Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1 2 3 swallow ... lemon drops
This season your local and legal wildlife rehabilitation facility has cared for almost 50 patients. The wildlife in need received care from dedicated volunteers - that’s right volunteers! AHWF is community supported by both labor and finances.

Bear in mind, a survey from renowned ornithology scientists reported most small songbirds feed each of their nestlings an average of 4 to 12 meals per hour. One bird brought food to the nest 1,217 times between 4:15AM and 8PM.       

People may look at the variety of animals that American Heritage Wildlife Foundation provides care for and say “why bother?” or  “it’s only a common animal, what is the fuss? Only the large charismatic game species are important”.

Baby birds require a lot of work and very long hours. Young mammals require round the clock care. To date we have tallied up just shy of 2,000 hours.
The lead wildlife care specialist juggles part time paying jobs and gives up her remaining personal time to provide care for the injured or orphaned wildlife.
Until sufficient funds are available to provide employment, AHWF will continue to utilize volunteers and we hope summer interns.
Our interns have been such a treat. Having someone here at the facility while the lead wildlife specialist is at her paying jobs has been a blessing. They are able to feed and respond to phone calls. They have been trained to receive new patients as well. This is a wonderful benefit for our community. They have instant access to proper rehabilitative care.
One intern alarmed us and had to make a trip to Urgent Care. She had an infected salivary gland. The cure, along with antibiotics and steroid pills, ... lemon drops (yes the doctor actually prescribed hard sour candy!).
This year has been quite diverse in the species received. The patients ranged from our smallest patient ever - a severely dehydrated bat pup weighing only 1.8 gram bat pup to a 4 week old orphaned coyote pup. Also 3 day old robin nestlings to an injured adult male pileated woodpecker. We are so grateful these interns are willing to sacrifice their personal schedules to make time to provide care. Imagine the feeding routine of caring for three batches of swallows (fed each 15 minutes) and juvenile ravens (at 30 minutes) and other recovering wild animals … exhausting should be the first thought.
If you can lend a hand and want to help; please call. 208.266.1488
Wildlife Interns
You may recall the strain the lead wildlife volunteer underwent last year. She was balancing four part time jobs while providing full time wildlife care. Fortunately, we had sufficient funding in the budget to open an internship position. We began the process in January. We contacted Washington and Idaho universities as well as posting on the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website. We posted the application on our website and social media sites.
The response was incredible. We had candidates from Texas to Indiana and Washington to England!

Our first intern began in May but had a personal emergency and  so we began the search again.  Our second intern
 began June 21st.  
and was only able to remain for 3 weeks due to school and work constraints. We were pleased with her youthful enthusiasm. The third intern was able to begin June 21st and will remain through the summer.
These interns were provided their own living space in an RV, home cooked dinners each night, and a $50 week stipend.
You can help us make sure this program happens again next year. Send a contribution to AHWF or go online
Perhaps because of our exposure in the summer issue of Sandpoint Magazine, we have responded to over 180 phone calls and 70 cases to date.  Many of these animals were accepted as patients or referred to BOPNW or Mystic. The sad reality is that some fo these animals in distress suffered needlessly as their rescuers attempted to provide care themselves. We do not chastise those in our community with big hearts and compassionate natures. Our AHWF volunteers are the same mold. We do however become saddened and upset when our pleas to ‘release the animal to AHWF for care’ are ignored. Not only is that citizen acting illegally by attempting care they are also reducing to chances of a successful return and life in the wild for that animal.
Additionally we are deeply disheartened when people call stating they had the animal for x number of days and want to bring it to us.  

There is a harsh reality to face. Young wildlife can often become easily imprinted; this severely inhibits the chance of release. The nutritional requirements related to each  species is very specific. Without proper diet the skin, feathers or fur, eyesight, bones are all effected. This can cause irreversible damage inhibiting successful rehabilitation. There are behavioral factors to observe and be aware of which if done incorrectly can deny the animal a chance to return to the wild.
Wildlife rehabilitation, if done correctly, cannot be found on the internet. It is a learned experience that takes years and networking with other professionals.
If you are sincere about your love of wildlife, and want to pursue this passion, contact us we will happily bring you on and train you as one of our animal care volunteers.  
Thanks to our volunteers we were able to complete our first of two highway clean ups of the AHWF three mile stretch of scenic highway 200. We were able to have a booth at the Independence celebration in Clark Fork, the Memorial Community Center in Hope and the 7B Sunday at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
We have completed two educational presentations in Sandpoint. Our fundraising efforts included the LoveAnimals.org and IdahoGives online campaigns.             We had our fundraising firewood raffle again this year. A huge thanks goes out to Mike T. for finding, cutting, splitting, loading, then unloading over one cord of wood at the lucky winners home.
Nature Center not Taxidermy Studio
North Idaho is full of wild species. Our native neighbors are all around. As the human population continues to grow; conflicts are inevitable.
Idaho has only six facilities for the entire state. North American Heritage Wildlife Foundation is the only 501 (c) 3 nonprofit facility in North Idaho with both   federal and state permits providing care for all      species of wildlife. We work closely with two North Idaho specialty facilities that provide care for raptors and deer.
We are working to not only expand our permits to include the ’charismatic mega-fauna’ which need our care but also to provide the first educational nature center for the Inland Pacific Northwest. To truly appreciate nature we feel it should be heard, felt, tasted, and smelled not just seen as you would in a taxidermy studio.
If you believe that our area needs this type of educational facility, join your neighbors and contribute to the ‘one foot’ campaign.