Archive | January, 2012

Surprise! You Have a House Guest

30 Jan

Imagine walking down into your Michigan basement where you are finally putting away the last of the Christmas decorations and you see something move out of the corner of your eye. You go to investigate and lo’ and behold its a snake! Your first thought is to scream and run for the stairs, but your second thought is what in the heck are you going to do with this snake?

Don’t worry! Finding snakes in your basement is actually a common occurrence during winter in Michigan. During winter, snakes will hunker down to ride out the cold months. During this time snakes rely on  resources that they have stored over the past year as their metabolism slows down. The right hibernacula (the winter quarters of a hibernating animal) provides protection from freezing temperatures and predators while allowing access to air and moisture and your basement happens to make a nice toasty winter home!

So what should you do if you find a snake in your basement? If you aren’t too thrilled about it in your home you can give us a call and we will gladly let it overwinter with us.

On 01/27/12 a Milk Snake was found in a Grand Rapids basement and was then taken to us for care. It will spend the rest of the winter with us where it will be kept nice and warm. You can watch a video of our newest addition here.


Currently at BNC Wildlife Education Center

29 Jan

One of the many new things in the Wildlife Center is our Wildlife Rehab News blackboard. It is currently located just outside the center to the right of our door. There you will find a list of our current critters who we are in the process of rehabbing. Due to space limitations, only a few details are posted. I decided that this post will offer a more detailed explanation of our current guys.

Our Blanding’s turtle came to us after being hit by a car in Kent County on 6/21/11. Its carapace was fractured and was fixed by using epoxy. Epoxy is an adhesive that is often used when repairing turtle shells that have been cracked. The Blanding’s has healed and is now overwintering with us where it will be released once spring arrives.

Unfortunately it is common for us to get in turtles who have been kept illegally as pets. We received two snapping turtles and a box turtle because of this. The two snapping turtles are physically okay and will be released once spring arrives. The box turtle was taken to our vet for care where it was then confiscated. He has liquid pockets underneath his skin and now requires a shot every three days. It is important that wild animals remain in the wild. Not only are you possibly endangering the animal itself by removing it from its habitat, but once removed it can no longer produce offspring ensuring the survival of the species.

Once spring arrives this snapper will be released

Box Turtle receiving his shot

September was the month of Red-Tailed hawks. At one point we had four juvenile Red-Tails, but thankfully we are down to only two.  On 09/29/11, a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk was brought in after it hit the window of Grand Rapids building, which lead to head trauma. The hawk is currently outdoors in our rehab cage building his wing strength up. On 09/19/11, a Red-Tailed was found not flying on the side of 15 mile road in Cedar Springs. Its left humerus was swollen, which could possibly have been because of an old fracture. We waited for it to heal and once the other Red-Tail is released he will get him outdoors.

This Red-Tailed Hawk is currently building up his wing strength outdoors.

Red-Tailed Hawk Found Not Flying

We also have two more  snapping turtles that were brought in during the summer. One, by a Kent County Deputy after being found on the side of the road on 05/12/11. The turtle’s lower jaw was broken and had to be wired back together. She has healed nicely and will be released once spring arrives. The second snapper was found on the Elks Golf Course on 7/11/11 after being hit by a car. His carapace was fracture near the back, so we used epoxy to fix him up. He also is overwintering with us.

This female Snapping Turtle was found injured in the road with a broken jaw.

This guy was found at Elks Golf Course over the summer.

Wildlife Staff want to know what you think! If you have any ideas of what you’d like to see in this blog post a comment. We look forward to hearing from you!

A New Year

22 Jan

As New Year’s came and went the wildlife center was oddly calm. The days were passing by and no new animals were brought into us. While this is a good thing, we at the center know that all too soon that can change. And it did!

On Monday, January 9 a red-phased Eastern Screech Owl was brought in. It had been hit by a car the previous night in Belding, MI. Just from a quick glance we could tell that something was wrong with its right wing. Upon giving an examination, we found that its right humorous was fractured. We immediately called the vet and took the little critter out for x-rays and to see if Dr. Vincent could fix the wing. The humorous was indeed fractured and would be operated on the next morning, but even with the surgery it looked as if the screech would never be able to have full flight. That meant we would get to keep the little guy. While it is sad that we wouldn’t be able to release the screech, we were excited because we had always wanted a red-phased screech to become roommates with our resident grey-phased screech. The next morning the screech made it successfully through surgery, but later in the day died. Unfortunately no matter how much you care for an animal or how well they seem to be doing at the time things like this happen.

Later in the afternoon, we got another Eastern Screech Owl in. This one had been dropped off at a vet’s office in Lowell who then brought it to us. We don’t know what exactly happened to the owl, but it was clear that he had head trauma either from getting hit by a car or possibly flying into a window. Whoever had him had tried to feed him dog food. It was caked all along his beak, covering his nostrils making it hard for him to breath. It is important that if you ever find an injured animal, please DO NOT feed them unless otherwise instructed by an animal care specialist. Sometimes feeding an animal too soon after it has been injured can lead to death! Since the screech was not eating on its own, wildlife staff and volunteers had to force feed it the appropriate amount of food. The screech is now perching, eating on its own, and sleeping the days away. We will keep you updated on his status.

On Thursday, January 12 a male Barred Owl came in after being hit by a truck in Ada. The poor guy had gotten caught in the truck’s visor and had to be pushed out with a hammer handle. He had scratches on his beak and feet and blood in his nose. After an exam, we didn’t find anything else wrong with him. He was lucky! On 1/18/12, Wildlife Staff successfully released the Barred Owl back into the are in which he was found! You can watch his return by following this link to our Youtube account.



Wildlife Education Center’s First Blog!

20 Jan

We are excited to bring you the Wildlife Education Center’s first blog! Here we will give you behind the scene insights into the lives of our permanent residents as well as updates on animals we are currently rehabbing. We will also provide information about upcoming community programs, frequently asked nature questions, and other fun stuff!

With the New Year here, we have many exciting events and projects in the works. One of which will be the introduction of our juvenile Barred Owl, Baby. Baby, who has juvenile cataracts, was brought to us after she was kicked out of her nest by her parents. Her cataracts limited her sight enough to where she would not be able to survive in the wild. She has been placed on our permit and in the spring of 2012 will occupy the barn enclosure along the Wildlife Trail.

Providing education programs through our “Blandford on the Road” program and still having time to rehab critters is a huge undertaking. We have two staff members who oversee the Wildlife Education Center and many wonderful volunteers that help make the center run smoothly. Our veterinarian, Dr. Vincent, works out of the Animal Medical Center of Wyoming where her specialized skills handle our medical needs.

In 2011, we rehabilitated and released 55 animals of which 34 were birds of prey, 18 were reptiles, and 3 were amphibians. The cost of providing care to these animals is based greatly on donations from people like you! To continually provide quality medical care we need your help. To help you can:

  1. Make a donation. Even a small donation goes a long way!
  2. Sponsor an animal. Sponsor any one of our permanent residents and you are helping to cover the costs of providing care and a loving home!
  3. Book a Wildlife Gift Package. By purchasing a gift package for a loved one in which they get an up close and detailed experience with our critters. Your money goes towards supporting our animals.

So, we hope that you enjoy our new blog and that you come back frequently to see what’s happening in the Wildlife Education Center!

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