2022 Summer Newsletter | Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
Our Message
A Exciting Season for A Wildlife Exclusion Service
Dear Supporters,

It is no secret that baby season is quite an exciting time for all the programs we run at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. For Animal Care, it is by far the busiest time of year with orphaned wildlife arriving at the center daily in need of long term, supportive care. For our Barn Owl Maintenance Program, we are busy monitoring boxes and checking nesting occupancy. For both A Wildlife Exclusion Service and our Predator Exclusion and Education Program, we are working hard to help our community humanely exclude wildlife that may be denning under homes or near domestic animals, while educating on the importance of co-existing with wildlife.

This baby season has proved to be an especially exciting time for A Wildlife Exclusion Service. As the first Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the country to offer these services, we have learned a lot and grown tremendously since its beginning 18 years ago. We started this program to help our community humanely handle nuisance wildlife issues without the need for trapping and killing, using our work to provide critical education to our customers on the importance of co-existing with their wild neighbors. As most of these issues occur during baby season, when wildlife are more likely to take to subfloors, attics, and under outdoor structures, our services help keep wildlife families together and prevent animals from needlessly becoming orphaned. Additionally, A Wildlife Exclusion Service serves as a source of income for our nonprofit rescue work, as we charge for these professional services.
Starting last year, thanks to Dr. Quinton Martins and his team at True Wild who trained us in using the same cameras as they use in their research with mountain lions (read more about our partnership in our 2021 Summer Newsletter), we began trialing the use trail cameras with our exclusion service to help us in our work. These cameras proved to be especially helpful during baby season, assessing the activity level of animals coming and going, to determine if babies are present. This year, we introduced the use cameras into almost every exclusion consult held, and the difference it has made in our work is astounding. We are learning so much from these cameras and as a result, we are able to come up with unique solutions to help our customers. Additionally, we are able to provide visual aide to help customers engage with the wildlife on their property. Often seeing the animals in this new light helps cultivate compassion for the animals and provide further education on the behaviors and abilities of wildlife.
In this video, we were able to see how this raccoon was utilizing their amazing climbing abilities to get into a small cavity on the side of the chimney to enter the attic.

After monitoring the camera for several days, we were able to determine that this raccoon was visiting infrequently and did not have babies. With this information, we were able to provide the home owner with the final okay to seal up the entry hole once we were sure the raccoon had left.
View more of our exclusion videos on our website here:
We also rolled out a new website for our exclusion services, making it easier for our community to navigate the complex business of wildlife exclusion. This new website includes an expanded self-help section to help our community that may be unable to afford our services or for those who wish to do the work themselves. As wildlife exclusion is a very complex and varying topic, our website must be ever evolving to better serve the needs of our community and most importantly, the animals.
Check out the new Wildlife Exclusion Service website here:
Finally, this year our exclusion service has grown in unique and unexpected way. With the national labor shortage, we have had a very hard time finding the perfect person to fill our service technician position for a little over a year now. In the meantime, we have had to get creative in handling these services so that we can continue helping our community and animals alike. Since most of our staff is extremely knowledgeable about wildlife, especially when it comes to their behaviors and abilities, it seemed only fitting that we all rise to the occasion and help keep this critically important service running. Beginning this last spring, our entire staff was cross trained to conduct consults and meet with our customers regarding their wildlife issues. This temporary solution has worked incredibly well to keep our services running and for our team to learn a new aspect of our work.
Tiffani Kish, Bookkeeper for Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, training on consultation services for A Wildlife Exclusion Service.
Thankfully, Austin Robinson, currently an Animal Care Technician at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, has accepted the position of Exclusion Technician and will start in his new role after baby season subsides. His existing knowledge of wildlife that he has gained through his animal care experience makes him a great fit and we are excited to watch him grow into his new role!
Over these last few months, we have been able learn an incredible amount of new information watching wildlife through our trails cameras and how utilize technology to better serve and educate our community. With these exciting new changes, we cannot help but to be excited for the future of A Wildlife Exclusion Service.


Doris Duncan
Executive Director
Updates & Events
SCWR volunteer, Jerry McGuire, releases Peregrine Falcon in San Diego, CA.
Peregrine Falcon Release
Last week we asked for your help getting a Peregrine Falcon back to its home habitat in San Diego, California. We are ecstatic to say that the release could not have gone smoother and the Peregrine is flying free once again. As promised, here are some of photos and videos of the release.
Thank you to everyone who donated and helped establish the Flight to Freedom Fund! You can read the full story here.
One final hand off before its release! Pilot Ken Wayne, who generously donated his time and plane to transport the Peregrine Falcon from Sonoma County to San Diego, hands the bird over to SCWR Volunteer, Jerry McGuire.
Video footage of Peregrine Falcon's first flight back into the wild.
Help Us Water Our Wildlife Educational Garden
Our Wildlife Education Garden is thriving this year! We have planted 8 beds of sunflowers, among other food, to support our wildlife patients. This unique crop is a valuable food source for many species in our care and its one that can’t be purchased in stores. With baby season reaching its peak, we are hoping to get some help from the community watering and weeding our garden, freeing up much needed staff time.

Volunteering in our garden is a unique way to give back to wildlife and a great way to spend some quiet time outdoors. We have created a sign up for those wanting to help. Our garden is large and needs a lot of tending, so sign-up slots are 4 hours each. Bring your sunhat, water bottle and dress for the weather! Sunscreen is available at the center.
Fall Internship at SCWR
The fall session for our internship program is right around the corner and we are seeking two awesome interns to join our team. If you are looking to gain experience in the world of wildlife rehabilitation, then this internship may be for you!

The recommended application date for the fall internship is July 31st. Read more about our program and apply on our website.
Visit SCWR - Reserve a Spot on a Public Tour
Want to visit Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue in person? Join us for our public tours on Saturdays. During the summer, we host tours at 12 PM and 2 PM. Learn about our wildlife rehabilitation efforts, how we work to serve and educate our community, and visit our Wildlife Education Community & Ambassador Animals.

Read more about our tours and learn how to reserve a spot on our website.
Food Donations Needed
Bear cubs are back at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue! These two female cubs are siblings from Mendocino County. They arrived to us in good health and will be with us until they are ready to return to the wild next spring!

Want to help us with their care? These bears have quite the appetite, alongside the other 120 animals currently in our care. Please help us by donating food.
Sign Up to Donate Food Here:
Community Spotlight:
Our Community
This summer we wanted to use our community spotlight section to thank you, our supporters. Thanks to you, we were able to get our first bear cubs back to their lives in the wild AND begin construction on our Apex Predator Enclosure!

This spring, four black bear cubs were released back to their homes in the wild, in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While we were not expecting to receive bear cubs so quickly after receiving our permits to rehabilitate them, last year’s fire season left many cubs orphaned throughout California and in need of long-term care (read about this story more here).

After receiving the call from CDFW needing space for black bear cubs, we were able to spring into action and make modifications to our existing large predator enclosure to care these cubs. The first few months of the bears' arrival were a whirlwind as we learned the ins and outs of their unique care needs, while also keeping our community involved in their arrival. Thanks to your support through this exciting time, we were able to raise over $400,000 toward our APEX Predator Enclosure after learning just how desperately a larger facility for bear cub care is needed.

Aside from their housing needs, we quickly learned of their unending need for food. These bears, eating nearly 700 pounds of food a week, made for quite the daunting grocery list. Thankfully, you heard our call and stepped in to help. Bags of groceries and loads of home-grown fruits and vegetables arrived to our center, one after the other, and helped feed these cubs These donations saved our center thousands of dollars and fed our wildlife patients beyond the bear cubs.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Your support has proven that getting bears back into the wild truly takes a village.
While we have raised enough funds to begin construction on the Apex Predator Enclosure, we are still fundraising to meet our goal of $500,000.

Donate towards the Apex Predator Enclosure Today!
BOMP Corner
Second Checks for Spring Monitoring
Our Barn Owl Maintenance Program expanded our Monitoring efforts this season in conjunction with Cal Poly Humboldt. As a member of our BOMP Coalition, Professor Dr. Matthew Johnson, works closely with us through his research into Barn Owls at Cal Poly Humboldt.

This spring, with thanks to Dr. Johnson and Aaron Spiller, a recent graduate from Cal Poly Humboldt, we were able to expand the number of checks we perform during nesting season from one to two. Since barn owls are known to nest in early spring up until late summer, the addition of a second check will help expand Cal Poly Humboldt’s research into the nesting behavior of barn owls. This is an important step in understanding barn owl behaviors and enhancing our education of barn owls through our Barn Owl Maintenance Program. Thanks to the income generated from our Barn Owl Maintenance Program’s services, we are able to continue to fund these efforts and will continue to learn from barn owls year after year.
Want to help Cal Poly's research efforts?
Donate Today!
Aaron Spiller preforms second occupancy check on barn owl box at SCWR.
Animal Care Spotlight
The Skillful Task of Reunites
Every baby season, we receive countless calls for potentially orphaned wildlife. When working with the finder on these calls, our first priority is to determine if the animal is actually orphaned or if they have just become separated from their mother. Since we know that wildlife thrives far better when raised by their own parents in the wild, we take great care when we receive orphaned wildlife calls before admitting them into our wildlife hospital.

If the animal is too young to be on its own, but otherwise healthy and recently cared for, we will attempt to return the youngster to its mother. This process is called a reunite attempt and reunite evaluations vary between species. We know through our work, that squirrels are most likely to be found by their mothers within the first several hours after falling from their nests, while raccoon mothers can take up to three days to retrieve their young. Opossums on the other hand are extremely hard to reunite, and require the finder to have eyes on the mom for us to even attempt it.*

Age also plays a large role in our attempts at getting an animal back with its mother in the wild. Early on in baby season, reunites are a little simpler, since the animals are usually not mobile enough to wander off on their own. In most of these situations, we are able to walk the finder through the process fairly easily. As the animals get older and more mobile, reunites take a more creative and collaborative approach. Since mobile animals are unlikely to stay inside of a box, we must involve the use of technology and the finders help to get these young animals back home. Thanks to our new trail cameras that send videos directly to our mobile phones, this baby season we were able to improve on these types of reunite efforts and work with finders to reunite older but still dependent young. Monitoring these lively animals with the use of trail cameras, allows us to make informed decisions on when it is appropriate to reunite these animals with their family or bring an animal into care.

In the video below, you can see a fox kit that was reunited with the use of trail cameras. This fox was thought to be orphaned after construction work in a backyard frightened the family away and left this fox kit alone and scared. Thankfully, after things quieted down that night, the family returned and we were able to get this kit back home. Enjoy the footage captured after the fox was released back with its family!

*Please note that no two reunite attempts are the same, please call our Wildlife Hotline at (707) 526-9453 for our expert advise before attempting to reunite animal on your own.
A gray fox kit plays with its sibling after it was reunited with its family.
Support Your Local Wildlife!
Donate Today!
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that relies on donations from the public to rehabilitate the 1,000+ animals we receive each year. We do not receive any government funding. Our annual operating budget is $1,025,000, which means it costs almost $2,810 per day to keep our doors open.  Any donation helps!
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