Center for Wildlife Monthly E-newsletter

Winter Has Arrived
After mild weather and no snow cover, mother nature has finally ushered in the colder weather and snow that keeps our water table full, the hibernators sleeping, and the insects at bay. Although great for our local ecology, three feet in 5 days posed quite a challenge for our tiny full-time staff of 5.

Enter local Navy and Coast guardsmen, on their time off duty they dug out 45 outdoor enclosures that provide shelter to patients in care and our wildlife ambassadors, allowing us to keep up medical care for current patients and keep on admitting new ones.  Thank you Rich, Dan, and Tyler!
A Parliament of Owls

In a week, Center for Wildlife admitted 4 barred owls, making over 10 admitted this winter alone. Adult raptors are among the most typical winter species that we admit, and they have generally been hit by cars. Owl eyes are so prominent, they often suffer head and eye trauma when they are struck by vehicles.  Owl eyes have similar structures in their eyes as humans, and depending on how blunt and forceful the trauma is the injury can actually completely heal.  We have been tracking patients in the WILD-ONe national database since 2012, and with their mapping capabilities and a commitment to consistent terminology, we are hopeful that this data can soon be used to inform communities on signage and other best management recommendations to mitigate injuries to local wildlife. 

We are pleased that two of our winter barred owl  patients have been released, and another has been  cleared for release this week!  As part of assessing them for release, we need to be sure that they are able to hunt, aka feed themselves and avoid starvation post release. 3 staff and an Apprentice gathered recently to peek through the wooden enclosure slats and observe a barred owl patient with mice in his enclosure.  We saw the owl perk it's ears and turn his facial disks towards the sound of the tiny feet on the leaves.  After 15 minutes of baited breath, and watching the barred owl focus in, he swooped down and caught his prey on the first try! 

He was released the next day, back to the forest.  Farewell silent hunter.  

The 3 Amigos
Being a North American porcupine in the wild can be a relatively peaceful existence, given the proper habitat.  With few predators (namely the fisher and humans), a built in suit of armor, and a diet of vegetation, life for a porcupine can be slow paced.  However, enter cars and fragmented or a loss of habitat and life becomes much more challenging.  We have admitted 3 North American porcupines over the past few weeks that were suffering from sarcoptic mange.  This is a condition caused by a naturally occurring mite that attacks the skin tissue, and causes loss of hair, quills, and skin infection.  

It may not be a coincidence that these three porcupines are young males.  Males stay with their mothers for over a year, while the females are on there own within 6 months.  If these males' mothers were hit by cars, they would have been struggling to just stay alive and this naturally occurring mite would take over. All three are eating well and responding to treatment; anti-fungal and antibiotics for the mites and subsequent infection, along with regular skin treatments and washings.  They have lost most of their fur and quills, but are strong survivors and we are sticking with them!  
Outreach for Wildlife- In Real Time
We are proud of the fact that although it can be a struggle to run with no state or federal funding each year, when it comes time to respond to challenges that wildlife face we are not subject to bureaucratic red tape, or a vote before taking action.  When we started seeing a trend of barred owls hit by cars and a rash of North American porcupines with skin disease, we made a concerted effort to reach our community about the fact that wildlife are facing these challenges, what we can do, and the ways that these species health are tied to human health and economy. In case you missed them, here are some great segments on local television and in the news!
Good Day Maine
Kristen and Byron, and Sarah and Henry visited the WGME, CBS 13 studio for two segments with the Good Day Maine team.   Click here to view our first segment, and here to view our second. 

Rob Nesbitt from WSCH 6 recently visited CFW for a tour of our facility and a snapshot of a typical winter day.   Click here to see the feature. 
Nature News
Sue Pike, local science teacher and news reporter wrote this feature article on barred owl ecology, why they are driven to roads, and what we can do about it. Click here for her feature article.    

Michael Winters
Local photographer and artist Michael Winters has signed on for a special project with Center for Wildlife. Featuring caretakers and our wildlife ambassadors, we are cooking up a unique and artistic series of portraits that show "We Are Nature".  Stay tuned!
Survive and Thrive- A Visit to the Krempel's Center

Sarah and our wildlife ambassadors recently visited the Krempels Center, piloting our (hopefully!) grant funded program "Survive and Thrive: The Wild Within".  The program hopes to bring our talented educators and wildlife ambassadors, survivors of trauma themselves, to those in our community that are recovering from illness or trauma.  Here are a few highlights from our recent visit.

Elvis, our California King Snake ambassador, came to us after his owner was no longer able to care for him.  Here a staff member is seen enjoying some "Elvis time," and a member of the community is seen testing his comfort level and trying something new. When discussing snakes and the general fear of them by the public, this gentleman was heard telling Elvis, "It's o.k., you don't have to worry about what people think, they just don't know you."  Elvis tends to resonate with members of the public who feel misunderstood or outcast and has changed many peoples misconceptions about snakes!

Bianca, our Barred Owl ambassador was one of the ambassadors that inspired this program.  Bianca has been with us the longest, over 21 years.  She came to us after being hit by a car and epitomizes the thriving after sustaining a life altering trauma.  She has fostered over 45 orphaned baby Barred Owls from our clinic in her time with us and educated tens of thousands of people.  She is a poster child for Krempels Center's motto, "You are not who you were, be who you are."  The gentleman in the baseball cap said that she was beautiful and like a queen.  He also said he liked that she looked him in his eyes, like she knew him.
Make Way for Ducklings Event
Wentworth Greenhouses, Dover NH

Sunday, March 12th, 11-1pm 
You may notice that the whoo cooks for you, whoo cooks for you all courtship calls of the barred owl have begun echoing through the woods, and squirrels have been chasing each other up and down trees. We delight in these special sights and sounds, but it is important to recognize the impact our winter may have on spring wildlife, what to expect and how to live cohesively to benefit with our wild neighbors so as to benefit us all. 

Be sure to join us for one of our most popular family events of the year, held in partnership for the second time at the beautiful Wentworth Greenhouses.  Meet live animal ambassadors up close among the lush foliage of the greenhouse.  Partake in raffles, kids games, enjoy local food, and take home crafts while supporting our work and learning how to keep wildlife in your neighborhood safe.   Click here for more info. 
Upcoming Events

Saturday, February 18th
Center for Wildlife at Churchill's Gardens
12 Hampton Road, Exeter NH

Gather among the indoor gardens to meet Center for Wildlife raptor, reptile, and mammal ambassadors up close and personal.  Learn about their local ecology, and seasonal adaptations.  Click here to learn more. 

Thursday, February 23rd
CFW, York County Audubon, and Wells Reserve Present...
Winter Wildlife Day
342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells ME
The Wells Reserve, Center for Wildlife, and York County Audubon team up once again to celebrate the wildlife of Southern Maine! Join us for lots of family fun with a live animal presentation, guided walk, storybook reading, and critter crafts in the morning.

Click here for more information.  

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