Summer into Fall at the Center

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By Carol Holmgren, Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator

We are always striving to improve the quality of care we provide patients, and this fall a longtime dream was realized with the acquisition of onsite x-ray equipment. Thanks to generous support from Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a Keybank Trust; Erie County Community Foundation; and Crawford Heritage Community Foundation, we purchased x-ray equipment that will be ready for use this winter. Many patients we treat have experienced collisions or other trauma that can cause internal injuries that are hard to identify without x-rays. It isn’t possible to take every patient to a veterinarian for x-rays, so we are excited that on-site equipment will make this critical diagnostic available to every patient that might benefit from it.

We also have recently improved treatment of owls with eye injuries through collaboration with Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP). Since owls rely heavily on hearing to hunt, they can thrive with vision in one eye. However, a blinded eye must be surgically removed to prevent infection, and few veterinarians know how to do this. HARP’s staff veterinarian wanted to learn how, and this summer she partnered with TWC’s rehabilitation assistant Dawn DeCrease, who gave tips on avian anesthesia, to remove a blind eye from an Eastern Screech Owl in TWC’s care. The surgery was successful, and the owl was released after demonstrating good hunting skills, paving the way for other owls to have this procedure in western PA.

Already this year we’ve treated over 1,000 patients and responded to 2,000 calls at TWC, continuing an upward trend in patients that started in 2020. Each patient is a wild creature in trouble found by someone who cares, and it is a privilege to give them professional care. Recently, we have released a Bald Eagle nicknamed Rosie, a Swainson’s Thrush, a Northern Cardinal, Virginia Opossums, a Grey Squirrel, Mourning Doves, Great Horned Owls, Eastern Screech Owls, and more. Patients continuing in care include a Peregrine Falcon, Painted and Snapping Turtles, two Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, and more.

Volunteers and interns provide essential support and patient care, and we are grateful for their contributions. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteer or internship opportunities, contact Jessica (jess@tamarackwildlife.org) for more information.

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