Storms such as those that raked the metro area last Friday often bring out the best in people. Remarkably in the midst of their own storm drama many people found the time, energy and spirit to rescue the injured and orphaned animals rendered helpless by the storm. It’s a life-affirming act that we are frequently fortunate to witness; it powers our resolve to do the best that we can.
Throughout Friday a steady stream of people arrived with wet, cold, helpless baby songbirds. By evening we had admitted 110 patients. But the worst was still to come from Friday night’s hurricane-like wind and rain.
Juvenile Pileated Woodpecker Orphaned by Storm
While Saturday was mercifully rain free the Friday night storms resulted in torrent of more baby songbirds blown from their nests by the wind and the rain. Rescuers brought in an additional 147 patients – a total of 257 patients were admitted in 48 hours. Left over clean-up efforts resulted in another 111 patients on Monday.
Our staff and several volunteers did an incredible job of keeping their cool and all the tiny songbirds warm and alive. Most worked nearly around the clock. Special thanks goes to Volunteer Karen Chaney, part-time Certified Vet Techs Amanda Baird and Jamie Karlin, visiting vet student Paula Rodriguez, Avian Nursery Coordinator Jessika Madison-Kennedy, Waterfowl Nursery Coordinator Morgan Lantz, Communications Director Tami Vogel and Veterinarians Leslie Reed and Agnes Hutchinson.
It was great work under pressure. I can’t say I’m surprised however knowing the character of our staff and key volunteers! Their dedication, commitment and passion truly brought life to the powerless.
Like everyone else, this spring has us scratching our heads. From the fewest admits in both April and May since 2003, to two of the three busiest weeks we’ve ever had in June.
Actually this is a typical pattern for atypical weather. Keep in mind that most of our patients are brought in by compassionate people such as those from the weekend. Weather, especially in the spring, is a major factor in our admit patterns. The Twin Cities has experienced 15 straight weekends with some kind of precipitation. April and May were not only wet, but cold. People just were not outdoors much, consequently many of our early spring patients, rabbits, squirrels and other small mammals were less likely to be found by people. The wet pattern has continued but as it’s gotten warmer the precipitation has been more from thunderstorms. In addition, the “baby season” has turned more toward songbirds. The storms have destroyed trees, and nests, throughout the region.
Hoary Bat with Two Babies Found in a Downed Tree. All Were Uninjured and Released Saturday Evening in a Nearby Safe Location.
The 685 patients we admitted last week were the most in our history. Saturday’s 147 admission was the busiest weekend day ever. We’ve averaged nearly 80 patients a day in June and we’re just 200 patients behind our busiest month ever – with a week to go! However, for the entire year we are still behind 2012’s record pace by 283 patients. Crazy.
Rest assured that thanks to our staff, volunteers and supporters, WRC is ready to face whatever challenges come our way. Whether it’s hundreds of baby songbirds orphaned by storms, or a young beaver kit, loon or cygnet that has special rehabilitation needs, we are here to help the powerless.