You may have heard the term “busy season” thrown around before, particularly if you’ve called into Chintimini Wildlife Center’s clinic anytime between early spring and late fall. Have you ever wondered what it really meant though?
Many people experience a busy season in their line of work – think of accountants or real estate agents. Gardeners, domestic animal shelters, and even school teachers may experience busy seasons. Here at Chintimini Wildlife Center, busy season means an influx of patients (babies in particular!) and a decrease in volunteer availability. It means more emergency phone calls, ‘round the clock feedings, and extended work hours.
Chintimini relies heavily on the help and support of volunteers, many of whom are students attending college at Oregon State University. When the term ends and summer begins, many students return home and are thus unable to continue volunteering. This inevitably leaves the clinic short-staffed, just when the patient load begins to drastically increase. This year alone we have already admitted over 1,200 patients – during busy season we average about 5-10 new patients every single day!
So, why the increase in patients? For the most part, it is injured or orphaned baby animals we are caring for. Occasionally, we have a well-intentioned person unknowingly remove a young animal from its family and environment. In that scenario, we do our best to try to reunite them with their parents. But overall, we receive hundreds of baby birds that fall from destroyed nests, are injured by outdoor cats, or are orphaned for unknown reasons. These baby birds must be fed every 15-20 minutes from sun up to sun down. This is no easy task! We assign at least one volunteer to the baby bird room on each of the three daily shifts, seven days a week! We also care for baby mammals, all of which require bottle, syringe, or tube feedings with specialized diets.
On top of all baby care, we still admit many critical patients that are not babies. With the beautiful Oregon weather comes more human activity outdoors. More people out means more people finding wildlife in need of immediate care. We see so many animals that have been hit by cars, slammed into windows, or been malnourished for various reasons. Most days our ICU cages are at max capacity.
Aside from the intensity of the clinic, the youth programs are in full swing with their
summer camps and activities. There are many events and open houses happening all
summer long, and the Raptor Education Program is working hard, training the education raptors and attending events throughout the community.
As you probably know, Chintimini relies on the help of the community, volunteers, and
donors to run smoothly and continue providing great care to our wildlife friends. If you are able, please consider donating to Chintimini Wildlife Center – there are many mouths to feed during busy season and every little bit helps us with medicine, medical supplies, and nutritious diets for all of our patients while they recover and prepare for life back out in the wild!
Erika, Assistant Animal Care Staff