Meet José, an Eastern Grey Squirrel. I've mentioned him before. He was hit by a car back in November and was in very bad shape with a badly broken nose. Amazingly he survived but couldn't see. His eyes were fine, but the part of his brain in charge of vision had been injured. It can happen that once the swelling of the brain subsides the brain will function properly again. However, after 2 months José is still "brain-blind" and there is little hope that he will regain his vision.
Can you find him in this picture? He loves sleeping in a shoebox with blankets outside my bedroom all day (construction of the animal room is still going on, so my whole house has transformed a bit into the animal house!). I have just filled out an application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to officially adopt him. He is very sweet but cannot be released into the wild. It is my hope that he can be a foster dad to the all the baby squirrels that come to WTS, especially when I get "singletons," lile Lil'Mo, who need to learn squirrelness!
And look who has come back to WTS this winter: the WTS female Yellow Bellied Sapsucker! Sapsuckers are a kind of woodpecker and are not supposed to be here in the winter, but this is her second winter here. Last spring a male joined her, but all winter long she was here all by herself. She loves the suet feeder and will park there for ages.
And there seems like a lot more to report about what has been going on at WTS, but its been super busy with the construction, which is slowly finishing up: exciting! I am so happy that I will now have a real animal treatment area that is clean and doesn't leak (!) (see below picture) for all the wild things (about 100 so far) that come through these doors. And it should be up and running for the spring baby season. I've spend my whole nest egg on this construction, and that kind of a leap-of-faith is a bit scary (don't forget all of WTS work is out-of-pocket, helped a long with some generous donations) but it is definitely something I believe in!
I find it harder to think that it could get any cuter than this! You have to remember that the "big" bunny is only about the size of a small-medium apple, so both of them together could fit into about half the palm of my hand! I was hesitant to put the newborn in with the older one, but as newborns are notoriously hard to keep alive, I thought I'd give it a go. Well, it looks as if they've adopted each other as big & little sister, and I hope this gives the little one a chance. She always finds her "big sister" to cuddle with and it must make her feel a lot more secure. Plus, there is a chance that she might pick up good bacteria from the older one that might help her digestion. They usually get this from mama's milk, but can also pick stuff up just from being around adults. If the little one makes it, by the time she is old enough for release, hopefully the bigger one will have recovered from her cat injuries, and I can release them together. Speaking of which, I believe that I have seen Mister Lopsided Bunny around WTS, and guess what? He's not so lopsided anymore! Amazing how sometimes being back in the wild can put the final touches on recovery!
Well this grand fellow is mighty pleased with himself that he has found a peanut! What you can't tell is that he's already loaded his crop with lots of other goodies. I know that there is an American crow nest nearby, and they love foraging in the WTS woods! But are very wary, and will take off at the first sign of anything. I did some work on feeding behaviour & tool use of New Caledonian crows, and plan to set up a similar test in the woods here to see if American crows are as capable at using tools!
Oh, and here's a better picture of the drumming male sexy Sapsucker. I am loving my new camera!
Almost forgot- look at this groovy lady who I was lucky enough to see in the WTS woods today: a Ruffed Grouse! I had never seen one before. It was about the size of a big chicken. I will have to look out for them more. Apparently the males do wonderful displays in leks, which would be super cool to see!