Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wildlife Rehabilitation

My mom spent a few years as a volunteer for a wildlife rehabilitation organization. All I can remember about it is the time she caught a bunch of baby mice and swiftly dispatched all of them so as to feed an injured owl she was nursing back to health. Plus I remember that she spent a week away up north somewhere just after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, helping clean the oil off of sea birds.

This morning Mr. Thel burst into the house and informed me that he and Chloe had just spotted an injured red-tail hawk down the street, flopping around on the ground. He found a large cardboard box and a couple of old towels to help capture it; I helped by tippety-tapping at the computer to find a nearby wildlife rescue group. It turns out that PAWS has a wildlife center open 7 days a week up in Lynnwood. Mr. Thel donned bicycle gloves to protect his hands and together we went back to the bird. The hawk was alert and definitely opposed to being captured, but Mr. Thel successfully managed to place a towel over it and gently transfer it to the box without much fuss. The bird's halfhearted struggle (and the way it sort of flopped over on its head in the box at first...) made me even more concerned about its condition.

We brought it back and left it in the driveway for a few minutes while I staggered about trying to find my glasses and get dressed. PAWS is across Seattle from us, but Sunday morning traffic was light and we were there in half an hour. They have this whole compound up there; I'd known of them as an animal shelter but had no idea they did rehabilitation and release of wildlife. The woman at the wildlife center transferred the injured hawk to their facilities and assured us that a vet would be out to take a look at him tomorrow or earlier. "When I transferred him to the cage he immediately clutched at it with his talons, so that's a good sign," she said. She took our address and the location where he was found, and said that if they can heal him they'll release him back here where he came from. "We'll send you a card to let you know what happens to him," she promised.