It’s Good To Be Back From Vacation

I’m baaaack. For those of you who missed me, thanks for the well-wishes and for constantly interrupting my recent vacation to tell me you want me to write more articles. Obviously, absolutely nothing has been happening at Peace River Wildlife Center worth writing about. We haven’t had any cute patients admitted. (Okay, except for these two common gallinules which are adorable.) And we certainly haven’t had any interesting releases. It’s a little difficult to single out any one incident when we have released almost 100 birds and mammals over the past few weeks alone. (But that is exactly what I am going to do.)

This spring PRWC had four red shouldered hawk fledglings fall out of their nests. We tried to re-nest two of them, but they ended up right back at our facility after falling out again within a day or two. So we set them all up together to wait until they were old enough to be released. At first they had to be force fed. Then they started to eat on their own. Eventually, before release, we had to live prey train them to be sure they can fend for themselves in the wild. One of our rescue volunteers, Bill Kimber, got to do the honours with this hawk. The bird was taken back to the area from which it was rescued and released safely back into the wild.

As an avid nature photographer, Bill was a frequent visitor at PRWC. He was finally convinced by our tour guide coordinator, Jan Cummings (she can be very persuasive!) to come on board as a tour guide. After all, it’s only one day a week for a few hours. What could possibly go wrong? Bill could be the poster child for exactly why one never wants to ask that question.

Innocently enough, Bill started volunteering at PRWC almost a year ago as a tour guide. Soon after that he and his wife, Elaine, took a class on wildlife rescue. They now go on many rescues for PRWC when people find wildlife in distress, but are unable to bring the animals in for treatment. With Elaine as a “decoy”, his first rescue was a burrowing owl. Now, with close to 80 rescues under their collective belt, Bill and Elaine are two of our most trusted rescuers, claiming that “doing a capture and then a successful release gives us a great deal of joy and celebration.”

Our small staff, usually consisting of one rehabilitator and one office clerk, is unable to leave their posts to go out and pick up injured wildlife. We are lucky to have dedicated volunteers like Bill to help with rescues and we can always use more. If anyone is interested in learning how to safely rescue injured wildlife, call PRWC or information on upcoming classes.

But Bill’s service to PRWC doesn’t stop there. He is a newly elected member of our board of directors. Hoping to put his experience as a Florida Master Naturalist and an avid fisherman to good use in the pursuit of PRWC’s goal to treat and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife and release them back into the wild, Bill’s love of the outdoors should serve him well as he helps PRWC transition to the next level of its existence.

Peace River Wildlife Center has grown and changed over the past 30 years, but one thing remains constant. We continue to attract some of the best people who selflessly give their time and talents to help further the mission of wildlife rehabilitation. We are indebted to all of our past volunteers for making us what we are today. And we are grateful to our current and future volunteers as we look forward to what we will become in the not-too-distant future.

– By Robin Jenkins

June 2014

Releasing a Red Shouldered Hawk
Releasing a Red Shouldered Hawk
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