Spring is coming, honest!
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Spring 2019

Welcome to the latest issue of the MLWC newsletter.
"California" Spotted Owl This sweet, lovely bird was found up in Strawberry on February 16, in the snow, being picked on by ravens.  We couldn't get her that day as snow had closed the roads.  Thankfully, our director's neighbor works up the hill and was able to pick up the owl the following day.  The owl seemed uninjured but was very dehydrated and underweight, possibly due to a lack of prey or of hunting experience, or a previous injury.  We tubed her fluids and food until her digestive system could handle solid food.  She starting eating on her own the fourth night in care.  Once we got her weight up, she still showed no energy.  Dr. Tanya Jackson of Twain Harte Veterinary examined and x-rayed the owl and felt the owl may have some residual head trauma and a respiratory infection, so Strawberry has been on medication for the past two weeks.  She is showing more energy now and we will move her into a flight cage to see how she responds.
Spotted Owls are known for being elusive due to their natural camouflage, for their remarkable range of vocalizations, and for being calm and relatively tame.  They feed mainly on small mammals, including bats, and also birds and insects.  Like most owls, they occupy nests of other birds rather than building their own, usually in tree cavities or broken-top snags.  In the Sierras, they're mainly confined to the Upper Connifer zone, but some adults descend to the foothills for the winter. 
Red-breasted Sapsucker  A beautiful member of this charming species came to us on January 21, having been found on Phoenix Lake Road.  It had been hit by a car and had a broken beak; the front portion of the top mandible was gone, but it is growing back.  This bird received medicine for head trauma and ointment in its right eye, and is now being treated for a parasite that it may have gotten from the bark we put in its enclosure to allow it to exist more naturally while in care.  

Red-breasted Sapsuckers have their gorgeous red color on their heads as well as their breasts, and the males and females have identical plumage.  They prefer hardwood trees as sap sources and are known for making neat horizontal rows of holes in the trees they get sap from.   They will sometimes turn to incense cedars and giant sequoias, as these trees have large quantities of sap.  In the nesting season, they supplement their diets with insects, sometimes dipping ants in sap before taking them to their nestlings.
Western Gray Squirrels

Try as we might, we have been unable to release the two fall babies we've overwintered.  For releases in the fall or early spring, we require a five day clear weather forecast above 40 at night.  We release them in a nest box hung on a tree, but they still could be chased out of the area by a dominant squirrel.  They can survive temperatures above 40 by wrapping their tails around themselves, and five days of clear weather allows them time to build their own nest.  When we release squirrels in the summer, we don't bother with a nest box, but we still want five days of clear weather below 100.  That first day out is very stressful; exploring the big wide world for the first time can be fun and exciting but also very different, scary, and even dangerous, and we want to provide them every advantage.  These two girls will be returned to Groveland, but for now, they'll continue in our outdoor cage a little while longer.  

A colorful American Kestrel came to us February 26.  He was found on Tuolumne Road in the Westside area of Tuolumne, presumably hit by a car.  His right wing was fractured, the radius and ulna near the elbow.  He was given an anti-inflammatory and the wing was wrapped...and then rewrapped twice in the following days before he would leave it alone.  On March 13 the wrap was removed, and the next day he was moved to a larger hospital cage so he could start using his wing a little.  He was moved out into a flight cage on March 20, and we were able to observe his flight and see he is using the injured wing well.  We hope to release him in early April. 

Kestrels are the smallest and most colorful falcon, and they spend their lives around open areas, perched on branches or power lines, watching for prey: mainly insects and also small mammals or birds.  If there's nowhere to perch, they can hover above the ground like a helicopter.  Their numbers have been in a widespread, long-term decline, and nestbox programs seek to learn more about them and reverse that trend among these beauties.

Woodpecker Cage! After years of anticipation, the much-needed woodpecker cage is almost ready for patients.  It is 8'W x  16'L x 8'H.  This cage is necessary because woodpeckers will eventually destroy any wood-framed cage.  The Pileated Woodpecker is the most destructive and would be out of a wood-framed cage in little more than a minute.  Other woodpeckers would do less damage, but even that would take its toll over time.  We learned to weld in order to make this cage ourselves. We've left one panel off to bring in the bark and soil to cover the wire bottom and the branches and 'trees' that will provide hours of drumming for the new occupants.
Easy ways to support Mother Lode Wildlife Care
Take your recycling to Cal Sierra Recycling on Camage, and donate the proceeds to Mother Lode Wildlife Care.  They ask that you tell them before they take your recycling that you are donating the proceeds to us.      Thank You!
Stay tuned....Soon we will be a part of e-script, so if you shop at any of the vendors that use e-script, which include Save Mart and Twain Harte Market, locally, you may choose to support us that way.  Once we get everything in place, we'll let you know how to add us to your list of charities. 
We hope to provide interesting articles and fun features, a look into the world of the creatures around us and the efforts required to help them when needed.  Your comments regarding what you like and what you might like to see in the future are welcome.  This is for your interest and enjoyment.

"An extra pair of hands."  That is what Cynthia Woicicki provides, virtually on-call, to Laura, our director, and a valuable pair of hands they are.  She lives near enough to our main location that she can be there "at a moment's notice" if needed to look after the animals in care when Laura must go away for a day or two, or to hold a frisky bird of prey for an exam, or to help build cages, among other things.  She especially enjoys attending releases of animals, as do we all - the best part of the job!

Cynthia has always loved wildlife and started working with Laura, our director, in 2007, when Laura was director at Rose Wolf Wildlife.  Cynthia knew when MLWC started, in 2014, that she wanted to be a volunteer and work with animals, and not be on the Board of Directors.  More recently, we did get her to join the Board, and she is now Treasurer.  Her home care has been almost exclusively with birds, mainly baby ducks.  There's a lovely pond at her house which is currently home to three pet ducks, and many wild ducks visit each day, as does a blue heron.  Mallards come by in squads of about ten, and once there were thirty there at one time.  Sometimes when ducks have been ready to be released, but without a good release site, they've been released at Cynthia's pond. 
Cynthia greatly enjoys being an extra pair of hands, and we appreciate her, and all that those hands do, so very much.  


Director’s Docket:

We are currently developing protocols that may determine what birds we can intake and what we must do to protect the safety of the birds we do intake, our volunteers, and their pet birds and chicken flocks in the event Virulent Newcastle Disease is found in our county.  Virulent Newcastle Disease is deadly to poultry and preventing it from spreading across the state is of upmost importance.  Currently it is in Southern California but one rooster tested positive in Redwood City.  For information on how it is spread, symptoms of the disease, and things you can do to protect yourself, and any pet birds you have,  please visit this website.  If you think your birds are sick, please immediately call the Sick Bird Hotline at 866-922-2473.  We are a home-based rehabilitation center, and a disease like this could be very harmful.    - Laura Murphy

Come and enjoy the following events and visit us at our booth!  We will have a free raffle for a basket of goodies at the Home & Garden show, and we've always got free chocolate bird eggs!  
Each year, the fairgrounds are packed with those in search of home improvement ideas, professional services and new products to purchase.  Saturday, April 13th, 10am-6pm; Sunday, April 14th, 10am-4pm.  FREE admission, parking and shuttle.  Buses will run continuously Saturday and Sunday during the show hours.  The shuttle bus leaves The Junction Shopping Center near TJ Maxx and arrives at the entrance to the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.  You'll find plenty of parking at The Junction Shopping Center and a relaxed ride to the show.
If you haven't received an email version of this newsletter and would like to, please go to our website, and click on the Newsletter link, enter your name and email address, and click Subscribe!   

Most of this newsletter was written by Helen Engledow and edited by her and Laura Murphy.   Helen Engledow provided the Kestrel photo and a Spotted Owl photo, Laura Murphy provided photos, and the photo with the poem was found on Pixabay.

"The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze."
-  Julian Grenfell 
Wish List
Reliable Volunteers - in particular,
         Home Care Songbird volunteers
Astroturf - long or short leaf
Rubbermaid shelf liner
Gift cards - Lowe's or OSH
                 - Gas Cards
old ice chests (we use these to transport donated frozen mice)

Mealworm Wranglers!  We raise mealworms to feed some of the animals.  We will train any Wrangler how to care for them.  We will provide the plastic trays, the bran medium and carrots for food/moisture.  Wranglers would maintain the colonies, sort when necessary, and keep the volunteers supplied with different sized mealworms.  Interested?  
Call 677-7249 for more information.
Currently in Care

Spotted Owl
American Kestrel
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Western Screech Owl
2 Western Gray Squirrels

7 Virginia Opossums
Jake the raven spent the winter with us.  Last fall he was following homeowners around with a little too much familiarity.  We tried, unsuccessfully, to find him a buddy to interact with, so we put food outside his cage to attract wild ravens.  This spring Jake was showing less interest in us, stressing more when we were in the cage, and calling and conversing with the wild ravens daily.  Two weeks ago, when three wild ravens were present, we released Jake.  He spiraled up into the air with them and flew away.  We still put food out and it disappears every day but he's never sitting there waiting for it and definitely not following us around.    
Copyright © 2019 Mother Lode Wildlife Care, All rights reserved.

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