids that were very upset that we only fished for 10 minutes to get the fox back to our facility. I joked with my wife that I cant even go fishing for an hour to escape being a wildlife rehabber without an animal in need finding me. Unfortunately, this little fox had crossed the line into starvation zone. I tried to get him back but he was too far gone and died in my hands sunday morning as I was feeding him. Since I was the only one exposed, he went into the outdoor wood furnace for cremation.
Later in the day 2 great wildlife rehabbers paid me a visit with a little gray fox that they had been working on. They knew that I had some unreleasable foxes and thought that it was time to get the little guy in a spot where he could see other foxes from the safety of his own enclosure. It is very important that wild orphans be raised with species of their own kind. It really helps them from imprinting on humans. As I was showing the ladies around our facility, they got a call that another rehabber had a baby gray fox. They took their fox back home with them so that they could get the other kit later that night to raise the two together. Very cool ladies, great rehabbers.... it isn't about what we want, it is about what is best for the animal. WE cant get attached because we fall in love with something we are caring for, sometimes we all have to make tough decisions for what is best for an animals....regardless how we feel.
Sunday was spent working on the Raptor Center with my friends.....what I really wanted to be doing all weekend versus plumbing. By 8pm, we had gotten almost all of the framing done...we called it a day and everyone went home. I told my wife that I was drained, couldn't eat dinner. I just wanted to take a shower and go to bed after I got the coons fed.
The wife/kids went for ice cream (they brought me back something) and I was going to be to bed early...or so I thought. The Northcountry Animal Hotline called and said that there was a guy with a baby raccoon that he found along side of a road. I called the guy and he agreed to bring me the coon. I got everything set up. He arrived a short time later and I got to work on the coon. She took the bottle well, I noticed that she had some ticks between her toes. The poor thing is nothing but skin and bones....much like the red fox was that died on me because I didn't get it soon enough. As the starving coon was nursing, I started removing ticks. Over 50 ticks later, I have most of them off. I removed almost 20 ticks from the inside of each of her ears. She was amazingly good. She just nursed on her bottle as I removed the blood sucking parasites that would kill her in this weakened state. I am optimistic for her.
The guy that dropped her off did not expose himself in anyway to any of the diseases she could have. He watched me work on her, went to leave around 1130 pm and his car wouldn't start.....nothing is ever easy. I got to bed at midnight, got up at 2 to feed the new coon, overslept but woke up in time to get am chores done and still get to school on time....I feel drained, but I love every second of what I am doing.