We expected lower patient intake numbers this year due to intake restrictions by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife placed on waterfowl, rabbits, bats, and deer.
We also improved our re-nesting and reuniting protocols for orphaned birds and mammals in 2023, resulting in more successful reunions of young wildlife with parents over the hotline. This decreased the overall number of orphaned wildlife treated at the hospital in 2023.
Interactions with domestic dogs and cats and window strikes are the cause of almost 50% of our total patients' injuries. These are avoidable, human-caused injuries to wildlife. Please remember to be responsible pet owners and consider window treatments to improve wildlife outcomes.
May-August are by far our busiest months to answer hotline calls. During the spring and summer months, wildlife are most active and young animals are being born and reared. At the same time, more people are out recreating, increasing the probability that they'll encounter an injured or orphaned animal.
Songbirds and prey mammals (including deer) are the most common calls to our wildlife hotline, followed by raptors, predatory mammals, and waterfowl.
More than half of calls received on the hotline do not result in an animal needing to be brought in to Think Wild. All of the calls we receive are treated as an opportunity to educate the public about wildlife, and it’s common to walk through a wildlife situation with a caller without needing to rescue and rehabilitate the animal in question.
The ~45% that do need care are either brought in to Think Wild, or referred to another rehab center or ODFW.
We humanely evicted and excluded bats, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, pigeons, wood rats, snakes, and other wildlife from human homes and structures.
We also installed perches, platforms, and nest boxes for owls, osprey, hawks, kestrels, bats, squirrels, flickers, and other songbirds to promote wildlife success. This fall, we installed almost 30 bat boxes within just two months!
Many of our inquiries request both humane exclusion and habitat features. The "other" category is mostly made up of calls referred to the wildlife hospital for injured animals or other related concerns.
We target schools and communities with less access to free wildlife and outdoor education and programming. Our education programs include classroom visits, after school programs, school wide presentations, tabling at community events and festivals, wildlife trivia, interpretive walks, teacher workshops, story times, and more.
On July 6, Think Wild received a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk as its first ambassador animal, transferred from Cascades Raptor Center due to a non-releasable status resulting from an eye injury. The hawk, named Shar, had suffered head trauma and permanent vision loss in her left eye after being found near the Eugene Airport. Think Wild aims to train Shar to serve as an ambassador for her species and other native wildlife over the next year to facilitate interactions with the public in Central Oregon.
2023 Revenue and Expenses
2024 Major Plans
Property Updates: Think Wild is working with Deschutes County to build necessary accessible infrastructure for staff, volunteers, youth and continued growth. This includes the construction of an educational yurt, paved ADA pathways, expanded parking lot, fencing, and an ADA restroom.
Hospital: In 2024, the wildlife hospital will be allowed to accept bats, as well as baby waterfowl and waterbirds. We are still restricted on adult waterfowl, rabbits, and deer, but will support ODFW in attempts to foster and reunite fawns with adults. The hospital is also hosting an orthopedic workshop to train staff on introducing orthopedic surgery practices at the wildlife hospital. We have also recently purchased an iStat device to better analyze patient condition. Finally, the wildlife hospital is hosting externs from the Central Oregon Community College Veterinary Technician Program, who will get hands-on experience working with wildlife patients.
Education Program: Staff will be hosting five Foldscopes workshops for teachers throughout Oregon to facilitate the use of these low-cost microscopes in 125 classrooms, with an expected reach of 6000+ students in the state. We also hope to incorporate Shar, our ambassador red-tailed hawk, to our education programming this year. Our education program also received a garden grant through The Environmental Center, and will use those funds to construct a native pollinator garden at Barnes Butte Elementary School.
Beaver Works: We have four major planting projects planned for 2024, two on private land in Sisters and La Pine, and two at Collier Memorial State Park and La Pine State Park through an expanded partnership with Oregon Parks and Recreation District. We are also continuing our monitoring efforts to track planting success and wildlife activity on previous work sites. In partnership with ONDA, we are working on publishing research on beaver-modified habitat’s positive impact on Oregon Conservation Strategy species. In April, we are hosting Central Oregon’s first ever City Nature Challenge bioblitz!
Wildlife Services: This program has new leadership, with Jake growing into the position and continuing to expand our services. We're also planning to offer more nest box and native habitat workshops in 2024. We are working to continue expanding the sustainability of this program, and the projected increase in revenue from our wildlife services will help support our work in other programs!