Thursday, August 18, 2011

Plan ahead if tree trimming is in your future

Springtime may seem like a long way off, but for those homeowners whose spring clean-up activities will include cutting down unwanted or dead trees there is good reason to make those plans now rather than later. Even though spring means that the weather starts to cooperate and trees may still be dormant, it is the worst time of year to cut or remove them, at least for your wild neighbors. Right now squirrels and some birds, raccoons and a few other species are still nesting in Wisconsin trees, but soon, as the days become shorter and the nights cooler, they will have begun the transition into adulthood. Early-mid fall is not only after the nesting season is done but it is also before most mammals begin using trees for winter dens making it the ideal time for removing trees while having the least negative impact.

Great Horned Owls start nesting as early as January, often in old hawk or crow nests built in numerous types of trees. As the spring progresses, tree squirrels, raccoons, and many bird species build their nests and raise their young in trees. Cutting down trees in the spring and summer can destroy nests and animals can be displaced, injured, or even killed in the process. We get a number of babies like squirrels, raccoons and a wide variety of birds whose nests or families have been destroyed from tree removal and trimming throughout these seasons.

Thanks to Volunteer and Photographer, Katie Pfaff for this photo of a playful raccoon being rehabilitated after his nest tree was cut down killing his mother and several of his siblings.

If a dead tree is not posing a threat to your home or other buildings, you could even consider leaving it, or only cutting off the most dangerous branches. There are a number of good reasons to keep them around for the sake of your wild neighbors. Dead trees (called snags) provide important habitat for many species of wildlife. Woodpeckers often use snags as a source of their insect diet. They also drill holes (cavities) in live and dead trees which they use for nesting. These cavities are important nest sites for a number of other cavity-nesting species that don’t have the ability to make holes in trees themselves; these include chickadees, bluebirds, and kestrels. Snags also provide den sites (both nesting and wintering) for many mammal species including squirrels, raccoons, and even bears.

So, whether you are still relishing the summer sun or looking forward to the first crisp fall day, look up the next time you are outside and if tree removal is in your future, plan accordingly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Busiest Day

June is always our busiest month of the year at the height of summer and prime time for summer babies as well as adult wildlife. And every year one of those busy June days yields the “Most Patients Admitted in a Single Day.” In 2011 that day was Friday, June 3 when we admitted 30 animals of 8 species.

Species                 Age           Reason for admission     City of Origin

American Woodcock     Adult       internal injuries             Waukesha

Big Brown Bat     Adult     Found in garage, unable to fly      Brookfield

Common Grackle     Juvenile  Unable to fly, fractured wings    Jefferson

Common Grackle      Juvenile    Found on ground calling        Sullivan

Eastern Cottontail        Infant    Nest found by cat               Hartland

Eastern Cottontail        Infant    Nest found by cat               Hartland

Eastern Cottontail        Infant    Nest found by cat               Hartland

Eastern Cottontail       Infant     Nest found by cat               Hartland

Eastern Cottontail        Infant    Nest found by cat               Hartland

Eastern Cottontail        Infant     Nest found by cat              Hartland

Eastern Cottontail        Infant      Cat attack                        Mukwonago

Eastern Cottontail        Infant      Cat attack                        Mukwonago

Eastern Cottontail        Infant      Cat attack                        Mukwonago

Eastern Cottontail        Infant       Cat attack                        Mukwonago

Eastern Cottontail        Infant      Dog Attack                         Hartland

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping   Watertown

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping   Watertown

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping   Watertown

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping   Watertown

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping   Watertown

Eastern Cottontail   Juvenile   Nest dug up while landscaping    Watertown

Eastern Gray Squirrel    Infant      Fell from tree               Oconomowoc

Eastern Gray Squirrel   Juvenile    Fell from tree               Oconomowoc

European Starling    Juvenile    CNS issue/disorder           Waukesha

Raccoon           Juvenile    Fell out of tree onto driveway    Mukwonago

Raccoon            Juvenile   Mom hit by car                      Oconomowoc

Raccoon            Juvenile   Mom hit by car                      Oconomowoc

Raccoon            Juvenile   Found in garage screaming      East Troy

Raccoon            Juvenile   Found in garage screaming      East Troy

Wood Duck         Infant     Wandering in road                    Waterloo

A close second in admissions was Monday, June 27 with 29 animals admitted of 14 different species. Does that date sound familiar? That was the opening day for our new facility! I guess the wildlife all wanted to be the first to see the new building. Here’s who came in that day.

Species               Age           Reason for admission                   City of Origin

American Crow     Adult    Found along road with fractured spine   Brookfield

American Toad    Adult     Found in yard disemboweled                Eagle

House Finch         Adult                Stuck in Jelly                         Dousman

Midland Painted Turtle    Adult       Hit by Car, fractured bridge      Waukesha

Mourning Dove       Adult      Flapping on ground, fractured keel             Hartland

Western Painted Turtle  Adult    Hit By Car, fractured shell, spinal injuries    Colgate

Woodchuck                   Adult      Hit by car, fractured leg              Delafield

Brown-headed Cowbird   Infant  Blown out of nest, fractured leg     Waukesha

Brown-headed Cowbird     Infant     Blown out of nest                  Waukesha

Sandhill Crane      Infant         Dog scared away parents           Oconomowoc

American Robin    Juvenile      Found on ground, CNS issues    New Berlin

American Robin    Juvenile      Found on ground                        Waukesha

American Robin   Juvenile       Found on sidewalk                     Waukesha

American Robin  Juvenile       Found on sidewalk                       Waukesha

American Robin   Juvenile       Found on sidewalk                      Waukesha

Brown Thrasher   Juvenile       Found on ground, CNS issues      Waukesha

European Starling    Juvenile   Fell out of nest, fractured wing      Oconomowoc

House Finch   Juvenile  Mom stopped going to nest 2 days ago    Delafield

House Finch   Juvenile  Mom stopped going to nest 2 days ago    Delafield

House Finch   Juvenile  Mom stopped going to nest 2 days ago    Delafield

House Finch   Juvenile  Mom stopped going to nest 2 days ago    Delafield

House Finch   Juvenile   Mom stopped going to nest 2 days ago    Delafield

Raccoon         Juvenile     Found in yard limping             Oconomowoc

Raccoon         Juvenile     Found on road, fractured leg    Waukesha

Mallard           Infant          No Mom                               Waukesha

Mallard           Infant          No Mom                               Waukesha

Mallard           Infant          No Mom                                Waukesha

Mallard           Infant           No Mom                               Waukesha

Mallard           Infant           No Mom                               Waukesha

For the entire month of June the Wildlife In Need Center admitted 443 wildlife patients of 56 different species. And we packed, moved and unpacked the entire operation as well that month including moving all the patients we had in care from the previous months. June was pretty busy for all the tired staff and wonderful volunteers of WINC. But our new home is wonderful and was worth all the hard work!

June 2011                             Species Number

13 lined Ground Squirrel             8

American Crow                          4

American Robin                        42

American Toad                           2

American Woodcock                  1

Baltimore Oriole                         1

Barn Swallow                             3

Big Brown Bat                            3

Black-capped Chickadee         10

Blue Jay                                     1

Brown Thrasher                         1

Brown-headed Cowbird            2

Canada Goose                          2

Chimney Swift                           1

Cliff Swallow                             1

Common Grackle                     11

Downy Woodpecker                 5

Eastern Bluebird                         1

Eastern Chipmunk                    11

Eastern Cottontail                     57

Eastern Gray Squirrel                 9

European Starling                     19

Great Blue Heron                       1

Great Horned Owl                     2

Green Frog                                1

Hooded Merganser                    1

House Finch                             15

House Sparrow                        14

Mallard                                    40

Midland Painted Turtle               2

Mourning Dove                        11

Muscovy Duck                           1

Northern Cardinal                       1

Northern Flicker                         1

Painted Turtle                             1

Raccoon                                  80

Red Fox                                     1

Red Squirrel                                2

Red-bellied Woodpecker            3

Red-tailed Hawk                         6

Red-winged Blackbird                 1

Rock Pigeon                                3

Ruby-throated Humming Bird      2

Sandhill Crane                             2

Snapping Turtle                           4

Sora                                            1

Southern Flying Squirrel               1

Tree Swallow                              1

Virginia Opossum                      14

Western Painted Turtle                5

White-breasted Nuthatch             1

White-footed Mouse                   1

White-tailed Deer                        1

Wild Turkey                                2

Wood Duck                              16

Woodchuck                              10

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Miracles Happen Everyday

Well actually a "Miracle" (having the Wildlife In Need Center and our children's environmental education project funded) did not happen today. However, each day a wild animal makes it through our doors, or is set free after rehabilitation, a new volunteer gains experience and insight they couldn't get anywhere else, or a child's world is changed forever by meeting our educational ambassador, Dakota, the Great Horned Owl - we consider that a miracle.

While I do wish I were writing to tell you all that we had just been chosen as one of Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Miracle Charities for 2011, and the amazing things we’d hoped to do with the opportunity, that's not the case for this year. We do however, have a number of interesting and exciting projects in the works that I wanted to tell you about.

You should already know about our various volunteer programs, outreach programs, and of course our focus on continuing to provide the best rehabilitation to our wild neighbors possible. I thought you might be interested in a few other projects that we’re working on which you may not have heard about until now.

Did you know that an important segment of WINC’s mission from the beginning has been to provide education to the public for the benefit of our wild neighbors? In addition to providing answers via phone, website, and other means (like our blog!), for nearly a decade we’ve offered environmental education programs featuring our ambassador animals on an outreach basis through as many as 120 outreach programs a year! Now that supporters like you have helped us reach new heights with the completion of our new facility we hope your generosity will continue to help us soar even higher with these unique education-focused projects.
  1. One project WINC is collaborating on is focused on connecting children and wildlife through learning. This project involves long-time supporter, Rebecca Seymour, and children’s author and President of The Little Environmentalists, Rebecca Mattano, as well as staff and volunteers of WINC. Our team is creating a book featuring the educational animal ambassadors that can be used in conjunction with as well as independently of the general educational programming we’re already providing.
When used during one of our programs, children of all ages, from tots to seniors, will have the chance to revisit the experience that they had meeting Dakota, Waldo, and even Daphne, in this book that will remain with their classroom or activity coordinator. Those who, for whatever reason, don’t have the option of a live program could request several copies of this book through which any educator could offer a unique experience on its own to their students.

These books would also be available to anyone visiting the new WINC facility, whether simply to browse through or to purchase to take home and use to educate their own friends and family. The total budget for this project is $10,000. Donated time from both Rebecca Seymour and Rebecca Mattano, funds from sales at The Little Environmentalists, as well as a $1,000 grant already received from the Greater Oconomowoc Area Foundation have helped to bring the amount we still need before going to print to $6,500. Once the books are printed, funds from any sold here in our office will be saved to pay for future printings.

Are you interested in finding our more about this program? Are you a professional designer or editor interested in joining our team, or do you work for a publishing company that might be interested in helping us make this dream project a true reality? Perhaps you’re just interested in making a small contribution to help us get to our goal? If so, please contact us today!

Stay tuned to future posts for more unique projects you may not know about going on at WINC that you can get involved with!