While many unexpected events happened this year, there are plenty of great memories that I can look back on. One memory that stands out most to me is my first intake of a female Eastern Hog-nosed Snake.
Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog
In a year that turned routine upside down, there was one place I could count on seeing a smile, hearing encouraging words, and walk away with my heart (and car) full!
This will help our Center illustrate the danger that lead toxicity poses to raptors; if even just one person that hears what happened makes the change to prevent lead from getting into the environment, then it might even save another eagle’s life.
Reflecting on 2020, it’s kind of hard to imagine a time that was pre-COVID, before all the madness that consumes our everyday lives now, but my favorite memory from 2020 was actually from very early on this year, back in March when several WCV staff members attended the annual NWRA symposium.
This was my first experience with such intense bear cub feedings … and it was worth every moment.
Over the last 11 weeks, I have had the opportunity to complete a rehabilitation externship at the Wildlife Center of Virginia and it has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. While the first two weeks were a bit of a transitional period for me, I quickly realized just how amazing this experience was going to be.
It is Saturday, September 12th, 2020, shortly after 1:00 pm. A thick fog blankets Rockfish Gap as my 2009 Hyundai Sonata makes it way eastward toward my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. There is a Broad-Winged Hawk sitting in the back seat. This is distinctly not where I am supposed to be.
I woke up early that Sunday morning, climbing out of my tent before the sun clawed its way over the edge of the world. I knew I had to hurry. I’m not much of a morning person, and the dawn isn’t known for its patience.
Last week, Genesis came into the library and said, "We just admitted a painted turtle ." I perked up and said, "Oh yeah? That's an exciting patient!" (because painted turtles are cool!) Genesis responded, "Sorry, I mean a turtle that has been painted."
"Oh, that's not as exciting."
Unfortunately, the Center sees more turtles with painted shells than you'd expect. This one was decorated with shiny blue paint -- which appears to be spray paint.
On March 14, a rabbit that had been attacked by a cat was admitted by a kind, private citizen from Harrisonburg.
I happened to be in the clinic, talking to one of the rehabilitators, when the rabbit arrived. Rayshaud, our veterinary technician intern, went into radiology to start the patient admission exam. Instantly, Rayshaud’s gaze pointed toward me. As he held the box with this little rabbit in it, he realized the animal wasn’t a cottontail -- he was a domestic pet. It looked so similar to a wild rabbit — I’m not surprised there was a mix-up!