You may not think clearing brush in your backyard during nesting season will do any harm, however, these four little nestlings were found, still in their nest, hours after brush had been cut and cleared. Thankfully they were immediately brought to us and we raised four Spotted Towhees!
Clint and Irene rounded up a Mallard Duck and her nine ducklings when they were chased by a dog. The mother flew onto the highway and ended up on the other side of the road. She had a broken wing and broken leg. Her ducklings ran into a ditch which was covered with thick weeds. It took us two hours to find the 2 day old ducklings! The mother recovered from her injuries and she and her babies were eventually released to the wild when the ducklings were full grown.
When we rescued a sick Trumpeter Swan, we suspected it was suffering from lead poisoning, so we took it to a veterinarian for treatment. Blood tests and x-rays confirmed our fears, the beautiful bird had lead pellets in it's gizzard. Once discharged from hunters' guns, lead shot sinks to the bottom of lakes,rivers and estuaries and is consumed by waterfowl seeking a source of grit. When the results of the bloodsamples were received from the Ministry of Agriculture, the normal avian blood lead was given as 20- 200 ppb.
The swan had 4400 ppb!
Intensive treatment was started to try to save the swan, which included
giving two shots per day, administering antibiotics and tube feeding.
Sadly our efforts were in vain, and the swan died 16 days later.
When we received a call that a mother duck had been hit by a car and subsequently died leaving her six orphaned day old ducklings at Sechelt Marsh, volunteer Barbara Lee Fraser and Irene knew we needed to rescue them. The ducklings had been on their own for two hours before we were notified.
They hurriedly drove to the Marsh and when they arrived, they spotted the ducklings. They were frantically swimming from one adult duck to another, peeping all of the time. Having no mother to round them up, they were “all over the Marsh”. Irene and Barbara Lee knew they had a difficult job ahead of them if the ducklings were to be saved. There was no way they could catch the ducklings as they were not near the shoreline, so they asked Charlene Clarke from Sunshine Kayaking if she could help. Charlene brought her kayak to the Marsh and herded the ducklings, one by one to the shore
Even tiny ducklings can run fast and it was not easy trying to catch them. A number of spectators watched the drama unfold and one of them, Kelly, decided not just to watch the action but to become involved! She waded into the Marsh, along with Barbara Lee and Irene, and eventually all of the ducklings were safely in a box lined with soft towels.
Soon the ducklings were snuggled together in a warm kennel cab in
our Centre and gradually over the next few weeks they grew their adult
feathers and were transferred to our outdoor aviary. One warm, sunny
day Irene, Barbara Lee and Kelly watched six healthy full grown young
ducks be released back into the Marsh. Thanks to the efforts of Irene,
Barbara Lee, Kelly and Charlene, those small lives were saved. With
team work anything is possible!
When this Great Horned Owl arrived from Sechelt, he was emaciated,
weighing only 900 grams
A cat caught this young Douglas squirrel. He was 2-3 weeks old when brought to us and luckily had no serious injuries. He ravenously drank the special squirrel mixture we made for him and although he was so young, it took no time at all for him to grab the syringe with his front paws and hold on tightly whenever he had finished the mixture hoping more would be added to the syringe.
He soon developed from a sleepy baby to a boisterous juvenile squirrel, instinctively hiding his food and exercising constantly. When old enough and self-feeding, we transferred him to our squirrel house where he could see the wild squirrels in the surrounding woods. One day we opened the hatch at the back of the house and let our furry friend decide when he wanted to leave. He eventually left but did return a number of times to his “home” until he was accustomed to being free. Now, when a squirrel comes to our feeder, we wonder if it is our little guy. We like to think that one of them is … in fact we are almost sure of it!
Every year we receive calls to help rescue birds trapped in chimneys. One “rescue” however stands out from the others.
We were called to rescue a Barred Owl that had fallen down a chimney and landed on the damper. The fireplace was huge. When Clint walked into it (the fire was not lit!), he could see the owl sitting on the damper looking down at him. By stretching up, Clint could touch the owl but each time he did, it flapped, moved along the damper and clouds of soot landed on top of Clint! Eventually, with Clint becoming blacker by the minute, he managed to grab the owl behind the legs and carefully bring him down the chimney.
Thankfully the owl was none the worse for his two night’s stay in the chimney and we were able to release him. Clint, on the other hand, had soot in his hair, down the back of his neck, and all over his clothes. He could not get home quick enough to have a shower.
When boys found a nestling killdeer they took it to the SPCA from where it was transferred to us. Unfortunately, the killdeer should never have been picked up. It was uninjured and healthy but only a few days old.
As killdeer nest in a shallow depression on the ground, the boys
obviously did not know that its parents were probably nearby. Killdeer
are not the easiest of birds to raise, however, we are pleased to
report that we did successfully raise this little one and on a bright,
sunny day, we released him at Sargents Bay.
When an old tree on Keats Island was in danger of falling, it was
cut down. Unfortunately, after it had fallen and split in two, a pileated
woodpecker’s nest was discovered. One of the nestlings died
in the fall but the other was still alive so was brought by boat to
Gibsons and then to us.
Clint made an artificial “nest cavity” for him with parts of a log. When Woody became used to his new home and to being hand-fed, he would pop up out of the hole to be fed and then disappear back down it! When he was old enough to be transferred to a larger aviary, large logs were placed upright and he delighted in flying from one to the other and then destroying them with his constant pecking. Soon he outgrew (and partially destroyed) the inside aviary and was transferred to our squirrel house in the woods at the back of the property (it was empty at the time!). There he had lots of room to fly and we had our very own sawmill! By the time he was ready for release there was 6” of woodchips covering the floor! Woody was taken back to Keats Island on a sunny afternoon and Clint and one of our volunteers had the pleasure of seeing him fly back into his wild home. Goodbye, Woody, we enjoyed having you with us!
“Stinky Minky” was brought to us after he was found in a ditch. His mother and two siblings were lying dead on the road. We estimated the young mink to be around 6-8 weeks old. Initially we put him in a large cage in one of our indoor “open” rooms but soon found the only place this little creature could stay (and allow us to breathe fresh air) was in our bathroom with the fan on! Stinky Minky was aptly named! We had never raised a mink before and he was a very interesting little animal. He ravenously ate his food and loved to shred the sheet covering part of his cage after pulling it into the cage. He hid under the towels we put in the bottom of the cage and, as he grew older, would rush and hiss at anyone daring to put their fingers close to the cage.
After a few weeks, Stinky Minky was transferred outside into our
squirrel house (minus the squirrels) where he had lots of fun running
up and down the planks of wood and playing under the branches and
leaves on the floor. Two months after he arrived, it was time to release
the mink back into the wild and we let him go close to where he had
been found. The minute his cage was opened, Stinky Minky dashed out
and in seconds disappeared under thick undergrowth, without stopping
to say goodbye!
When we received a call about a raccoon with its paw caught in a leg-hold trap, we immediately drove to the location. The trap, which had been illegally set, could only be seen from the water and luckily a boater had spotted it. It was underneath a derelict walkway approximately 15ft up from the water. Clint carefully edged his way along the rotten wooden walkway and rocks and eventually reached the terrified raccoon. Carefully he released the trap from its swollen paw and put the raccoon into a cage. We examined the raccoon’s paw and although swollen it was not cut, so decided it best to release him.
Leg-hold traps inhumanely kill thousands of fur bearing animals every
year. If you are against this cruel treatment of our wildlife, and
would like further information please contact
How were we going to free him? As the raccoon was hanging by the leg, Clint’s immediate thought was to take the raccoon’s weight from the trapped leg, so he found a plank of wood and put it under the raccoon and placed a cage in front of it. Once the raccoon was no longer hanging by its leg, it calmed down and Clint was able to go behind the tree and lever the leg up between the two tree trunks and thus release it.
The raccoon immediately ran into the cage which we quickly closed
behind him. We checked its leg. It was not broken and there was no
bleeding, although it was a bit swollen, but the raccoon was standing
on the leg and we decided it best to set it free. We carried the cage
into the woods and released a very happy raccoon who ran off, using
all four legs, and soon disappeared amongst some bushes.
On occasion a member of the public will mis-identify a wild bird, but we were surprised to find a renowned ornithologist also made this mistake!
During a nesting survey on the Sunshine Coast, he found a young bird
being harassed by a hawk. The ornithologist arranged for the bird,
which he identified as a young blue grouse, to be brought to us for
care. We had never raised a young grouse before and, after a few weeks,
were surprised to see the hint of red appear around his neck area.
The young bird continued to grow…. and grow ….. and grow!
He changed colours from greyish to speckled brown (was he a ruffed
grouse?) to black.
What was he? Soon it became apparent, our young blue grouse was in
fact a male TURKEY! Now weighing in at 40 lbs. “Ricky”
has become the mascot of the Centre. He follows everyone around in
our large aviary and loves a hug! He has even persuaded some people
to stop eating turkey – a 40lb turkey can be pretty persuasive!
When we had a Kingfisher in care, the only food he would eat was very small fish. One day we had some small fish left over and decided to give them to the gulls in our large outside aviary. In the aviary we had a number of crows, including a tame crow, ‘Frankie” who at that time was still quite young. We enjoyed watching Frankie’s antics as he learned how to ”hide” his food. He would grab a piece of food, make a hole in the ground, place the food into it, and then cover the hole with leaves. On occasions he would try hiding the food in other holes he found throughout the aviary.
Frankie likes to sit on the shoulders of the volunteers who clean
the aviary and on the day in question, our volunteer, Barbara Lee,
was working in the aviary, when Frankie flew on to her shoulder. She
then felt something being pushed into her ear by Frankie so immediately
retrieved the object. Yes, it was one of the tiny fish! Frankie had
noticed Barbara Lee’s ear and decided it was a good hiding place
for his food. For some reason Barbara Lee didn’t agree!