Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle that looks like this? In our 36 years of operation, we had never seen one with such pale cream/brown body and wing feathers. A bird like this is described as Leucistic. The pale coloration is a result of partial loss of pigmentation in the feathers. Its eyes and feet are the normal color, but the feathers are very pale.
This eagle was seen sitting on the ground in a field in Skagit County. One of our Animal Transport Volunteers was able to capture it and send it over to Wolf Hollow. In addition to its unusual color, there were other mysteries about the bird. It had a bulging crop, so it had just eaten an enormous meal, the feathers on its underside were matted and oily with what smelled like fryer oil, and it had swelling around one elbow. What had it been up to?
Luckily the wing injury was minor, so after a day to digest its meal we gave it a bath to clean the oily feathers and were able to move it into an outdoor enclosure. It quickly progressed to flying further and up to higher perches, so after just 6 days in care, the eagle was sent back for release. I’m sure many people were glad to see this distinctive bird back in its home area again.
Our first Harbor Seal pup of 2020 arrived at Wolf Hollow on May 31st. This is 3-4 weeks earlier than we usually see seal pups at the rehab center, because she came from Ocean Shores on the Olympic Peninsula where pupping season is earlier than it is around the San Juans.
She was seen alone for several days, and over the busy Memorial Day weekend, was constantly harassed by people trying to take photos or get her back into the water. A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist rescued the pup and took her to a vet clinic for initial care. When she arrived at Wolf Hollow, we discovered that she was emaciated (only weighed 14 pounds), dehydrated, had wounds on her flippers and had an umbilical infection, but she was active and had a very loud voice.
She started off in our seal nursery, being fed a special high-fat formula while she regained her strength, but has now progressed to swimming in a pool and learning to eat fish. Our naming theme this year is scientists, so she was named Fossey, after Dian Fossey, the American primatologist famous for her research on Mountain Gorillas.
Wolf Hollow is still open and willing to help wildlife!
With the recent Washington State “Stay Home Stay Healthy” mandate, we have made further changes to our operation, but we are still available to take care of injured and orphaned wildlife, and to answer your wildlife questions over the phone.
For at least the next 2 weeks staff members will be alternating who is on-site and on call, so that only one person is at the center each day. Staff will answer the regular 360-378-5000 number. If you call when we are not at the rehab center you will receive instructions on how to reach the on call staff person. We will be operating without on-site animal care volunteers.
We are asking people on San Juan Island to call ahead if they have an injured or orphaned wild creature so that we can gather all the necessary information over the phone and arrange to receive the animal while maintaining social distancing.
On other islands and the mainland, some vet clinics are willing to continue working with us and a limited number of animal transport volunteers are available to collect animals. They too will be taking precautions in order to minimize contact and reduce risks.
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We realize that it will be more challenging to transport animals to our rehab center and to provide care with limited personnel, but we will do our best to maintain this essential service to wild creatures in need and to our local community.
With your help we’ll get through this and we’ll keep helping wildlife.
Celebrate Spring Wildlife
When so much is uncertain, it’s good to know that nature is continuing as normal. Spring is here, new, fresh leaves are sprouting, flowers are blooming and birds are singing. To celebrate the beauty of spring we invite you to share your photos of local wildlife. Whether you’re out for a walk, working in your yard, or watching from your window, take a moment to enjoy the antics of your local wild creatures, then take a photo and email it to us. We’ll share the best and funniest on our Facebook page and web site.
This is the time of year when many birds are arriving back in our area for the summer, so each week we’ll have a special category for photos of a particular bird, starting this week with the Rufous Hummingbird. To inspire you, we have included a photo taken by Richard Foxenberger a few years ago.
Please email your photos to email@example.com, and don’t forget to include your name and where and when you took the shot.
We look forward to seeing all your beautiful photos.
Baby season at Wolf Hollow officially started on March 1st with the arrival of a batch of tiny infant squirrels that were found on the ground in a yard in Sedro Woolley. This is the earliest we have ever received baby mammals. When they arrived, the little squirrels were only a few days old and were pink and furless, but in just 2 weeks they have almost doubled their weight and have grown a soft down of grey fuzz. Their ears and eyes should open soon, so stay tuned for more photos of these youngsters.
We wanted to reach out and let you know what Wolf Hollow’s plans are in the event that COVID-19 has a major impact on our local area.
First, we have made the decision to cancel our annual Open House. Of course we never want to cancel events, but we felt this was the right decision in the current circumstances. The health of our members, donors, volunteers and community has been and remains a top priority.
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Second, we plan to continue normal operations as much as possible. Our rehabilitation staff will continue to be on site seven days a week and be available by phone after hours for emergencies. If staff members become sick, we have experienced volunteers who are available to fill in so that our wild patients continue to receive care.
We rely heavily on our network of Animal Transport Volunteers on other islands and the mainland to get animals to us for care. As long as our volunteers are able and willing to do this, and the ferries to the islands are running, we plan to continue serving all of San Juan and Skagit Counties and Northern Whidbey Island.
Wildlife “baby season” is here and you can rest assured that we will do our best to continue to provide care for all the injured and orphaned wild creatures that need our help at this time of year.
We are grateful for all the support you have shown our organization throughout the years. We hope you and your loved ones remain well.