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Past Featured Wildlife RehabilitatorClick here to see other past featured wildlife rehabilitators.
(NOTE: This information may be out of date...transferred here from old site.)
Occupation: Wildlife Biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Seven years with the department)
Experience: Almost 14 years specializing in raptors. Received my original training in rehab through the Washington State University Veterinary School Raptor Rehabilitation program where I volunteered as a cage cleaner, bird walker, and anything else I could do to get close to those wonderful raptors. Received my first comprehensive training from the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. When I returned to Oregon I applied for and received state and federal licenses and co-founded Umpqua Wildlife Rescue in Douglas County, Oregon. I am a past President of the Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitation Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.
Avocations: Freelance writing and Bluegrass Music. I play guitar, mandolin, and am just learning bass. I also sing and write tunes.
Pet peeve: Rehabbers who criticize each other harshly. I think we are especially prone to it because we get so frustrated with so many of the "big" issues that we feel helpless to change - like ecosystem destruction, species extinction, etc. It becomes very easy and somehow safe to take potshots at each other. I'd like to see us all work together and forget the petty differences. We could do great things!
Favorite thing: The look on a rehabber's face when they release their first animal back to the wild.
Favorite Rehab. animal: Golden eagles. 2nd favorite: Mallard ducks
Favorite Rehab. storty: My favorite story is about the rescue of a golden eagle. We received a call at 8 o'clock one rainy November that a hunter had seen a grounded golden eagle that day. As she weighed "at least 40 pounds" according to him, he was reluctant to try and capture her but he knew her exact location and was willing to take us there...in the dark. I rounded up two of my craziest volunteers and we went trundling out with this fellow into the middle of nowhere where it was darker than the inside of a horned owl at midnight and proceeded to run up and down steep hillsides in the middle of a clearcut. Now, "clearcut" is a misnomer because these hillsides were actually filled with all manner of dangerous holes, downed logs and stumps which were just waiting to cripple the unwary rehabber. Miracle of all miracles, we actually located the bird, who soared over our heads in the dark. It was only because the finder insisted that the bird had been shot that we continued the search. She could obviously fly, right? Wrong. When we finally managed to get a blanket over her, she smelled to high heaven. She had a hole the size of a softball where her right shoulder used to be.
We went stumbling back down the hill. Because it was so steep and muddy, my volunteers insisted on flanking me and each held one of my sleeves. My arms, of course, were wrapped around the eagle. First on the left and then on the right, I would hear, "Be careful here, it's really slip...ooops." Splat. My volunteers took turns falling down but somehow I made it all the way down to the road without falling once. It was just the beginning of the miracles. Because, if it had been any other species, we probably would have euthanized this eagle, even though she made it plain from the first time she took food from us, that she wanted to live. We consulted with USFWS and, for some reason, they insisted, even knowing that the bird would never fly again, that we try and save her.
She went through a lot. Her wound was cleaned and debrided every other day, sometimes under general anesthesia and sometimes under local anesthesia. She never tried to bite us. She was always willing to eat. She fought off all signs of infection after a good course of antibiotics and was an extraordinary patient in every way. She received excellent veterinary care from our DVM, Joanne Richards, and made a good recovery from her injury although she never flew again.
After a 6 month search for a good placement, we managed to find one with a whole prey diet, good caging, and companionship from a young male golden who had been shot as well. When we dropped in to the facility unannounced, a year after placement, we found them sitting shoulder to shoulder, grooming each other, and looking for all the world like two eagles in love. Although it wasn't the happiest of endings because we could not release her, we were pleased that she was educating the public about the beauty and value of her species and the fact that no responsible hunter should ever shoot at an eagle. And that's the story of the bird that our volunteers called, "Amazing Grace."
Written by Marnie Allbritten
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