Wildlife Hospital Stories

Raccoon dentistry

Raccoon dentistry

A young adult raccoon was brought into the wildlife hospital with a broken canine tooth. Hospital staff took digital x-rays and discovered a bullet lodged in the animal’s jaw. Someone had shot the raccoon in the face. Dr. Guthrum Purdin from Lindsay Wildlife Museum removed the bullet but he knew the raccoon would need additional, specialized dental care. Hospital staff took the raccoon to Dr. Ruth Adams at Muller Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek. She removed a broken tooth, which if left in place could have become infected, causing the animal great pain and possibly even death from infection. The raccoon made a full recovery with the help of a Lindsay Wildlife Museum hospital home care volunteer, and was released back to the wild.

Double baby hawk rescue

Double baby hawk rescue

Wildlife hospital staff and volunteers recently succeeded in a double baby hawk rescue. The double rescue began when the hospital received a baby red-shouldered hawk, injured by a fall from its nest to the ground. Staff strongly suspected the baby might be an orphan, since its parents had not been spotted. Plus the baby’s nest was nearly 100 feet up in a redwood tree and inaccessible.

While staff were working to heal the orphan, another young red-shouldered hawk fell out of a different nest from a different tree, and was brought to the hospital. This baby was in good health, and adult hawks had been sighted close to where it was found. So hospital staff secured a wicker basket to a tree nearby, and placed the baby inside. Within a few days, the baby in the wicker nest was sighted with a huge crop, meaning its parents were definitely feeding it.

Staff grabbed their chance, and added the orphaned baby to the wicker nest, in hopes that the hawk parents would feed it as their own. The two babies have not fallen out again, and parent hawks have since been sighted on the nest. Hospital team members are hopeful that all is well with the two fledglings and their newly expanded family.

Owl baby rescue

Owl baby rescue

On April 11, a 3-week-old great horned owl baby was found on the ground under a tall redwood tree. Hospital staff observed it for a couple of days to make sure it was healthy. During that time, volunteers went out to look for its nest. About 60′ up the tree, they found an adult great horned owl on its nest with another youngster. Jim McCreary, of McCreary Tree Service, volunteered to climb the tree and reunite the owlet with its parents. This photo was taken on April 16, and shows the young owl settling into its new nest, a donated basket, to replace the nest the youngster had been blown out of on a very windy night. Thanks to Jim, the golf course superintendent who found the owl too close to a fairway, and all the volunteers who helped reunite the owl with its family.
Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

On January 24, we released this adult female sharp-shinned hawk back to the wild. Her liftoff near the Clayton Library was a marvelous sight, as she took off strongly and flushed a flock of songbirds out of the trees as she rose through theĀ air. The hawk had been found in Clayton at the end of December, unable to stand and with an injured wing. Radiographs showed she had fractured her clavicle (a bone that helps create the shoulder joint.) Injuries like these are especially serious in birds that need to fly well enough to maneuver around trees.

Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet Owl

A northern saw-whet owl was brought to Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s hospital in February after being found on a road near Port Costa. The tiny owl, weighing only as much as 15 quarters, had probably been hit by a car. The finders were surprised to find out the strange-looking thing in the road was an adult owl.

Northern saw-whet owls are not common in the Bay Area and we see few in the wildlife hospital. They can sometimes be heard, but are rarely seen, in the Oakland and Berkeley hills.

The bird had a swollen left shoulder and an injured left eye. After receiving pain medication and antibiotic ointment for its eye for several days, the bird was placed in a large outdoor aviary to make sure it had perfect flight and could find food. All was well and the owl was released back in Port Costa in early March.