Construction of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute’s brand-new facility is well underway! Keep reading in the next few days for a blog post all about the new building!
Until the new facility is completed, students at BRWI are continuing their diligent work in caring for our animal patients. Winter is the “off-season” for wildlife rehabilitation, since many birds have migrated and most mammals and reptiles are tucked away in hibernation. Many creatures are still active, however, including owls, who are frequently hit by cars as they hunt for food in a sparse winter landscape. Other winter admissions to BRWI are unusual and rarely seen at the center.
Let’s take a look at some of the current cases at BRWI!
This barred owl was hit by a car a few weeks ago. He has suffered head trauma and is still very woozy. Students worked hard to give him the fluids and medicine needed to save him, and now he’s slowly regaining his strength and appetite!
This is another owl, an Eastern screech owl. Students at BRWI call them “EASOs” for short, and we receive an unfortunately large number of them in the winter. Like the barred owl above, this little guy was struck by a vehicle. The accident broke two bones in his right wing – the same bones you have in your forearm, in fact – and you can see his green bandage in the photo.
BRWI’s veterinarian, Dr. Lee Bolt of Asheville NC, performed surgery to repair the break, but this beautiful owl might not be able to fly again. Send him some good thoughts for us!
This next bird, though not an owl, is definitely an “unusual.”
As a result, they often fall victim to human litter. This coot suffered a severe injury to his right foot after becoming tangled in fishing line. He’s now wearing a special boot bandage that students at BRWI change each and every day. You can do your part to help birds like this by picking up litter, including at Lees-McRae’s own Mill Pond, and by calling a rehab center like BRWI if you see a struggling or entangled bird.
As you can see, winter may be a slower season for wildlife rehabilitation, but there are definitely plenty of animals to keep the students at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute busy. We anxiously await the completion of the new building, all the while wondering…what new creature will come through the door today?