Wow! It’s mid-February already and we are just finding time to reflect on last year and share our plans for 2017. Baby season started early which means lots of calls for babies and chicks that require a lot of time and effort. Volunteers are moving into action, tube and bottle feeding babies that have been displaced during the storms we’ve had so far. When attempts to reunite with parents aren’t successful, they rely on our rehab team to give them around the clock care for the first several weeks.
Last year was our second official year and we accomplished so much- we’re thrilled to be growing and making such a positive impact on our community and environment. In fact, we’ve already had a wild start to our year with the St. Pete pelican crisis in January which lead to us filing for an extension on our annual log report to U.S. Fish and Game with our final numbers and case results.
While we are still working feverishly to crunch our numbers we estimate that in 2016 we handled more than 1500 cases which is almost 150% of what we did in our first year (1015), 2015. We are expecting this year for that increase to continue and we are planning for nearly 2500 animals in 2017.
This year we are setting the bar even higher, and will need your help to care for as many animals as possible. It is important to remember that while we have owls in our name, we work with almost all native Florida wildlife. We’ve already seen a large increase in the number of orphaned and injured mammals so far this year and need to provide additional support and supplies to our mammal fosters so that may do not have to turn away any animals in need.
These supplies include everything needed to care for orphaned mammals such as:
- Housing: clear plastic bins with lids that latch (~6qt, ~66qt, & ~72qt) and wire cages
- Warmth: non-auto shut off heating pads/blankets, baby hats (any size), receiving blankets, flat sheets, and baby blankets
- feeding gear: miracle nipples and syringes (2.5/3cc, 5/6cc, 10/12cc)
- medical supplies (baby gas drops and pedialyte)
- formula (Fox Valley Day One 32/40 and Fox Valley Day One 20/50).
Another great way to help all of our animals is through the donation of gift cards to local stores such as grocery stores (where we can pick up produce and meat for the animals), gas cards (for volunteers who are on rescue calls), pet stores (for animal food, enclosure hideaways, medical wrap, and crates), and everything stores such as Target or Walmart (for all of the other various needs such that pop up with the unexpected).
Aside from providing direct care to animals we also do a lot of education and outreach to try and prevent as many cases as we can. In 2016 we attended 40 events (days) and we are hoping to attend even more this year aiming for 50 with 13 already booked. We may even host an event or two ourselves including family friendly volunteer clean-ups! In order to attend more events and increase our reach in our community we do need to expand our educational resources as well. We are working on finding grants to help with these costs but could use your help too! We invite you to check our calendar to see where we will be so that you can come out to say hi, hear about some of our recent cases, and maybe even meet an animal ambassador if one happens to stop by. We’d love to meet you!
Looking further ahead, we have some exciting things in motion that we are working to continue. Project Taking Flight is fledging, much like our rehab birds will be. You can read more about what’s going on with that on the project’s GoFundMe page, and discover some ways that you can help make that dream a reality. Additionally, we are working to expand our educational outreach options for the community. It’s part of our mission to help make the conservation of wildlife a part of our local conversations. They depend on us working together to help keep their home a ‘wild’ place to be. As these and other projects develop, we’ll keep you updated about what’s going on and how you can be a part of it!
If you’re curious about any of the other ways you can help out, we’ve attached a wish list for this quarter to the bottom of the post. As the seasons change, some of our needs do too, so we invite you to take a look and see if you have items that you have that would fit what we’re looking for.
Finally, we really want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Without your interest, donations, calls about injured or orphaned wildlife, and well-wishes, there’s no way that we would be able to have the impact that we do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Here’s to 2017 with all of it’s adventures, rescues, and connections that we’re sure to discover. Stay tuned for more stories!