Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

March 2, 2004 > Winter at the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Winter at the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

by Connie Nelson, OHS Wildlife Director

The wildlife of Fremont, Newark and Union City have had a fairly typical winter. The gulls of the area have landed in driveways, run into structures, and broken their wings. A muskrat recently was picked up walking down the sidewalk and passed away that evening. Young hawks who didn't learn to hunt as well as they needed to have arrived thin and in need of food. Adult hawks have arrived with broken wings. Pigeons continue to arrive with wounds from hawks and cats. Young hummingbirds who have lost their parents are starting to arrive. Any minute now the baby squirrels will start coming in. The songbirds are starting to flirt with each other and the outdoor cats will start finding them.

This has been the most productive winter at our center. I've never been so excited and so inspired by all those around me. Last year we had some traumatic damage done to some of our outside caging by ground squirrels, feral cats and a fox. One or all of these little guys figured out how to chew through our caging and help themselves to the meals laid out for our rehab animals. In the process of course, we lost animals.

This winter, Brooks Loeffler, Patty Castle, Joe Stortz, Kevin Henderson and Paul Arvin went to work and the results are better than we could ever imagine. Our duck, mammals and small raptor aviaries have been redesigned and rebuilt to discourage intruders. Many improvements have also been made to the inside of our center. They have invested hours and hours - their entire winter - in designing and labor. The results are near perfection!

Karen Henderson, Helen Wiedeman, Ruth Poole, Leslie Barouch, Patty Castle, Angela Hartman, Paul Arvin and I have covered the phones throughout the winter and taken in many injured critters. As always, Dr. Freeman and his wonderful staff at All About Pets in Union City, have been instrumental in helping us with these animals. There is never any hesitation on their part to do whatever is necessary to get these animals back to the wild.

2003 was a very successful year for the Center and wildlife. We received 887 birds and 97 mammals. 36 % were released back to the wild. This is comparable to all other wildlife centers, of which we are very proud.

We are opening this year on April 1 - two weeks earlier than in previous years! While we answer phone calls and accept animals year round, our building is staffed full time in the spring and summer.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to feed baby birds or to know what to do when you're holding a bird with a broken wing, or a starving baby squirrel? Come to our center and learn all this and more. What animals do we see? Hummingbirds, robins, mockingbirds, starlings, finches, sparrows, towhees, hawks, owls, falcons, opossums, raccoons, squirrels and so much more. Last year we received a baby bobcat! You never know what will come in the door. You will meet some of the most wonderful people in the process. You will be surprised at how many different ways it will enhance your life. Our volunteers are caring, focused and always full of great ideas. The people who take the time to find us and deliver the animals to us are full of compassion and always very nice people.

Volunteers Are Needed
We have 3 shifts per day: 8:30 - 12, 12-3, 3-6. You can work one or more shifts. We are open every day. Due to the nature of our activity, we can only take volunteers 16 years and over. With area high schools participating in the Service Learning program, we have an increasing number of high school students who volunteer. Those of us who are "older folks" really enjoy working with the teenagers. If you'd like to volunteer, please call Angela at 299-7896. She'll send you an application and more information. You'll then be invited to an Orientation at the Center.

Grand Reopening Party and Open House
Because of all the improvements this year, we are planning an Open House at the Center for March 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. As our Center is not open to the public, this is a rare opportunity to see how these animals are cared for.

There is an admission fee! We ask that everyone that comes bring ONE of the following:

heating pads
old t-shirts

airline kennels

paper towels
apples, bananas, grapes

gift certificates from Bogie's, Dale's Hardware, Home Depot, or grocery stores or, of course! OR, sign up to volunteer!

For directions (510) 797-9449

Come to our Open House and see what wildlife rehabilitation is all about!!

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