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March 8, 2005 > Spring Is Just a Wing-Beat Away

Spring Is Just a Wing-Beat Away

by Nancy Lyon

The Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation program that started over 12 years ago operating out the garages of dedicated volunteers, is now in its seventh year at our center offering sanctuary and care for our area's injured and orphaned wild critters. As a critical care center, the operation has run exceptionally well due to the staff of hard working volunteers who have developed into a team of trained pros ready and able to respond to wildlife emergencies.

Connie Nelson, OHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Director, spoke of David Anderson as an example of that dedication and compassion. David is a vet tech at All About Pets Veterinary Center in Union City, and has been one of OHS's most valued wildlife volunteers for almost a year. A few months ago he picked up a turkey vulture that had a back injury. X-rays showed that there was hope, but Dr. Monie at All About Pets couldn't guarantee that the bird would eventually fly well enough to be released. As turkey vultures spend much of their day soaring, they need to be perfect fliers.

David spent months working with this bird by providing daily physical therapy and closely monitoring his nutrition, all the while keeping the bird wild. Add to this the fact that turkey vultures have a definite "aroma" which did not make David's family members very happy. After over three months of hoping and hard work, one morning David looked into the bird's eyes and realized that it was time to give this bird one last gift and allow him a peaceful release from this life.

So, next time you see a turkey vulture soaring high, send a quiet "thank you" to David for all of his hard work and his love of turkey vultures.

Although more than a third of the birds and other wildlife brought to the OHS Wildlife Center in a year are successfully released back into the wild, winters are always difficult. Most of the animals we receive have injuries or illnesses that are beyond our help. The most important thing we can do is giving them an easy release and a quiet, warm place to pass.

Our winter team has done a wonderful job of handling the calls and intakes. Now that winter is nearly behind us, our wonderful wildlife rehabilitation volunteers are rapidly preparing for spring. The wildlife center has already received three juvenile hummingbirds and two baby pigeons. A reminder to us that spring is right around the corner. The baby squirrels will be arriving shortly, then the sparrows, finches, robins, jays, opossums, doves, mockingbirds, red tail hawks, kestrels, and the list goes on.

Spring is just a wing-beat away and the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is more than prepared! Our volunteer orientations and basic care classes for new volunteers have been scheduled as follows and it's not too late to sign up for the April sessions:

Orientation: Sunday, March 6 & Saturday, April 16
Basic Care Class: Saturday, March 12 & Saturday, April 23

This year, all classes will be held at Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, who has very generously allowed us the use of their conference room.

Second OHS Wildlife Center Grand Re-Opening
For the first time last spring, the wildlife center opened its doors to the public and offered tours of the facility. Because last year's Grand Re-Opening party was such a success, we are once again opening our doors to the public for our second Grand Re-Opening Party, which will become an annual event. This is the only opportunity each year for the public to tour the facility. So, come on out and learn firsthand how wildlife rehabilitation is done.

When: Saturday, March 26 - 11:00 a.m.
Where: 3175 Hickory St., Newark (at the end of the large parking lot)
Phone: (510) 797-9449

Cost of admission is one or more of the following items:

Bird grit
Ceramic crocks
Sod for the aviaries
Laundry soap
Latex gloves
Medical supplies
Dark green vegetables (no iceberg lettuce)
Paper towels
Toilet tissue
Copier paper
Pens and pencils
Prepaid gas cards (to help our transport teams with expenses)
Gift Cards/Certificates to local pet stores or grocery stores

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, call 510-797-9449.
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