Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog

Expect the Unexpected

Since my time as an education outreach extern is coming to a close, I thought I would share a few of my favorite experiences from the last few weeks of my externship– which have been extremely busy. As an outreach extern, I have learned that my job always comes with some surprising tasks.

Just last week, outreach coordinator Raina asked me to make a video to celebrate Shark Week – a weeklong television series that is dedicated to sharks. Raina’s idea for the video featured Wilson in a shark costume (crafted by volunteer Angel Cooper), so how could I resist?

Chim Chim Cher-ee

The Wildlife Center has had a recent influx of orphaned Chimney Swifts, which is pretty exciting since most of these adult birds never sit still long enough for people to get a good look at them. Adult Chimney Swifts are almost always flying, except during nesting season or when roosting [a term used for birds and other animals when they find a place to sleep]. Chimney Swifts are aerial insectivores, which means they eat in flight. They’ve even bath while still in flight by just skimming the surface of the water when they fly by.

Research Mice Repurposed For Wildlife

The animals at the Wildlife Center of Virginia are dependent on rehabilitators to provide them with care. That includes daily meals that closely resembles their natural diet. The Wildlife Center admits around 2,500 animals per year and some of these animals can be quite large with quite an appetite. During one of my last few weeks as a rehabilitation extern, we were rehabilitating four baby Barn Owls who ate around 800 grams of mice a day – which could be as many as 40 mice!

Baby Bird Care

When I found out I was picked for a Wildlife Center wildlife rehabilitation externship scheduled during baby season I was super excited. I figured all the baby mammals would be just too cute to handle (and don’t get me wrong -- they are) but I’ve come to realize that baby birds are some of the most adorable things ever.

The "Bear" Necessities

As a wildlife rehabilitator, I often have a wide variety of tasks to complete in my day-to-day work. Besides the normal duties -- looking after patients, teaching extern students – another large portion of my job is acquiring “stuff”.

Step by Step

In my seven weeks as an education outreach extern at the Wildlife Center, I have learned how extraordinary this organization is. The staff here are unbelievably hard workers -- their dedication to wildlife inspires me everyday to do the best job I can do with my time here at the Wildlife Center.

That being said, I have a pretty broad job description. As an education outreach extern, I spent most of my first few weeks learning about the Wildlife Center. I shadowed numerous tours and programs, soaking up any and all information on our education ambassadors.

An Eastern Screech-Owl's Journey

March 11, 2014, Rockingham County, Virginia.

An Eastern Screech-Owl (EASO) is swooping down within reach of its prey when … wham! It is struck mid-flight by a vehicle. Thus begins the unfortunate story for many Eastern Screech-owls – this one in particular is about one we will call #14-0150. Fortunately for EASO 150, it has been found and brought to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Enrichment at the Wildlife Center

Here at the Wildlife Center of Virginia we care for animals, but what does that actually entail? Well, we have veterinarians to look after any ailments the animal could be suffering from. Then there is the rehabilitation staff who look after the husbandry (daily needs, such as food and water) of the patients. The patients can also receive physical or laser therapy, or even be exercised on a daily basis to prepare them for release. But what about their mental needs? Well, we look after that too!

Reading A Sand County Almanac

I love reading. Fiction, non-fiction, comedy, biographies ... I have favorite authors in several different genres, and I'm always up for trying something new.

Last month I came across an organization that was challenging people to read one book each week for a whole year. The challenge had started in January 2014, so I was a little late to the game, and I wasn't necessarily interested in following the guidelines that this particular organization had laid out for readers.

Farewell to Two Friends -- Two Giants in the Field of Wildlife Rehabilitation

This has been a very sad week for me, personally, and for the wildlife rehabilitation community across North America. Within little more than 24 hours, I lost two of my good friends who were pioneers in the field of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation … indeed, two of our giants in wildlife care. Jay Holcomb, a founder and driving force behind the International Bird Rescue Center, one of the world’s premier oil-spill response organizations, died on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at the age of 63.


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