A soggy spring has sprung!
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Spring 2017

Welcome to the latest issue of the MLWC newsletter.
Time Works its Magic
This marvelous Merlin came to us with serious injuries after presumably hitting a window.  That was November 30, and she was largely paralyzed.  A Merlin is a raptor that is in size like a small, slim, long tailed pigeon.  Its wingbeats are snappy, and in flight it always seems to be in a hurry. The first photo shows her being supported by a towel arranged in a donut shape.  She was repeatedly found out of the donut on her back with her legs in the air and would have to be repositioned.  The Merlin received fluids by tube initially and was offered bits of mice off forceps, and by the third day she started standing and was eating bits of mice on her own.  
The fourth day she was taken to veterinarian Tomi Sue Henderson of Jamestown Veterinary Hospital for x-rays, which revealed no fractures but showed a compressed spine.  Dr. Henderson recommended physical therapy, and volunteers came twice a day to help with this.  We also took the Merlin for weekly adjustments to a chiropractor, Dr. Michael Moffat, who works with Dr. Wes Whitman at Mono Way Veterinary Hospital.  He made adjustments to the spine and pelvis, and also to the right shoulder, because the right wing was hanging.  This shows the amount of damage that can be caused when flying at speed into a window.  By a week after the x-rays were taken, the Merlin wanted out of her hospital cage and would climb up the inside of the cage door, damaging her tail feathers.   She was moved to an outdoor cage.  She couldn't fly well, or get lift, but she had much more room and had flutter perches to help her get around the cage.   
A flutter perch is a slanted covered pole that the bird can climb from one level to the next while flapping her wings. This was a good replacement for the physical therapy we could no longer do, as catching her in a large cage would cause her too much stress.  She was in care till January 27 while we evaluated her abilities and waited for a break in the rainy weather.       Dr. Moffat released her, and as always it was marvelous to see her fly up and away, free in the natural world once again.
Happy Update

In our last newsletter, we covered a Barn Owl and a Screech Owl that had been hit by cars.  They had each come into care in November, and they had eye injuries, so there were questions about their releasability.  They were able to demonstrate that they could land on perches and avoid branches in flight, so they were set free. 
The Western Screech Owl was released near dark January 27 in La Grange, where it was found, and flew right up into a tree, where it remained, just looking around.   The Barn Owl was released February 11 just this side of Oakdale.  Using GPS, we were able to release him very close to where he'd been found but avoid doing so on the highway.  He rose up and started circling above, making bigger circles each time, getting his bearings.  After the third circle, it seemed he was gone, but then he flew straight overhead and out of sight. 


Invisible Injury

Late last August a two week old squirrel came to us from Sonora. The squirrel was found by a dog and brought to the dog's owner, who kept her for a week.  It is best for all ill or injured wildlife to get into professional care immediately.  Often the best efforts are misguided and may even be harmful to the animal.  In fact, it is illegal to keep wildlife, unless you have permits to care for them. This squirrel was very thin on intake and while there was no evidence of any injury, that was because a puncture wound on her leg had already healed.

She went to a volunteer’s home for care, and everything was going smoothly, until September 14th when her leg was noticeably swollen.  This was puzzling as her eyes had only just opened and she had just started moving around.  How could she have injured her leg?  Veterinarian Tanya Jackson thought it was broken.  X-rays showed no break, but there was a great deal of bone infection at her ankle, presumably due to a tooth puncture from the dog who carried her.  Antibiotics were given, but the swelling did not subside.  A few days later, a drain was inserted at the ankle.  It was feared the rapidly progressing infection would do damage, as it was pushing the ankle bones apart, and they were starting to deteriorate.  Antibiotics were alternated with probiotics.  The drain remained in place almost two weeks, until the 29th, and it did the trick. 

At the end of December the squirrel  was moved to a different volunteer’s home so she could be in an outdoor cage.  There she spent the winter, building strength in that ankle, well-fed, and protected from storms.   Spring came, and she started pacing, running back and forth in the bottom of the cage.  She wanted out, and a break in the weather allowed the caregiver to open the door.  The squirrel returned to the nest box each night until she had her own nest in the trees finished.  She is still seen visiting a feeding station for free food.    

“It’s been a long time coming….”

The morning of March 13 saw a wonderful event that might never have come to be.  The Red-shouldered Hawk that had been in care for over a year and a half was finally able to be released.   Every time it had seemed close to that special day before, it would drop or damage critical feathers, making release impossible.   Then would begin yet another period of waiting for the feathers to regrow.  (Earlier stories about her were in our Winter and Spring newsletters in 2016. ) A bird must be able to fly well to survive in the wild, and losing certain feathers may not rule out flight, but rules out good, controlled, flight.  Periodically throughout this long time we’d need to obtain Federal permission to continue holding the bird.  At last two more feathers were imped (see Winter 2016) four days before the release, which gave the hawk enough control to start out on her own.  She had never been free as an adult, so she has many places to see and much to explore.  What a joy and an honor to have worked with her.

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.

Laurie Padgett has had a love of animals from the very start.  She learned of MLWC by attending a flea market in Tuolumne where we had a booth about a year ago.  Her previous work with animals included wildlife rescue, transport, and feeding with the Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward.  She also did domestic rabbit rescue work while living in Fremont and had thirty-five rabbits at one point!

Laurie has done much-needed wildlife transport work for us, and last July she cared for a Kingbird at her home for about two weeks.  That was fun, and she enjoyed seeing the bird flourish.  It moved from there to a flight cage at the director’s location, where it gained strength until its release near Moaning Caverns, and Laurie was the one to set it free. 

She is happily anticipating her own aviary, which will be built in her yard before too long.  This will allow her to care for a greater range of animals.  She is most impressed with the scope and depth of knowledge of our long-term volunteers.  She loves Tuolumne, a neat town with very friendly people, surrounded by nature.

Director’s Docket:                                   What a difference a wet winter makes.  There's snow in the mountains and water in the reservoirs.  Now I want to fill our organization with new volunteers!  We've got cages to build, animals to care for, and many other ways to help.  Some non-profit organizations are looking for new members for their Boards of Directors:  the Central Sierra Audubon Society, the Sierra Foothills chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and the Tuolumne Group of the Sierra Club - notice a theme?  We have a five person board that meets four times a year and I'm grateful to each of them.  If you have a passion for birds, plants, or wildlife and a willingness to give something back, any of these organizations would love to hear from you.  

We all lead busy lives but I've found that what I do as a volunteer matters the most.                             -Laura Murphy

AmazonSmile is a great way to send a little money our way, but not out-of-pocket.  When you order things at AmazonSmile, they send a small percentage to us.  It’s quick and easy to set up - go to and arrange it, designating Mother Lode Wildlife Care as the charity you want to benefit.  From then on, shop at AmazonSmile by way of, and your purchases will contribute a little to your favorite wildlife group.  It all adds up.  Thank you!

It's Spring, and here comes the Home & Garden Show to the fairgrounds in Sonora again, so come see us there!  
It's April 8th and 9th, and the hours are: Saturday 9:00-5:00 and Sunday 10:00-4:00.  

We'll have a booth indoors, and you can meet us, have questions answered, and sign up for a free raffle of a basket which includes a bird nest box and other related items.  What a great weekend activity!
Dog Parade and family day - 
Dog-centric fun for all!
Saturday, April 15th, downtown Twain Harte.
Registration 10 am, Parade 11 am.
Agility course, fun booths, and it's all a fundraiser for local animal shelters -         what could be better?
We'd love to meet you, so come to our booth.

For more information, call 209-586-1976.
Sponsored by Twain Harte Rotary and       Twain Harte Business Association.
The benefit for MLWC's 100' cage fund, performed by the wonderful Grateful Band, draws closer. This will be their Prosperity/Positivity Concert April 30th at Columbia Nursery, 1 - 3 PM ($15 charge.). The band plays positive, fun, original acoustic music that some of us have experienced and loved.  Band member Alex Kash also performs there starting at 1 PM Tuesday thru Thursday weekly ($15 charge.) He has had a marvelous musical career and played with many remarkable musicians, including Van Morrison, Sly Stone, Dire Straights, Cher, and Pablo Cruise.  Be sure to join us at Columbia Nursery April 30 with friends or family for the special concert that will help fund an important cage for local birds on the mend!
Here's an exciting new event for everyone!  
Friends and Neighbors Expo at the fairgrounds in Sonora is Wednesday, June 7th, from 10:00 to 3:00.  We'll have a booth in the John Muir Building and would love to meet you.  The Expo will showcase community resources and business and lifestyle options, including travel, fitness, volunteerism, and safety.  
Come for fun, giveaways, and food, with free admission!
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.   Andy Maurer provided the robin photo, Sally Greninger the screech owl and Laura Murphy provided photos.

Two poems


Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
Wish List
Reliable 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.
Copyright © 2017 Mother Lode Wildlife Care, All rights reserved.

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