Friday, August 17, 2007

See How They Grow!

One of the great things about volunteering at Wolf Hollow, especially during "baby season", is watching the baby...whatevers....develop into adult...whatevers. The mergies (mergansers) we got in are a perfect example.

As a refresher, here is how they looked when they came in a few months ago. Here is the Hooded merganser baby with his mallard swim buddy along with the, up until recently, unidentifiable merganser baby. Much debate has ensued over the past few months regarding what type of merganser he is....Common or Red-breasted:

Then they got big enough to go outside to one of the covered wet tubs.

It seemed like their beaks doubled in length literally overnight! So, they stayed in this tub for awhile, practically living in their swim tub.

See how much they have developed in just a week? After being in the tub for a few weeks, they finally graduated to the Wet Pen!

Bigger bird size means bigger bird food! There is quite the initial rush to the food bowls to see who can inhale the most smelt!

The mallard was released a week ago and the mergansers should be ready for release within the next week or so.


This Unidentifiable Furless Object was found on someone's doorstep. While we knew it was a rodent of some kind, we just didn't know WHICH rodent species it was. And honestly, I don't think very many of us expected it to make it through the night, considering how young it obviously was. But make it, it did. And you know what? When it squeaked for food, the chipmunks FREAKED OUT! So, I immediately figured it was either a baby chipmunk or a predator of some kind. But it was just a waiting game to see if it would live long enough for us to unravel the mystery. I mean, feeding it was nigh on impossible!

Any guesses? Come on...what rodent is tough as nails? Yep.....TADA!!

I just love rats and had one as a pet when I was younger. And this one is a cutie!

Speaking of the chipmunks, they, too, grew up and have been released. Here's a few photos, some of which have been posted before, of that process:

It was a week after I took this last picture that I observed an Oedipal-type act occurring in the tank, at which point, after being observed by Serena, they were declared old enough for release. She then left the room, muttering the whole while under her breath that until such time that they were released she hoped the more delicate sensibilities of some of the younger interns wouldn't be offended!

Look at THIS beauty!

This fox kit was captured by our local airport people after they saw it running around on the tarmac. After they captured it, they found the skeleton of a larger fox nearby that looked like it had been dead for at least a week. We are assuming that was his mother. Upon examination, and I'm sure this comes as no surprise, he was very thin. This also was evident by how he ate his food. Foxes are hoarders and even the blonde fox would take half of her meat pieces and bury them in the dirt or hide them in her house she slept in. Not this guy!

He ate EVERYTHING and in record time as well! On a sad note, at the same time I was feeding him, I gave the blonde fox her food as well. It was at this time that I noticed that her head was turned, permanently, to the right...sharply to the right. At first I thought she was blind, but she could definitely see me. Unfortunately, I guess head traumas can clear up and then BAM! the animal can go right back to square one, which is exactly what happened with her. So after having her for two months and with NO improvement a week after her relapse, they euthanized her.

Can you really call a bird a fledgling if it can't fly?

This Cliff swallow youngster was found on Orcas. And boy are his feathers a MESS! Plus, if you look closely, you will notice that he has a bald lower back! He's definitely one of those cases that comes in and we scratch our heads and say "What the hey?!"

Our long term "head scratcher" case study is still doing fine and has been moved to an outdoor mew.

I, along with others I think, am hoping the sunshine and fresh air will do him some good, feather growing-wise that is!

We have in 19 seals....

and TWENTY baby raccoons!!!!

But I have saved THE COOLEST animal for last. Meet our Hoary bat!

Now, my love of bats has been well documented throughout this blog, but I must say this is the most amazing bat we have ever had in while I have been volunteering there! He is at least twice the size of the Little Brown bats we have had in and he just seems to have more character. We initially tried feeding him mealworms, like we did with the other bats, but he was not having ANY of THAT! So then we defrosted some bloodworms and VOILA!

Yep, he LOVED them! So much so in fact that he got all pissey when we stopped feeding him and went to put him back!

That's it for now. We have such a variety of animals in that it is almost overwhelming trying to decide on which ones to write about. So I will write about the ones that didn't make the cut for this posting next time, including a big move for our fawns! Til next time...


Shannon said...

Yay, an update, finally! Love the bat video! Love it all.

Kari said...

Finally an update!!!! YAY!!!! The fox is a beauty! But a question. Is that a rodent tail sticking out of his mouth in the picture where he is eating? And the bat ROCKS!!!!! Oh, and what type of mergie was that baby? You never said!

Kari said...

ther few questions. Where was the bat found and what is wrong with it? It's really cute!!! :}

Abby Smith said...

Correction: 21 raccoons... at least, that's how many there were when I left... =)

Heather said...

Kari - Yes that is a mouse tail hanging out of the fox's mouth. As for the mergie, it's a Common. Not sure where the bat was found but we did put ointment on some abrasions on his wings.

HI ABBY! Boy, do I miss working with you!!! As for your coon count, we actually lost a baby early this week but did get a grown female in last night that I only found out about this morning. So the count is, once again, 21 coonies!

Abby Smith said...

Hey Heather!

You should email me so I have your address... and then we could be pen pals (keyboard pals?... doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?). And I miss working with and learning from you, too! You're awesome, in case you'd forgotten!


Anonymous said...

hey my mum has found a baby merganser and i was wondering if you had any tips on care of the little guy. my email is