“You can’t depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus” ~ Mark Twain


    ♥ Rescue
    ♥ Rehab
    ♥ Release




Spring Rescue Successes

Raptor Rehabilitator Karen Costa never has a slow season. Hawks, owls, and herons are brought to her every month of the year. It takes a great deal of training, patience, and time to treat a sick or injured raptor as they do not cope well with captivity. Karen’s high release success rate speaks eloquently of her dedication and skill. In late March, Karen received a call from a very concerned lady who had discovered a Great Horned Owl nestling crouching on the ground beneath a Douglas Fir tree in her south Salem backyard. She knew there was a nest in that tree because she had been watching the nesting activity of the parent owls. Karen kept the baby overnight to observe, check for injuries, and feed. The owlet, a two week old white ball of fluff, checked out fine and was a hearty eater. Karen phoned professional tree climber Murray Ratzlaff, who readily agreed to climb the tree the next morning to return baby to his nest. Murray and Karen met at 7:30 AM with the homeowner and her two children waiting excitedly in their backyard. Karen says, “What an amazing event this was– Murray in his climbing gear, me carefully packing the baby in a padded, reinforced backpack for Murray to carry up, and Mom Owl moving around from surrounding tree to surrounding tree, very upset. I spotted the nest, 60 feet up and Murray started his climb. His task was physically and mentally challenging–requiring great skill–and was very dangerous. As he neared the nest, another head popped up. Sure enough, there was another sibling! Murray quickly placed baby in the nest and rappelled down. A few minutes later, Mom owl returned to her nest. What a thrill!”

But wait! The story isn’t finished! Four days later, Karen received a call about another Great Horned Owl nestling down from its nest– this one at Orchard Heights Park in West Salem. This baby was a very hungry two and a half week old with no injuries. That night, Karen headed over to the park and spotted Mom Owl and the nest 75 feet up a Cottonwood tree (very difficult trees to climb). Karen called Murray. He dropped everything to make plans for the next day’s timely return of baby to the nest. Says Karen, “This climb was physically grueling, and Murray had to stop several times to rest. There was quite a crowd gathering by this time, and we had to ask for a wide clearance from the tree and complete silence– both for Murray’s concentration and for Mom Owl’s peace of mind.” There was another sibling in the nest who was also nervously watching Murray get closer and closer. Much to the horror of everyone watching, as Murray approached the nest and prepared to place the baby in it, the frightened sibling jumped out of the nest! Karen ran over to the owlet. Fortunately, the landing was soft and caused no injuries. Murray lowered the backpack and Karen placed the second baby in it, fastened it to a rope, and up the tree it went. With both babies now safe under the watchful eye of Mom Owl, Murray quickly rappelled down the tree, exhausted but satisfied that all was well. Murray waved off Karen’s profuse thanks, insisting that the satisfaction of helping wildlife is the greatest reward for him. Says Karen, “He even referred to it as a spiritual experience. That, I understand, and I know you do, also.” SWRA regards Mr. Ratzlaff as a WILDLIFE HERO and will send him one of our framed WILDLIFE HERO certificates.

We Love OurPatrons!

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” ––Aesop

bouquet of thank yous to the following individuals who have given so generously to SWRA since the publication of our winter newsletter: Diana Bowen, Hilary & Susan Browning, Rich & Judy Brunkal, David Burkhart, Denise Cedar, Bill & Betty Cozby, ETL Properties, Kathy & Bill Fox, Diana Gardener, Reid Hanson, James & Gudrun Hoobler, LifeSource Natural Foods, Joan Nelson, Mary Narey, Ann & Duane Romig, Melanie Smith, Darcy Toronto & Family, Kate Van Ummerson, Dr. Keith White, and Jan & Larry Williamson.

Congratulations to Sherri Anteau-Fox, who has passed the exam for her avian rehabilitator license. Sherri says she plans to study for the mammal license, as well.

Our “Store” is working out very well for the rehabilitators. Located in the storage room of a private home, the store contains supplies used by our rehabbers for the care of wildlife. Stocking these supplies ahead of time means that our hardworking volunteers don’t have to spend hours shopping for the nutritional, medical, and in-care supplies they use in the busy season. Some of the items available to them are: Pedialyte, Nutrical, syringes, vet wrap, and paper towels. We are most grateful to the Kinsman Foundation for the grant that enabled us to purchase the supplies in time for spring and summer!

Making Hummers Happy

If you’re feeding hummingbirds this season, please use the nectar recipe below. It was given to us by Pacific Northwest hummer expert Abby Crouch.

Hummingbird Nectar Solution

The proper ratio is always one part sugar to four parts water. Boil the water for two minutes to release the chlorine. Turn off the burner and mix in the sugar. Stir well. Do NOT continue to boil the water while mixing in the sugar as that will decrease the water ratio and make the nectar too sweet. Cool the solution to room temperature before putting it in the feeders. If you refrigerate some of the nectar, microwave it just to take the chill off before refilling the feeder. NEVER use a more concentrated sugar solution than one part sugar to four parts water. If hummingbirds are given too sweet a solution, it can cause liver damage. NEVER use red food coloring or any mix that has red dye in it that turns the sugar water red. Hummingbirds’ favorite flowers are red, but the nectar is not; it is clear. The red dye in pre-mixed food causes the birds to have red urine and is totally unnecessary. The red plastic of the feeder is ALL you need to get their attention. Once they learn the location of a feeder, they’ll return! Use ant moats if ants are a problem. Use SMALL feeders because you must change the nectar every day in the heat of the summer and every two to three days in the winter. Sugar water begins to ferment and mold at 56-57 degrees and moldy sugar water can kill hummingbirds. Watch for dark spots on the inside of the feeder, indicating the onset of mold. Cleanliness is essential. Clean feeders with a stiff brush, Q-tip and toothbrush. Avoid the use of harsh detergents and RINSE WELL!!

Who Do You Call?

If you find an animal needing assistance, please contact the WILDLIFE HELPLINE, 503-856-8242. HELPLINE volunteers will triage your call and refer you to the appropriate rehabilitator if the situation requires in-care treatment. Many situations can be resolved through triage. By law, SWRA can only treat and release native wildlife. However, we will help you find humane solutions for non-native animals in distress.

Wildlife Rehab News

“All the arguments to prove man’s superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, the animals are our equals.”    –Peter Singer

Unusually mellow weather in March accelerated the spring courtship season, and the phone calls to our HELPLINE took off like a flock of geese heading for the their Alaska nesting grounds. And who are the faithful VOLUNTEERS hosting the SWRA HELPLINE? They are: Sherri Anteau-Fox, Mary Bliss, Diana Bowen, Joni Brewer, Trina Brown, Judy Brunkal, Brenda Elwin, Cyndi Leech, Reva Lux, Lisa Martinmaas, Jeannie Sloan, and Mary Sterling.
The HELPLINE is a much-needed addition to the urban wildlife support system in our community, and we’re thrilled to have such a stalwart staff to keep it going. If you’re interested in training to host the HELPLINE, please call Mary Bliss at 503-362-9016.

Wildlife Wisdom

It’s time to debunk a few myths. First, go ahead! Pick up a baby bird and put it back in its nest. Human scent does NOT drive off animal parents. Second, downy ducklings should not be in water all the time! Duckling down lacks the oil that waterproofs feathers. A duckling in water will rapidly soak to the skin and die of hypothermia. If you are holding ducklings for a few hours for a rehabilitator, keep them warm, dry, and quiet by placing them on top of a towel covered hot water bottle or low setting heating pad (also towel covered) in a box with a lid. (Ducklings can jump one to two feet.) Do NOT give them any food or water. They’ll be

fine until they get to rehab. Third, if you find a fawn on its own, chances are it has NOT been abandoned. Does hide their odorless young in leafy places while they forage for food. Mom will return in a couple of hours. If you suspect something has happened to the doe, watch the fawn through binoculars for four or five hours. If the doe has not returned by then, call the HELPLINE. If you find a fawn standing by a dead doe along a roadside, call us. Baby will need our help!

Please share your space with wildlife. Habitat destruction has made life very hard for wild families. They are gone by fall, so please have patience while they raise their young.

Larry and Jan to the Rescue

Larry and Jan Williamson often go out on HELPLINE calls to assess the situation. On April 4th, HELPLINE volunteer Judy Brunkal received a call about a Burrowing Owl that had been in the parking lot of Woodburn Miles Chevrolet all day. Not only is the parking lot off I-5 an unusual place for a Burrowing Owl, but they are very rare winter visitors west of the Cascades. Burrowing Owls are more commonly found in Eastern Oregon, but their numbers are declining due to habitat destruction and pesticides. The owl was standing under a car when Larry and Jan arrived. When approached, he would fly 50 to 100 feet away, never going higher than the cars. Jan says, “I got the net over him and brought him to the ground. Very quickly and quietly he was placed in the carrier and stood inside looking at us. Owls have the neatest way of looking right at you.” Karen Costa found no injuries, but the bird was in a weakened condition. After four days of warmth, rest, fluids, and food, he was well enough to test flight. He had gained strength, and after another few days, his flight was perfect, and he was ready for release. Karen returned him to a grassy field not far from where he was found, giving him another chance to finish his migration to his Eastern Oregon or Washington breeding grounds.


Have you ever wondered what groups of animals are called? Go to www.enchantedlearning.com and head for the Animal Babies section. There, you will find a list of group names.The group name for raccoons is “A Nursery of Raccoons.” The phrase is most apt because Raccoon Rehabilitator Melanie Smith wintered over 27 orphaned juvenile raccoons! Among the raccoons released this spring was Trashman. Trashman was put in a trash can after the lady who found him inert in her yard gave him up for dead. When she came back later to put garbage in the can, she found the animal stirring and called SWRA. Trashman had many medical problems, but through exquisite care and skill, Melanie and her assistants brought him back to health. Good luck to these youngsters!