24. November 2016 · Comments Off on Thankful · Categories: Uncategorized

Here at Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue, we are thankful.

We are thankful for the emergency response volunteers who disrupt there lives on a regular basis to help wildlife in need.

We are thankful for the caring, loving souls who are our foster-care volunteers who nurture orphaned wildlife babies and then let them go to be wild when the time is right. It is a bittersweet kind of work and we are so grateful to those who take it on even when they know it will be painful.

We are thankful to each and every member of our society who stops there day to try to find help for an animal in trouble – to all those scared voices over the wildlife hotline, thank you. Now more than ever before we need those caring voices.

We are thankful to the individuals and the foundations who see what we do and want to support it even when we are so overloaded with the actual work that we struggle to get the grant applications in on time, or the thank you letters written. Thank you for seeing through the fog of need that surrounds us and taking our hand in support.

We are also thankful to every one of us humans who sees the need to protect wildlife and the environment we all share. We are walking in the shadow of climate change threatening everything we love, but Together we can still make a difference.

We are thankful for the Earth and the unending beauty and strength we find here.

What are you thankful for?

May you all have a loving and caring Thanksgiving.

lila1

06. March 2016 · Comments Off on UPCOMING VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION – 3/23/16 6:30pm – 8:30pm · Categories: Uncategorized

On March 23rd 2016, Wednesday, from 6:30pm-8:30pm, we are having a new volunteer orientation at the Rotary Nature Center on Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA. If you have ever been interested in wildlife rehabilitation or have wanted to work with us, please come to this evening event. There, you will learn about our organization and how you can get involved.

We are especially seeking:

  • Fostercare Volunteers for Squirrels, Opossums, and Raccoons
  • Transport Volunteers
  • Cage Builders and Construction People
  • Grantwriters,
  • Wildlife writers for our website
  • Or do you have an idea? Come and tell us how YOU want to be involved!!!

Hope to see you there!

PLEASE RSVP ON EVENTBRITE SO WE KNOW HOW MANY ARE COMING

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yuwr-volunteer-orientation-tickets-22638109194

If there are too few RSVPs we may cancel the event

Thank you!

Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue

Volunteer Orientation 2016

Wednesday March 23rd

6:30pm-8:30pm

Rotary Nature center

600 Bellevue Ave
Oakland, California

06. March 2016 · Comments Off on Spring has sprung with a Vengeance! · Categories: Uncategorized

With the recent storms, we have had several wildlife orphans brought to us for care. Here are some pictures:

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2 baby squirrels – 5 weeks old. 3 were found drowning in the gutter during a heavy rainstorm in Oakland, CA on March 5th 2016. 1 survived and is doing well.

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This baby squirrel was knocked from his nest when he was less than 1 day old. He was laying on the sidewalk being eaten by ants when he was found by a caring family who picked him up, cleaned him off, and called our wildlife center. That was on February 27th 2016

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This eyes-closed baby opossum is one of 7 who were saved after their mother was killed by a backyard dog.

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29. December 2015 · Comments Off on Our End of Year Newsletter is at last here! · Categories: Uncategorized

Please view our online News Letter here! http://eepurl.com/bLeKkP

24. July 2015 · Comments Off on Event Saturday July 25th @ NOON · Categories: Uncategorized

 

Urban Wildlife Survival Guide!

Have you ever wondered where the raccoon who raids your trashcan at night spends its days? How about those skunks you smell around? Join Lila Talcott-Travis, director of Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue, as she clues us in on how non-human mammals survive in Oakland.

Learning about the natural history of mammals like opossums, squirrels, deer, and of course, raccoons and skunks gives us insight into where, why, and how these animals live in the city. Turn the next urban wildlife encounter you have into a fantastic field-observation experience!

We’ll meet in front of the Children’s Fairyland entrance on Saturday, July 25 at 12 pm. Bring drinking water, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a hat.

The walk is free, and donations are gratefully accepted!

Deer crossing the Golden Gate bridge! Photo: www.city-data.com

Raccoon photo: www.walkingmountains.org

Trailhead: A Documentary in Oakland

An in-the-works documentary that explores the unique urban to rural trail system that connects Oakland neighborhoods to the Bay Area Ridge Trail and beyond! To learn more, check out the Trailhead website and this Oakland Local article.

Photo: TexeiraPhoto.com

Mapping San Francisco’s Surprising Abundance of Springs and Streams

Thinkwalks founder Joel Pomerantz is publishing an awesome book mapping the hidden water of SF! Check out this Wired article or go to his website, Seep City, for more information.

Photo: Joel Pomerantz/Seep City (top); San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (bottom)

When: Saturday, July 25 @ 12-2 pmWhere:

Meet in front of Children’s Fairyland699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Cost: FREE! $5-10 suggested donation.

Contact: Please RSVP to info@wildoakland.org

For more information, visit www.wildoakland.org

Skunk photo: www.oaklandnorth.net

Contact us: info@wildoakland.orgVisit us: www.wildoakland.org

Copyright © 2015 Wild Oakland, All rights reserved.

 

 

22. April 2015 · Comments Off on HAPPY EARTH DAY! · Categories: Uncategorized

We have been celebrating Earth Day every day with this busy Spring Wildlife Orphan season.
In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share with you pictures of the babies we have been caring for this Spring so far…

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26. February 2015 · Comments Off on UPCOMING VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION · Categories: Uncategorized

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION

This is a meeting for those who are serious about volunteering with our organization and want a place on our volunteer teams.

If you have never spoken with us, please contact us beforehand to attend. Thank you.

 

When: SUNDAY MARCH 8th at 4PM

Where: At the Piedmont Police Station

403 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611MAP

 

The purpose of the meeting will be to Meet & Greet (first hour), then, talk about the goals for the 2015 year.

We will also be scheduling foster training classes and assigning members to the following teams:

Drop-Point Wildlife Intake Team

Wildlife Transport Team

Wildlife Foster Team

  • -opossum
  • -raccoon
  • -squirrel

There will be snacks and drinks.

Please Bring your completed VolunteerEnrollement Form

I look forward to working with you all to make this an amazing year helping wildlife orphans!


PLEASE RSVP at lila@yuwr.org or 510-421-YUWR

 

19. January 2015 · Comments Off on Ode’r de Saturday Afternoon… or Free at Last! · Categories: Animal Stories

Ode’r de Saturday Afternoon…   or Free at Last!

By: Lila Travis

I received a knock on my door today.

The vibrant and warm sun was illuminating the most beautiful of greens in all the plants surrounding my Potrero Hill front door. I found a man there – a neighbor I had never met before. Feng. He was tall, with a kind face and a worried look. A skunk, he said, with it’s head stuck in a mouse trap. Would I come help? Of course! I grabbed a towel and my grumpy son, Devlin, threw on my shoes, and we hurried out the door to follow Feng up through the Open Space to the back yard of Starr King Elementary School.

Starr Kingfront__starr_king_school Elementary School is a harsh concrete and bsidewinder large_300x225rick building, softened by rows of evergreen hedges and flower boxes. There, behind the hedges, pressed against the concrete foundation, was a long bushy tail, glistening black with a limp white stripe down the middle. Body tensed with effort, the enormous female skunk was twisting and turning in the dirt. Her head disappearing into the entrance of a black box rodent bait trap. You know, those little black boxes the size of shoe-boxes seen left around public places that the kids always loudly ask about and we response in a whisper, “Ooo that’s poison – stay away from those!”.

She had burrowed out a deep trench in the soil under her body, in her desperate struggle to extract herself from the box, with no success. Each day her struggle causing her throat and head to swell more and more inside the sharp, unforgiving plastic, making her escape less and less possible until death freed her. Her flailing claws dug the trench underneath her deeper and deeper, revealing shrub roots that wrapped around her to complicate and confine her movements even further.

How did this happen? How did her head even fit in there? My mind flashed to the Yoplait yogurt container controversy from the 1970s. Yoplait yogurt containers are perfectly shaped for the shovel-shaped skunk head to fit in but not get out. Actually, when the Yoplait yogurt company was asked to change the shape of their containers to end the years of wildlife fatalities due to getting stuck inside their plastic tubs, they declined, stating that their unique shape set them apart from their competition and that consumers gravitated to their interestingly shaped yogurt cups, so they would not relent and alter their positive product identification packaging even if it was a hazard to animals. After 20 years of fatal skunk and other wildlife incidents, and public outcry, Yoplait finally agreed to add a printed warning to the cups urging consumers to “crush the cup” before discarding it. But the incidents of wildlife deaths from being trapped in Yoplait yogurt containers continue to rise even today, 37 years after their invention. (to help, you can sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/for-35-years-yoplait-cups-have-been-killing-wildlife ) .
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Here it was playing out in front of me all over again. Why did this skunk put her head in this box of poison? Did she see a mouse run out of the box and, thinking there might be more mice inside, decided to go in for a closer look? (Skunks are natural rodent controllers by eating mice and rats) Thankfully, due to the design of the box, there was none of the poison within reach of her trapped nose and mouth, so I was hopeful that if she could be extracted, she could survive the experience unscathed, provided she had not ingested any poisoned mice, putting herself at risk for a secondary rodent poisoning death.

 

Throughout California, the use of poison baits stations to control rodents has resulted in the death of thousands of wild animals and pets each year. The targeted mouse or rat eats the poison from the trap, but the poison doesn’t kill them immediately. They have plenty of time to run around outside, eat more poison bait, get weakened from internal bleeding caused by the poison, and get caught by an owl, hawk, pet cat, or skunk, before they die. The unfortunate predator doesn’t realize they are eating a poisoned dinner and thus, the poisoning is passed along to untargeted victims. Using rodent bait is no different then leaving poisoned meatballs on the street for local pets and wildlife to find. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Poisoned-meatballs-again-threaten-dogs-in-San-5259552.php  Secondary rodent poisoning does not discriminate between animals that are beautiful or endangered or hated or pesty or awe-inspiring. Since 1994, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Investigation Laboratory has tested and confirmed hundreds of cases of secondary wildlife poisoning from anticoagulant rodent baits, including: coyote, gray fox, red fox, San Joaquin kit fox (endangered), fishers (endangered), raccoons, squirrels, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, kangaroo rats (endangered), bald eagles (endangered), golden eagles, Canada geese, great-horned owls, barn owls, red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, turkey vultures and wild turkeys. A much more effective rodent control program uses exclusion techniques (such as sealing rodent entrances to your home) and sanitation (removing rodent habitat such as ivy or wood piles) and animal removal, when necessary. Programs like the Hungry Owl Project ( http://www.hungryowl.org/ ) actually encourage owls to breed and populate areas where there are problems with mice, providing a natural rodent control that does not harm unintended victims, with the added bonus of occasional heart-stopping gasps of joy when a glimpse of the owls occur, and with no dangers posed to our friendly, long-suffering skunk lady in a ditch with a rodent bait box around her neck.

 

I had watched her struggle long enough. It was time to help. I was slightly alarmed that she was so large – I knew that once I touched her, my bath-sized towel would be little protection against her blind, terrified lashing out with the only defense mechanism available to her; her chemical gas cloud designed to swell mucosa and cause even the coldest individual to weep openly. I took one last breath of clean fresh air, then moved into position. Placing my towel around her body and tucking her tail up against her, with the hope that if she sprayed, it would be into the towel. I proceeded to begin the slow process of pulling her head bodily out of the hole in the black box of death. It didn’t help matters that the box had been, for ridiculously unnecessary security, chained to the concrete foundation of the building so I could only lift it up about 4 inches.

 

The big mama skunk’s struggle intensified as I methodically worked her swollen neck and head out of the tiny hole. There was no other option, since the plastic was so thick, even Feng’s knife was unable to cut it away. The skunk was terrified – not knowing if my intention was to eat her and not caring. She sprayed once, twice, I wrapped the stinky towel tighter around her and kept on working, my fingers staining yellow from the chemical reaction taking place in the towel. She uttered a few cries as her eye slowly came into view, then more cries as her swollen neck came free, and then her nose – she was out!

 

skunk1    skunk2

I covered her with the rest of the towel and backed off, ignoring the burning rubber smell inside my nose, mouth and eyes. She sat there, her head peaking out at us from under the towel, as she realized she was free and able to go on her merry way once again. She took a few more minutes to recover, then loped off through the hedges towards the open space.

 

There she goes!” exclaimed Devlin happily, as she crossed the tiny alley and disappeared into the tall grasses of Starr King Open Space. I was pleased at her fast movements and apparently uninjured demeanor. She rushed across the sunlit field, back into her familiar territory of shadows and grubs and rotting stumps along the edge of the small park.

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Feng, Devlin, who was in a much better mood now, and I gathered up our equipment and headed back home across the Open Space, smiling to ourselves at the skunk’s elation at being free again. Before disappearing back into my home to drown myself in Baking Soda, Peroxide, and dawn detergent, I turned to the second hero in this story, after the brave skunk, and told him a simple truth, “ Most people wouldn’t have bothered. Thank you.”

 

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Excerpt From: The Chemistry of Skunk Spray from i09.com

The organic compounds that make skunk spray smell are also found in garlic and onions. They’re called thiols, and they’re very simple. Just hook one sulfur atom to one hydrogen atom.

The two leg-breakers in the family of chemicals that a skunk sprays are (E)-2-butene-1-thiol and 3-methyl-1-butanethiol. These are chains of carbon and hydrogen with the sulfur and hydrogen thiol group attached to one end. They’re volatile, which means they disperse easily in the air, and they’re easily picked up by the human nose. The back-up squad of skunk spray consists of thioacetates, other groupings of carbon and hydrogen that are, at first, not particularly smelly. When water hits them, it rearranges them into more potent configurations. A dog – or human – that’s been sprayed by a skunk will sometimes get smellier after being bathed in water. These compounds also linger, so when an area of a house that’s been sprayed by a skunk gets rained on, we get a delayed reminder never to make a skunk mad.

How to get the stench out? Tomato juice won’t do it. It’s just a strong smell that attempts to cover up the smell of skunk. What you need is a chemical that will change the composition of the thiol group. Fortunately, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are will do the job. They are oxidizing agents, meaning they will attach oxygen atoms to the sulfur atom in the thiol pairing, and take away its ability to stink.”

________________________________________________________________

Recipe for Neutralizing Skunk Spray:

  • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at your local pharmacy)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (DAWN works best)

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Did you know?

  • Skunks are extremely nearsighted and can only see clearing about 12 inches in front of them?
  • Once a skunk sprays they are defense-less for up to 2 days. They do not want to use their spray unless their lives depend on it so avoid startling a skunk into spraying by making noise and letting them know you are there. Remember they do not see well!
  • Skunks only spray for 2 reasons:  When they perceive their lives are threatened. OR  During mating season. (See Below)

From United States Humane Society Website:

“February through March is mating season for striped Skunks and that translates into “skunk smell.”

The stink occurs when males try to court females who may not be “in the mood.” When that happens, female skunks generate an aroma to repel their rejected suitors. Fortunately, skunk romance only lasts a short time.

Skunks are gentle, non-aggressive creatures who have wrongly earned a bad reputation because of that pungent odor. Their diet of grubs, insects, mice, and baby rats is actually beneficial, but skunks still go unappreciated.

As for being sprayed by a skunk, you may not realize just how difficult it is to get sprayed. When alarmed, skunks give a warning by stamping their front feet. If you take heed of that warning, they won’t spray.”

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For Solutions to Problems with Skunks, please visit: http://yuwr.org/faqs/skunk-problems/

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MOST PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INTERNET, EXCEPT THE TWO OF ACTUAL SKUNK FROM STORY

10. January 2015 · Comments Off on Offering Sanctuary To An Injured Adult Deer · Categories: Uncategorized

Offering Sanctuary To An Injured Adult Deer

Injured young buck

I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a Black-tailed deer making its way down the hillside behind my home. This wasn’t unusual—a well-used deer trail looped through the neighborhood and I saw deer nearly every day —but there was something about this deer that made me stop and watch him.

He was a young buck, the nubs of his antlers still in velvet. He was moving slowly, and for a deer, rather inelegantly. When he stepped out from behind the sage into the clearing I saw the reason for his erratic gait: His right foreleg appeared to be broken. There was a huge swelling around his ankle, just above his fetlock. The buck stood still, holding the injured leg slightly aloft so his hoof wouldn’t touch the ground. Then he clumsily lowered himself to the ground to rest.

I ran to the phone, picked up the receiver—and stopped, receiver in hand. Who exactly was I going to call? While Native Animal Rescue takes in injured or orphaned fawns every year, there are no services available to help wounded adult deer.

Unlike a fawn, a fully grown wild deer cannot be confined or handled. With three good legs, the buck would still be mobile enough to flee from any human who approached him, causing him more stress and aggravating his injury. Even if someone could come along and tranquilize him and treat the injury, what would happen when he awoke? The trauma of capture and confinement would be profound. And even with a broken leg, he was still quite capable of hurting a person who came near him.

There was nothing I could do. Except for one thing: If the buck’s injury was life-threatening, I could call local law enforcement. A merciful bullet would end his life before he suffered too much longer.

I put the phone down. I picked up my binoculars and studied the buck through the window. He was chewing his cud, his great dished ears gyrating to pick up every sound and vibration around him. The swelling around his ankle looked painful, yet he was still capable of walking and foraging for food. I knew that deer often healed from dreadful injuries on their own. They can get by fine on three legs, often limping about for years.

On the other hand, having the injury so low on his leg was bad: each time he knocked the hoof against the ground, it would prolong the healing process. If he caught his hoof on a root or rock, he could damage himself further. The fracture could become infected and he could die a slow, painful death. That was my fear.

The choice was mine: I could make the phone call, or I could let nature take its course.

I agonized over the decision. I didn’t want this responsibility, but there was no way to escape it: the buck had chosen my yard as his refuge; his life was in my hands. But in the end, I could not make the call. What I could do was make my backyard into a sanctuary, where the buck could rest and heal in peace. Normally I would not offer food to a wild animal, but I tossed some apples onto the hillside to supplement his browse. I filled the birdbath full of fresh water. I made sure no one let our dog out into the backyard and we didn’t go out there ourselves.

The buck came back the next day, and the next. He would limp down the hillside in the afternoons and bed down in the thick leaf litter near the oak. I observed him closely through my binoculars, looking for signs of infection. While his leg didn’t seem to be getting better, it didn’t seem to be getting worse.

We humans often behave as though we have magical powers; we believe we can fix everything that’s broken, find solutions to every problem. But our powers are an illusion, especially where nature is concerned. There is so much that is beyond us, so much we cannot do, no matter how much we may want to help. Acknowledging our limitations may be difficult, but it also invites us to focus on what we can do for the wild creatures around us. Our human world is full of dangers for urban wildlife: vehicles, dogs, fences, pesticides, and other chemicals. By identifying the hazards, we can mitigate them, and prevent many common wildlife injuries in the first place.

Fencing: Though it often seems that deer can sail effortlessly over impossible heights, deer do get caught on fences and gates. Their slender legs are fragile. A former neighbor of mine removed sections of his fence after watching a young fawn try to follow its mother over a 6-foot fence and catch its leg in the wire. Examine your fences and gates carefully. How wide is the space between the slats? Deer—and other animals—will often try to squeeze through the bars of an iron or wire fence and get wedged halfway through. Are your fence posts pointed on top? Every year, deer are impaled upon the ornamental pointed tips of wrought iron fences.

Vehicle collisions: Millions of deer are hit and killed by vehicles in the U.S. Simply by driving more slowly and paying close attention to the road we can greatly reduce our chances of colliding with a deer or other animal. Native Animal Rescue has some excellent suggestions for lessening your chances of hitting a deer when you’re driving in deer country.

Debris and decorations: I once saw a buck with a short length of PVC pipe caught on his leg, almost like a handcuff. He had stepped on it and his hoof had gone right through it—now it was stuck to his body forever. Deer and many other animals become entangled in discarded fragments of wire or plastic. The holes in chicken wire are the perfect diameter to trap a fawn’s tiny hoof. When deer rub their antlers on trees, they can become ensnared in strings of lights, plant netting, or clotheslines. Animals step on shards of glass. They get their heads and hooves and paws stuck inside glass jars and bottles and other food packaging. Make sure your property is wildlife-safe.

Chemicals: Using chemical controls in the home or garden can have dire consequences for human and animal health. Both wild animals and pets are often accidentally poisoned by ingesting pesticides and rodenticides. Try planting locally native plants that will thrive in your area without chemical fertilizers and insecticides. If you have a rodent problem, encourage raptors to nest on your property; a single family of barn owls can catch upwards of 1,300 rats or gophers a year. Keep antifreeze locked in a cabinet; many animals (and children) find its sweet flavor and aroma irresistible.

One evening I went to the kitchen window, and before I could pick up my binoculars, I was rewarded by the sight of the buck jogging up the hillside, head held high. For the first time since I’d seen him, he was putting some weight on his injured foreleg. The swelling looked greatly reduced. I felt a tremendous surge of relief and a feeling I can only call gratitude. I was grateful for the resilience of wild animals, and for the space and peace of my backyard. I was grateful that I had made the right choice.

Tai Moses is the author of Zooburbia: Meditations On The Wild Animals Among Us (Parallax Press, 2014). She formerly lived in Oakland where this story takes place. She now lives in Santa Cruz.

29. July 2014 · Comments Off on Fledgling Hummingbird Flies Free · Categories: Animal Stories

In early June we were contacted by animal loving vet techs from Mission Pet Hospital. They had found a fledgling hummingbird in the street on a very windy day. There was no sign of the parents, so they got the baby bird to safety and gave us a call.

 

At this time of year, it is common for fledgling hummingbirds to jump out of the nest in their sink-or-swim efforts to learn to fly. It usually takes up to 5 days for these aspiring flyers to get the hang of it. During this time, the parents follow them around and continue to feed them, and, when possible, protect them from danger. However sometimes something will happen to the parent, or the fledgling will get into a situation where they are truly in danger that not even their parents can help them with. We once got in a fledgling who had been found in the middle of a busy intersection right in front of a freeway entrance. The passerby snatched the bird out of trouble and brought her to us. Another time, a girl watched with horror as a group of skateboarders nearly ran over the fledgling who was on the sidewalk under their boards. In most cases it is possible to move the bird out of danger but still keep them close enough that their parents can continue to care for them while they practice flying. However there are still some cases where it is better to bring them into care at your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

 

In the case of our little “Hummy”, he needed to be fed a sugar/insect protein nectar every 15 minutes during daylight hours. For the first few days he was hand-fed. Then he graduated to using a feeder. Within a day or so of this accomplishment, he was able to take short vertical flights. Huzzah!! However, normally the parent birds would be there to continue feeding the triumphant fledgling, and they would even guide the youngster around to show him how to feed himself. Now that “Hummy” could fly, we could not just let him go. He needed to be taught how to feed himself first.

 

“Hummy” graduated to a flight case that was enriched with $75 worth of Sloat Garden Center’s best hummingbird attracting plants, as well as a hummingbird feeder to supplement the natural nectar. After a few weeks in the outside enclosure, with frequent visits from the neighboring wild hummingbirds, “Hummy” was successfully catching flies, gnats, and other small insects, pollinating the many flowers in his enclosure, and even singing to the wild hummingbirds around him. He was ready to be free.

 

His release was one of those “don’t blink” types. He flew back and forth inside the enclosure a couple of times before breaching the open door and going straight up as high as he could go, to disappear into the sun-filled open sky. But that was not the last we saw of him. He had made friends here amongst the local hummingbirds and returned to the garden to fly with them and to taste the wild growing plants with their trumpet flowers waiting to be pollinated. We see “Hummy” now and then, sitting on a branch singing his heart out. We don’t often enjoy the ability to release on-site. It has been a true reminder of what our work is all about – getting these amazing co-habitators of our planet back out on their own so they can enjoy the wild life they were born to have.

 

Here are some photos of “Hummy” taken by Tara Whitefield:

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