Volume 21                                                                                                 September 2005                  

A quarterly newsletter produced by the Wildlife Rehabilitators of North Carolina (WRNC). WRNC's mission is to share information and knowledge about wildlife rehabilitation for the benefit of native wildlife. For comments or questions, write to: WRNC, 2542 Weymoth Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.

Editors Sally Davis and Brenda Hiles

WRNC's 4th Annual Symposium
Jan. 27 - 29, 2006

WRNC is planning for its 4th annual symposium, which once again will be held at the North Carolina Zoo's Education Center in Asheboro. This year's symposium will focus on hands-on activities. Necropsy and drug calculation workshops, cage building and a series of case studies are planned. We also are planning to have sessions on some very exciting topics including in-depth rabbit care, hummingbirds, imprinting and radiographs. Watch our website for more information as sessions and speakers are confirmed. The registration form will be available online in October and will be mailed to members in November.

Again this year we will have a large selection of books and supplies available for purchase. We are requesting that you pre-order the books so we can assure that we will have enough copies of the popular titles. Submit your order on our website or by mailing in the form on Page 9.

Would you like to give a presentation at the symposium? See the Call for Speakers on Page 6 to find out how to submit a proposal. Speakers are granted a waiver of the registration fee for the symposium. Would you like to create a poster to be displayed? We are holding a poster contest. Use the Call for Speakers form to submit your entry.

We are looking forward to the best symposium yet. See you there.

WRNC's Beginner Classes

WRNC is offering a two-day beginner wildlife rehabilitation class at several places in the state between now and spring. We are trying to identify areas that do not have a class taught locally so we can help build a local network. Classes are planned for Washington, Jacksonville, and Fayetteville. Registration is required. Register on our website or send an e-mail to the contact person for the location that you wish to attend. The fee for classes is $25. For additional details and directions, log on to:

  Date Location Contact
Washington Oct . 8-9 Goose Creek Nature Center
Jacksonville Nov. 5-6 Hammocks Beach State Park
Fayetteville tbd tbd

The opinions, techniques, and recommendations expressed in the articles of this newsletter are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by WRNC.

  • For updated calendar, course information and registration go to:

  • The WRNC Web site maintains a training information page with contact details. Check it out at:
  • For a refresher course in your town, contact Carla Johnson at or Jean Chamberlain at for details.
  • Like to travel? IWRC upcoming classes and locations:

  • Date
    Oct 08, 2005 - Oct 09, 2005 1AB: Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation Kingston, RI
    Nov 08, 2005 - Nov 09, 2005 1AB: Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation Toronto, ON Canada
    Nov 08, 2005 4BB: Initial Wildlife Care Toronto, ON Canada
    Nov 09, 2005 3BB: Wildlife Feeding and Nutrition Toronto, ON Canada

    End-of-Year Reports

    Please get your end of year reports in to WRNC. File existing federal records or print your own form at WRNC will be presenting statistics and other findings based on submitted reports at the next symposium.
    Hurricane Katrina Update

    IWRC is posting reports about wildlife in states hit by Katrina. The website is: They have also established a place for folks to enter requests for help.
    NWRA also is posting news about rehabilitators in the storm-ravaged area. Their site is

    News from North Carolina ____________________________________________________________

    NC Permit Policy Clarified
    By Jean Chamberlain


    Because there has been confusion about North Carolina's policy on subpermittees and application requirements, we have asked Daron Barnes at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to clarify the policy for us.

    North Carolina does allow subpermittees under the rehabilitation permit, Barnes said. A permit is issued to an individual at a specific location. Others do not need their own permit to work under that individual at the permitted location. However, if an individual wants to take an animal home or to any other location, a separate permit is required. Subpermittees are not listed on state permits as they are on federal permits.

    When a North Carolina resident applies for a federal permit, a state permit must be submitted with the application. Barnes noted that one must also be covered by a state permit to be a subpermittee on a federal permit. One may either hold a state permit or be a subpermittee under another's state permit to meet this requirement.

    Barnes also clarified the policy on the application requirements for the state rehab permit, particularly the training requirement. The permit application requires the submission of two references from people in the animal field. A letter of recommendation from each of these references should be attached to your application. They are developing new requirements for formalized animal training that will be required when applying for a permit. They prefer that a copy of the certification from a course be sent with the application, if possible. Completion of the WRNC refresher course is one way to meet this requirement.


    State Airdrops
    Rabies Vaccine For Raccoons

    North Carolina began an airdrop in August aimed at stopping the spread of rabies among raccoons in the western part of the state. Planes dropped fishy smelling baits that resemble a ketchup package in Buncombe, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey counties. The oral vaccine also was distributed by hand in urban areas, according to a report from the Associated Press. The program is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Agency and the state Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health.

    Basics for Beginners - Soft Releasing Squirrels

    By Jean Chamberlain

    We all want to release our animals under the best conditions possible. For squirrels this means we should provide a soft release. Fortunately this is fairly easy to do. One morning open the door of the cage; the squirrels will eventually venture out. This provides them an opportunity to explore and practice climbing and jumping on high branches, getting needed exercise. Just before dark they will return to their nest box in the cage. Close the door after they have all returned. Continue to open the door in the mornings, closing it at night. The squirrels will find an abandoned nest or build a new one. They will locate the local food supply. One night they will not return. It normally takes a week or two before they are ready to leave the cage for good.

    Some people use another method. They have a hole about 3 inches in diameter on one side of the cage near the top. The hole should be large enough for the squirrels to go in and out, but not large enough for predators to enter. It is covered until it is time to begin the release. With this method the squirrels will also leave each morning and return in the evening until they have found a better home.

    For both methods it is important that you use the outdoor cage that the squirrels have been using for some time prior to the release. It must have a nest box that they think of as their own. Success depends on the squirrels returning to it each evening until they have found another safe place to spend the night.


    How to go ELECTRONIC

    Here is your chance to do your bit for the environment and also save money for things of more use to the membership than printing and sending paper in the mail.
    Send an e-mail to from the e-mail at which you would like to receive your newsletter.
    Include your name in the body of the email so we can track your preference.




    Dangers lurking at the bird feeder

    By Elizabeth Hanrahan

    The growth in birding has manifested itself in many ways. Bird-watching is said to be the
    second most popular form of recreation, exceeded only by gardening.

    An estimated one-third of American households maintains bird feeders or feed backyard birds.
    Range expansion of many species -- northern cardinal, mourning dove, red-bellied woodpecker and house finch -- has been related to supplemental feeding. Feeding may help many birds, especially those that are weak, through extremes in weather.
    However, in some cases, bird feeders can attract weakened or sick individuals and promote the spread of avian disease. Backyard feeding creates a concentration of songbirds and can increase the risk of disease. Direct bird-to-bird contact, aerosols, or contamination of food or birdbaths may spread infectious agents.
    Sick birds usually are less active and may have ruffled or fluffed feathers. They may roost near feeders, increasing the chances of spreading disease. The disease itself may cause death or make the birds so sick that they are more susceptible to predation, harsh weather or accidents.
    The most common disease risks at feeders include trichomoniasis, mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, aspergillosis and salmonellosis.

    1. Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan parasite. It is frequently seen in mourning doves and pigeons. It can occur in raptors that prey on sick birds. Trichomoniasis causes yellowish masses in the mouth and throat. Sick birds are often emaciated and may have difficulty breathing, eating and drinking. Birds may drop trichomonas-contaminated food or water from their mouths, creating a source of infection for healthy birds. Parent doves can spread the disease to their young when they feed them crop milk. Proper maintenance and cleaning of feeders and birdbaths are important in reducing the transmission of "trich."
    2. Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis or "house finch conjunctivitis" is a bacterial infection first recognized in 1994. Signs include swelling, watery, mucus discharge from the eyes or nostrils of house finches. Clinical signs may resolve with time or more commonly result in blindness and death. Transmission at bird feeders can occur by direct contact with infected birds or by contact with contaminated objects. It is known to spread through the air when large numbers of house finches use bird feeders.
    3. Aspergillosis is a common disease most often associated with waterfowl and aquatic birds. It is also seen in songbirds. Many birds do not exhibit clinical signs, though they may have respiratory distress and appear emaciated and weak. Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus that grows in warm, damp environments. It can be found in damp feed and vegetative matter on the ground under bird feeders. Birds inhale the fungal spores that can cause this respiratory disease and ultimate death.
    4. Salmonella infection in songbirds results in intestinal illness characterized by diarrhea and weakness. Birds may become dehydrated, emaciated and die. The bacteria is shed in the feces and passed to other birds through food contaminated by sick birds. Several outbreaks of salmonella in birds have been associated with feeders contaminated by rodent, reptile or mammal feces. Transmission of salmonella by songbirds does not pose a significant health risk to people. However, washing hands with warm, soapy water is recommended after potential exposure to sources of infection from any source.
    These recommendations for bird feeders will reduce the spread of these and other diseases:

    1. Space out feeders in the yard to avoid crowding birds. A dispersed and diversified feeding arrangement will reduce stress, lessen the risk of transmitting disease and will attract more birds of different species.
    2. Use feeders that have smooth edges, are easy to clean and have good drainage.
    3. Keep feeders and birdbaths clean! A solution of 1 part household bleach in 9 parts water is a good, inexpensive, disinfectant. Clean particulate matter off the birdbath surface, disinfect by spraying the solution and leaving it on for 10 minutes, then allow the feeders to dry before refilling.
    Socks used for thistleseed can be thrown in the washing machine. Disinfect feeders and birdbaths twice a month or weekly in hot weather. Platform and hummingbird feeders may need more frequent cleaning.
    4. Areas under feeders should be kept clean and free of seed debris, spoiled food, and droppings.
    5. Do not allow seed and bird feed to become damp or wet. Discard moldy seed. Protect your valuable bird feed from rodents and other animals.
    6. If a disease outbreak occurs, clean and move feeders and birdbaths to a new location or stop feeding for several weeks.

    Need Supplies? Let Us Know
    WRNC will offer supplies to members at its next symposium for what it costs us to purchase them. Please let us know if there are specific items you would like to have available that are not listed below. We will do what we can to obtain them at the lowest prices possible through discounted and bulk buying. The pricing quoted below is the cost of purchasing items from us.
    Send an e-mail to Beth at if you are interested in purchasing any of the following items, and include the desired quantity so that we may order sufficient supplies. The items marked with (*) will only be ordered if members send an e-mail to say they would like to purchase them (otherwise there will be none available at the symposium).
    * These items can be viewed at: The Web site doesn't include shipping and handling costs.

    · 5½"rounded point metal tweezers for bird feeding at $1.20 each
    · 7½" bandage scissors at $2.30 each
    · Nitrile gloves (stronger than latex) at $4.30 - $5 for a box of 100
    · Syringes, 20cc, 5cc, 3cc and 1cc
    · Needles, 25g, 22g and 20g
    · Feeding tubes, 3.5 FR, 5 FR
    · Nuts and bolts for carriers
    · (*) Barn owl charts (2) at $7
    · (*) Owl pellet manual, $30
    · (*) Owl pellets, $1.75
    · (*) Charts - dissection, $29

    WRNC 4th Annual Symposium
    Jan. 28 - 29, 2006

    Wildlife Rehabilitators of North Carolina invites members and associated wildlife professionals to give a presentation at its annual symposium Jan. 28 - 29. Presentations may be on topics such as species needs, natural history, veterinary medicine, education programs, administration and wildlife care.
    Submissions will be accepted by mail or online. Submit a brief abstract of the proposed presentation with a short biography describing relevant experiences in your field and on the topic being presented. Individuals may submit more than one abstract. All submissions are subject to committee review. The symposium registration fee is waived for speakers presenting oral presentations or workshops. Fees are not waived for poster entries.


    ORAL PRESENTATION: a PowerPoint/slide presentation, demo, case study or skit on wildlife rehabilitation topics.

    WORKSHOP: a guided "hands-on" session demonstrating techniques or skills used in wildlife rehabilitation or a closely related field.

    POSTER: a visual display on a particular technique, project, or case study that may include photographs, diagrams, pictures and drawings.


    Please submit one form for each presentation that you would like to propose:

    Do you have a little "pearl of wisdom" that makes your job easier? If so, pass it along. Send your pearls" to Toni O'Neil,


    Reserve Your Books Now!
    Once again we will offer for sale a wide range of books at the symposium in January. In order to better meet the demand, we are asking people to reserve books. Reserved books will be held for payment until noon on Saturday at the symposium. You will pay no shipping charges. Those books that are not claimed and paid for by noon will be made available to others to purchase. We anticipate having all the titles listed.. Let us know if there is a book you would like us to get. We try to purchase each book from the vendor with the lowest price. To view the list of books and to reserve them click here.

    Board member contact list (email)

    Bergman, Linda (President)
    Bryman, Mary Beth
    Burgin, Jennifer
    Chamberlain, Jean
    Davis, Sally (Newsletter Editor, Secretary)
    Engelmann, Mathias
    Hanrahan, Elizabeth
    Johnson, Carla (Membership)
    Knapp-Tyner, Beth (Treasurer)
    McMurray, Joan
    O'Neil, Toni (Vice President)
    Schopler, Bobby
    Weiss, Mary

    10% Discount at the Squirrel

    WRNC members can receive either a 10% discount or free shipping on their first order from Squirrel Store, which now carries rehab supplies (formulas, feeds, etc.) at competitive prices, in addition to other wildlife related items. Orders can be placed via their website ( or by calling Misty at 1-866-907-7757.
    Make sure to mention you are a WRNC member for this special offer.

    Newsletter Is ELECTRONIC
    This will be the second issue of our newsletter available online. To save trees we would like to move as many folks as possible to an electronic subscription. This will also free club money up for other membership activities too. To start your electronic subscription
    click here.


    Cage Grant Update

    Wild for Life in Asheville received one of three $250 grants awarded by WRNC to repair a cage damaged during storms last fall. A tree downed by flooding crashed into the enclosure used to house songbirds and small raptors, causing structural damage and destroying the hardware cloth and fiberglass screen. The newly repaired
    enclosure houses 12 songbirds. WRNC plans to offer two cage grants of $250 next year. The application form,
    along with requirements, will be published in the last newsletter of the year.


    Q: Why should Imodium (Loperamide) be used with caution, or not at all, in some mammals for diarrhea?


    A: Loperamide is an over-the-counter, oral synthetic opioid. Its mode of action is increasing rhythmic segmentation in the intestine resulting in a decreased transit time of contents and increased absorption of same. It slows propulsive movement of contents through the intestine, decreasing motility. The effect is to suppress or stop diarrhea. It is often referred to as an anti-motility drug.

    Loperamide should be used in ruminants, such as deer, with caution! Because, it may also inhibit the cyclical ruminal contractions necessary for normal rumen function (eructation (burping) of gas and mixing of rumen contents) possibly resulting in acidosis and bloat.

    Loperamide should NOT be used in mammals when any of the following are present: fever, blood or mucous in stool, infectious diarrhea/intestinal toxins (e.g. E. coli, Salmonella, Parvovirus, or food poisoning) or liver problems. These signs indicate that an infectious diarrhea may be present. The anti-motility action of the drug can give pathogenic bacteria more time to multiply resulting in intestinal bacterial overgrowth, absorption of toxins into the blood stream and sepsis, where organisms breach the intestinal mucosa and enter the blood stream, which can lead to multiple organ failure and shock.

    Loperamide should only be used in mammals with dietary or stress-related diarrhea. Constipation and bloat are two side effects possible with its use in mammals.

    If you have any questions you would like WRNC to answer in future newsletters, submit them to
    Beth Knapp-Tyner at


    Spotlight on Wild for Life
    By Mary Beth Bryman

    Wild for Life: Center for Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Asheville that is dedicated to the rehabilitation of western North Carolina's injured and orphaned wild animals. The primary goal of Wild for Life is to rehabilitate the animals, recondition them and release them to their natural habitat. Our second goal is to educate the public about wildlife and about the importance of preservation and conservation.

    Susie Wright, the primary animal caregiver at Wild for Life, began rehabilitating wild animals more than 15 years ago when she obtained her state and federal permits. Mary Beth Bryman joined the team three years later. Both have completed certified rehabilitation courses, internships, and attended continuing education classes, seminars and national and international symposiums.

    Wild for Life was incorporated in 1999 with the help of an attorney and an accountant who donated their services. Wright and Bryman nurtured the organization from its infancy to its current position.

    Wild for Life has grown from haphazardly built cages constructed from pallets with 30 animals housed in one den, to a rapidly expanding facility. The center is housed in several buildings that include an office and animal-receiving area, a nursery for songbirds and mammals, and an area that houses injured birds of prey. The most recent additions are a 60-foot flight cage for large birds of prey built by Roots and Shoots of Carolina Day School and a quadruplex of 8 x 8 x 8 songbird enclosures constructed by Travis Reece, an intern from the University of North Carolina at Asheville's Environmental Studies Department.

    When asked her favorite animal to rehabilitate, Wright quickly answers "chimney swifts."

    "When I started rehabilitating, I was told they could not be released," Wright said. "They were impossible to raise. I knew there had to be way to save these guys. Last year we received 31 swifts and released 28."
    Bryman's favorite animal to rehabilitate is the crow.

    "The first animal I encountered in rehabilitation was a crow, and I learned how intelligent these animals are. At Wild for Life, enrichment is an important facet of rehabilitation. I discovered early on that crows need a wide variety of stimulation."

    Bryman and Wright also educate people about wildlife, emphasizing that wild animals shouldn't be taken out of the wild to become pets "If we can change a person's perception about wildlife and their value, we have really succeeded," Wright said. "Wild animals are meant to be wild, and that is the way we keep them."
    Environmental education has grown out of rehabilitation. Wright and Bryman started rehabilitating because of the animals.

    They learned that educating people is the best way to help wildlife. Whether that means talking with someone who brings an animal to the facility for rehabilitation or doing a formal presentation to the local chapter of Audubon, they try to get people excited about wildlife.

    "We want people to know they can make a difference," Wright said.

    They especially enjoy working with children. "To see a sparkle in a child's eyes and know they learned something today they will take with them, is as satisfying as releasing an animal back to the wild," Wright said.
    Wild for Life has state and federal permits for seven non-releasable birds of prey and one non-releasable Virginia opossum, Christopher. The birds of prey include: Willow and Augustus, red-tailed hawks; Pretty Boy, a turkey vulture; Odessa, a great-horned owl; Pickles and Rufous, eastern screech owls, and Oolu, a barred owl.
    It soon became apparent there was a need for a rehabilitation facility in Asheville/Buncombe
    County. Wild for Life rehabilitates about 250 animals a year. But it must turn away as many as it rehabilitates. Time and money are both issues.

    "Saying no to an animal in need is the hardest thing we do, but we must set a limit to the number of animals we take in so we can give the ones we have the quality care they need," Wright said.
    "Eventually we don't want to have to ever turn an animal away that needs our help."

    Wright and Bryman work regular jobs so time is limited. They hired their first paid employee this summer, Laura Branch, who interned at Wild for Life last year.

    The facility will keep growing. Money is being sought to build Ambassador Row, a facility to house the educational animals under one roof, with room for expansion. The complex will also include space for educational programs. More rehabilitation enclosures are to come. They would like to expand their educational programs and add more full-time paid staff positions. They're also looking forward to constructing a state-of-the-art facility, including classrooms and gift shop.

    Wright and Bryman work regular jobs so time is limited. They hired their first paid employee this summer, Laura Branch, who interned at Wild for Life last year. The facility will keep growing. Money is being sought to build Ambassador Row, a facility to house the educational animals under one roof, with room for expansion. The complex will also include space for educational programs. More rehabilitation enclosures are to come. They would like to expand their educational programs and add more full-time paid staff positions. They're also looking forward to constructing a state-of-the-art facility, including classrooms and gift shop.

    'Just Because
    You're a Member'

    To let members know we appreciate them, a drawing was held June 26 to award $10 gift certificates and T-shirts from Jeffers Pet Supplies. The prizes were mailed to winners with their June newsletter.

    Winners of the gift certificates are:

    Ky Adeduji
    Robert Blohme
    Anita Carter
    Benita Crow
    Cindy Donohoo
    Leslie Franco
    Beth Golic
    Jan Harris
    Susan Saunders
    Jo-Anna Spector
      The following members received a T-shirt:
    Jaime Allen
    Jeri Cone
    Judith Dempsey
    Terry Earnhardt
    Mathias Engelmann
    Deborah Gluck
    Vicki Gower
    Bernice Hilton
    Martha Kraus
    Lynn Mastin
    Mildred McLean
    Megan Miller
    Tracey Ramsey
    JoAnn Underhill
    Linda Woods


    From the editor's desk

    Sally Davis is excited to announce the formal addition of Brenda Hiles to the newsletter editorial staff as Editor. Brenda and Sally will work as co-editors on your newsletter for the time being. Brenda has a background in journalism and has been assisting with the past couple of newsletters already.

    This newsletter is your tool for reaching everyone else in WRNC. Please feel free to submit comments, corrections, announcements and submissions for future newsletters to Sally Davis at or by phone at (919) 462-3249.
    The next editorial deadline is Monday, Nov. 7th, 2005.

    That gorgeous opossum cage

    Any one interested in the 24 x 24 wire cage that was given away at the WRNC Symposium raffle?
    Contact Bob Kiger at 910-867-7559.
    The pickup price per cage will be $50.00.

    Book Corner
    By Brenda Hiles

    "Ghosts of Tsavo - Stalking the Mystery Lions of East Africa"
    By Philip Caputo
    National Geographic Society
    275 pages

    Is difficult for most Americans to understand the fear of being stalked by an animal that views us as food. The closest thing we can imagine, Philip Caputo writes in Ghosts of Tsavo, is an invasion by space aliens.

    "The word man-eater is profoundly disturbing," writes Caputo. "Instantly it dissolves hundreds of thousands of years of human progress and carries us back to our beginnings, when we were puny hominids, slouching across the African savanna where man was born, huddling in fireless caves, waiting for death to rush at us from the long grass. The thought of being devoured offends our sense of human dignity, subverts our cherished belief that we are higher beings."

    Yet we're fascinated by stories of animals preying on humans. Witness the popularity of "Jaws," and the coverage that newspapers and 24-hour news channels give to the latest shark attacks. It awakens in us a primitive fear, the idea of "what if…"
    Perhaps that's why after more than 100 years, the man-eating lions of Tsavo still capture the imagination.
    In 1898, two lions stopped the British Empire in its tracks in a region of eastern Africa that would later become Kenya.
    Hundreds of Indian and African laborers had been brought in to build a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River. Over several months two lions killed and ate about 135 workers, sneaking into camp and dragging the men from their tents. Even more frightening was the lions' ability to outwit the men hunting them. They eluded traps and other ruses for nearly a year, until Col. James Patterson, the engineer on the bridge project, managed to kill them.
    The Ghost and the Darkness were the names given to the animals by workers who came to see them as a supernatural force.
    Author Philip Caputo grew up hearing the legend of the man-eating lions of Tsavo. As a child in Chicago, he frequently visited the Field Museum where the two cats killed by Patterson were on exhibit. In 2000, Caputo went to Africa to chronicle the adventures of four scientists trying to unravel the mystery of man-eating lions.

    Caputo is adept at explaining the various theories about the lions, never getting bogged down in scientific jargon.
    He also takes us on side trips through the African wilderness. With heart-stopping detail, Caputo describes what it feels like to be chased by an elephant that can cover 12 feet in a single step. He captures the brutality and the beauty of a remote corner of Africa: the poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks, the sacred ibises pecking in the mud with their long, curved beaks, rhinos submerging themselves in a lake to keep cool.
    But readers looking for an answer to why some lions seem to prefer human prey will be disappointed. Caputo has reached no conclusion by the end of his travels. He lays out both sides of the argument and leaves it to the reader to decide between science and myth.

    Directory Updates

    Have you moved? Has you email address changed? Is your phone number listed incorrectly in the directory?
    Send updates to Carla Johnson at