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August 4, 2021

Tag: werc

Windows can be a major hazard for birds

I am enjoying my morning coffee when I hear a sickening thud and the sound of something lightly sliding down the kitchen window. The window shakes ever so slightly. Before I can even look up from my newspaper, I realize a bird has struck the window. Looking outside, I see a trembling, dazed mockingbird on the walkway below. Fortunately, he is on his feet. I watch him for a few minutes to be sure none of my neighbor's cats, who claim my yard as their own, find him. In a few minutes, thankfully, he is airborne again—hopefully wiser about windows and no worse for wear.

A tale of three unfortunate opossums

To paraphrase Hamlet, the young opossum literally suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune. It was walking along the top of a fence just minding its own business, perhaps looking for an evening meal of fallen fruit or crunchy snails, when a person deliberately shot it down with an arrow. A neighbor saw the poor creature desperately struggling and notified the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center. Staff at WERC found the arrow had pierced the top of the front leg and through the chest, narrowly missing vital organs, but leaving him extremely weak and causing severe nerve damage in the leg. X-rays showed the humerus bone was shattered. It was with very sad hearts that this little opossum was euthanized.

Open Space Authority founders recall its vision

Virginia Holtz grew up in Washington State and at a young age lived in a log house in a state park not far from Seattle. Her father was the caretaker of the park and her grandparents were farmers. Holtz’s childhood was spent outdoors; she recalls seeing the local Native Americans fishing for eels and watching tadpoles grow legs and become frogs. When she married and moved to Santa Clara County in 1979, she was shocked at the rapid, unplanned development going on all around her. In contrast, people in Washington seemed to place a high priority on open space, parks, lakes and farmland.

Rehab for baby bobcats

WERC, the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center of Morgan Hill, is celebrating 20 years of successfully raising and releasing orphaned or injured bobcat kittens back to their native habitat using innovative and life-saving techniques.

Relocating animals rarely successful

You have just discovered that a mother raccoon has given birth to five adorable black-masked cubs in the crawl space under your house. Much as you love wild animals, you don't want them living with you, and you know raccoon feces contain a parasite that causes serious illness in humans. So you go to the nearest pet products store, buy or rent a humane trap, bait it and soon mama is corralled. You scoop up the babies, carefully load the trap and raccoons into your car and drive out to the nearest park or reservoir, where you release the raccoon family. Problem solved, right?

Young great blue heron gets food, help

In June, a boating inspector named Patricia came across a young great blue heron in the middle of the road at Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park in San Martin. The bird couldn't fly but was trying to hop across the road to get up an embankment. Concerned that it might get hit by a vehicle, Patricia brought the bird to the ranger station. Park ranger Seth Topping, who just happens to be a former WERC volunteer, contacted the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center for advice on evaluating whether the bird needed to be rescued or should be returned to the lake. Because its attempts to strike and defend itself were slow and off the mark, Topping determined that it was probably too young or too malnourished to live if released. Patricia transported it to WERC.

Wildlife comes close

Red-winged blackbirds in an oak forest? Gray foxes lounging on a backyard deck? Duck families bobbing in your swimming pool? An influx of seemingly abandoned fawns near homes and businesses?

Animals are link between humans, nature

For those wild animals that have been injured or orphaned, the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center strives to mend their bodies and psyches and return them to their habitats, healthy and free. Unfortunately, other animals have suffered permanent injuries and their chances for long-term survival are negligible. But after considering certain conditions, such as the animal’s disposition, age and injuries, some of them may get a second chance and become a candidate for educational programs.

We must preserve land for future generations

Human beings have too often been short-sighted when it comes to protecting the earth’s resources. In our defense, fresh air, clean water, wildlife and land often disappear slowly and their absence isn’t noticed until it’s too late. Also, it’s difficult to plan ahead when it appears that doing so will require us to change the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to. We enjoy large homes and easy access to supermarkets, big box stores and restaurants. The now-growing economy means we will need more homes and apartments for people to live in. Why not build on that lovely hillside, the one with the old oak trees and that great view of the valley?

Animal hoaxes on the Internet: Will WERC’s ‘aquatic opossum’ be next?

Have you heard the one about the fox that shot a hunter in Belarus? According to a story published by Reuters, an “unnamed hunter” wounded a fox, then a scuffle occurred when he tried to finish off the animal with his rifle butt. The fox resisted and pulled the trigger, shooting the man in the leg. Red flag: The fox escaped, and there were no witnesses.