All posts by jwaters

Hurricane Irma Update

We were blessed and had no home or cage damage – a lot of limbs down, etc. and have been fortunate to have wonderful volunteers and work groups to help with the clean-up.  All of the educational and rehabbing animals were brought into our home and did just fine and are now back into their outdoor cages! We admitted 52 ( and counting) squirrels, 4 owls, 2 hawks, 7 songbirds, 4 opossums and 1 fawn after the storm. Happily, most will be released after periods of rehab.

It is now time to focus on Fall and move forward!! Woodland Wonders will be participating in Polk State ( Winter Haven campus) Fall Fest October 21st. We will also have a table at Corn Fusion Maze in Lakeland on Oct 21st  and the contact number is 559-9952 for that event. Then on October 28th Woodland Wonders will be in Lakeland Munn Park for a flower fest. Come out and have some fun!!

Fall is also the months that birds of prey begin to come down to Florida — the Northern ones and the Southern ones often get into fights, etc. so keep a close eye out for any injured bird of prey you might see. Please contact Woodland Wonders day or night at 863-967-3298 – leave message if necessary as the recorder is checked very frequently when we step out for an errand! Woodland Wonders has been caring for Eagles, and other bird of prey for over 28 years! so we are prepared to help you with a bird of prey in need! We of course also rehab all other birds and all mammals except raccoons. Often times in Fall, people get busy and have no time for an exotic pet such as a prairie dog, ferret, cockatiel, etc. and then just put the animal outside. Exotic pets can not thrive well outside and Woodland Wonders will accept and find homes for them.

Just call us for any wildlife/ exotic animal need!

Woodland Wonders Outreach Programs

Woodland Wonders participates in numerous community programs, both annually and semi-annually— below are listed , not  limited to, some of these programs:

  • Audubon Nature Fest
  • Campfire programs
  • Colt State Park Nature Festival
  • Cornfusion Festival x 3 week-ends
  • Highland Hammock Nature Festival
  • Jeep Club Festival
  • LE/AD Cardboard Boat Race Festival
  • LE/AD Project Eagle
  • Live Green Lakeland
  • Nature and Flower Festival in Munn Park Fall and Spring
  • Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando Summer Camp x2
  • Polk Nature Discovery Center  Nature encounters on Sundays
  • Polk Nature Discovery Center Nature Fair for 2nd graders
  • Polk Nature Discovery Center  Summer Camp
  • Polk State Fall Fest
  • School programs- both public and private
  • Scout programs
  • SPCA critter camp
  • Teneroc Fall and Spring Nature Festival


Christmas in June

Woodland Wonders was blessed to have the Lakeland Jeep Club sponsor us with the proceeds of their raffle. The raffle was a huge success and Lakeland Jeep Club donated a generous amount of money for the care of injured and orphaned wildlife. Thank you Lakeland Jeep Club!!

Thank you to all of you donors, because every dollar contributed is very much appreciated! and very much needed!

Woodland Wonders Update Jan-April 2017

The season started early as by mid January we were receiving baby squirrels and some baby birds! There was an increase in adult bird of prey admissions also as November-March is bird of prey season and the northern ones migrate down and north and south begin fighting!

February brought in more baby birds! Doves were the high cenus then. Towards the end of February and early March the mockingbirds and the bluejays were coming in. Woodland Wonders’ goal is to keep the baby bird with the mother— however, often it is stated by the caller that the mother bird was killed, etc. There have been a lot of window casualties reported this Spring with songbirds out there in the public. Hence, babies are left without a parent and we become mommy bird!! A litter of fox babies were admitted because the mother had been killed and we have been busy with feedings.!

March brought in baby opposums and more baby songbirds and some baby bird of prey. The baby birds of prey were as result of fallen trees with the limb and the nest destroyed, one nest just fell apart and babies fell to the ground on a sidewalk, one in a school playground and
one in a mall parking lot with no mother in sight. We are receiving other baby bird of prey also, the above is just a sampling of some of the reasons.

Woodland Wonders rescued two EAGLES in March- both were motor vehicle accidents. One has already been released and the other has a wing FX and still has a wing wrap. After the wrap is removed, then he/she will be placed in a 50 flight cage, conditioned and then placed in the large flight cage 100x20x16 and then release!! Hats off to Dr. Tom Schotman for all of his time, medical care and expertise with these eagles. If you are in his office, (Lake Wales Vet) be sure and thank him!! ***** Remember if you see any bird of prey, including Eagles, in distress please call Woodland Wonders at 967-3298, (leave message, recorder when away is checked every 30 minutes or so) 640-7484 or the vet during vet hours at 676-1451.*** For all other wildlife, please call Woodland Wonders at 967-3298 for assistance.

April is bringing more songbirds, very cute baby opossums and rabbits. April has also brought drought and fire conditions. Wildlife may show up in your yard when never before because they are trying to find water or fleeing a fire. You can help by placing a large pan of water in your yard and be on the look out for distressed wildlife and calling Woodland Wonders for assistance.

Woodland Wonders has participated in 4 community programs since end of January and have 3 more scheduled for May and then already being booked for summer!

A big THANK YOU to you readers of this website and for your support. A big THANK YOU to our volunteers and the hours they give Woodland Wonders. We could not do it without you!!

Home for the Holidays

Sunday November 20 2016 an American Bald Eagle was released back to the skies. The eagle was one of FOUR eagles that were admitted to Woodland Wonders in a time span of 8 days in late October. Two were sickened with an unknown cause and one expired from it.(the other being the released one!) Two were admitted with trauma injuries with one expiring and one becoming an educational bird .

The months of Oct-March are bird of prey months and we ask you readers to be on the outlook for any injured or orphaned (later in the Spring) birds of prey. Northern birds migrate South and fights begin to happen. You may have read the news article of the 2 eagles fighting in Orlando with one flying off once separated and the other fell in a storm drain and later died.

Should you the reader spot any birds of prey needing assistance. please call Woodland Wonders NIGHT Or DAY 863-967-3298, leave message if necessary and we will rescue the bird! Woodland Wonders has been rehabbing birds of prey for over 25 years and use a vet that has over 25 years of experience also. In addition, we have the flight cage which is 100x20x16 and you can view this by scrolling down further the website.

Woodland Wonders of course admits and rehabs any other bird in need and mammals. Thank you readers for looking out for wildlife needing assistance and calling us. Should you wish to donate, please call us for the address.

May all of your readers have wonderful holidays.

2016 Update
Hi! Where has the time gone?

The year 2016 has flown by! We are fast approaching bird of prey season which is November through March and that is when Northern birds fly down South and get into fights, etc. Woodland Wonders urges you, the reader, to be on the look out for any injured birds of prey such as Eagles,Owls,Hawks and any other birds of prey. If you find one, please call us at 863-967-3298, day or night. Of course, call for any other wildlife needs also.

Here is a long overdue Update for Woodland Wonders:

January 2016 started off with a bang with many admissions of injured raptors and mammals – fortunately, most recovered and had a happy release!


100 by 20 feet flight cage for birds of prey. It's wooden and in he middle of no where with a sunny/blue sky in the background.

These two months were baby bird of prey time and we really enjoyed rehabbing them until they grew older and releasing them! We are blessed to have a flight cage we can use to rehabilitate birds of prey which is 100’x20’x16’. That way, the birds do not have to travel out of county to another center for flight experience which is a need for babies and long term rehabbing adults.


These two months were the baby season and we admitted numerous songbirds, dove, opossums, foxes, and a fawn. Most all of them had happy releases!


May was early squirrel season!  June and Aug were fairly quiet, although we were still admitting some baby songbirds and of course admitting the injured wildlife that required care. Sandhill cranes have had a bad time this year with a lot of injuries and sadly a lot were injuries that were not compatible with a quality of life for the bird.


This month brought the second busy squirrel season! Happily all are thriving and will be released when older.


During this month, we admitted a baby bobcat kitten! She was very sick on admission and once she started to grow we noticed a gait problem with stumbling. After an extensive lab work up and several vet consults, it was determined she has cerebella hypoplasia and this is a permanent disability. Her forever home is yet to be decided.

Update on Hurricane Matthew October 2016

Hurricane Matthew storm path. It is heading north east and is going to go through east part of florida.

Luckily, as you readers know, Polk County was blessed and did not have the storm as predicted. We had 10 admissions storm related, however, it could have been much worse. Woodland Wonders was ready as we had all the critters in and safely protected, a generator for power, extra milk, and supplies brought in, etc. Woodland Wonders will take a “dry run” any day and not complain!

Hopefully now you readers can enjoy beautiful fall days and attend some of the many activities in the community – Woodland Wonders is participating in several.

Thank you again for your love and support of Woodland Wonders and I will try to have more frequent updates going forward!

End of 2015 Update

Woodland Wonders Update for End of 2015
Wow, where did the time go?! Seems as if just yesterday it was beginning 2015 and now we are halfway into January 2016.

Thank you readers for all of your support of Woodland Wonders— some of you find injured and orphaned wildlife and bring into the the center— others donate time for rescue and cleaning, others donate supplies and others donate $$. ALL IS APPRECIATED! Without your support, Woodland Wonders could not care for the wildlife.

November –March is bird of prey season- this is when Northern birds are flying, fighting local birds for nests,etc.etc. In December Woodland Wonders was especially busy and admitted quite a few bird of prey- species included great horned owls, barred owls, Cooper hawk, vultures, red shouldered hawks and EAGLES. I was called to the scene of fighting eagles- usually when approached, the birds untalon themselves and fly off- well these birds did not and I had to manually free the talons from the chests of each bird. One bird flew off and the other is in rehab for a wound on the chest and inner thigh. Another eagle was admitted with a wing fracture and had been witnessed fighting in the air before landing.

Woodland Wonders also admitted several very young squirrels in December and that is unusual. Several baby bunnies have been admitted also. We of course admitted as usual injured songbirds, sandhills,etc. in November and December. One sandhill we spent quite a few hours hours trying to catch as she has a dart in the neck. SeaWorld was called out also and they too were unsuccessful in catching this poor bird. As of this writing, she is still OK and with her mate. It is just really sad to see a bird with a dart hanging from the neck.

With the beginning of a new year, Woodland Wonders is always looking for volunteers and will train as needed. In addition, $$ are always welcome for operational needs. Mailing address is Joan Waters, 2110 Betty Ann Drive, Auburndale ,Fl. 33823-contact phone is 863-967-3298
All and any support is welcome, needed and appreciated!! Hope to hear from you readers and thank you for helping Woodland Wonders care for precious wildlife that is injured and or orphaned.
Thank you

May –August Update:

Rain, rain go away, so wildlife has a dry place to stay.

May and early June were busy with the usual baby songbirds, young birds of prey in problems and baby rabbits-

July brought all of the torrential downpours and Woodland Wonders became very busy! After each bad storm, many birds of prey were found unable to fly, “battered” appearing and weak. In one evening after a storm, we received seven birds of prey in distress—-Doves have been coming in after each storm, a few songbirds and quite a few squirrels. Luckily, all are recovering well and we expect releases—

We have also seen an increase in turtles that have seemed to be displaced with the flooded yards —- young fawns have also had problems with flooded yards — newborn ones have come with respiratory distress and unfortunately passed- older ones are rehabbing well and we expect successful releases.

In other news, the past 3 months have been busy with educational programs- Woodland Wonders participated in summer critter and nature camp programs. We are already booked for community programs in Oct. and school programs in Nov.

We can always use more volunteers for wheels for rescue and transport to the vet for care— we would train and also help with gas costs. Please call us at 863-967-3298 and leave a message if you get the recorder. This is also the number to call for injured and orphaned wildlife—

January 2015 Update

Happy New Year readers!   Thank you for taking the time and looking at the website. Many credos given to Steven Waters (my son) for the many hours invested in establishing Woodland Wonders’ website!

A goal Woodland Wonders has for 2015 is to enlist more volunteers- Please call if interested! There are many things that can be done and would help immensely- rescue, cleaning, feeding,etc.etc.

At present, we have eagles, owls, hawks and an osprey in rehab and so far all are doing well and we expect all to be released!   Remember the months of Jan-March are bird of prey months and you may see one with problems. – if a downy one, pick up carefully, keep protected and warm , do NOT feed and call Woodland Wonders. If an adult, call for assistance. Be sure and scroll down to June-Nov 2014 and see an awesome eagle rescue and release!

Oddly enough, we are also receiving some very young squirrels and baby birds!   Usually this happens later in the season!

We have a program at Circle B Jan. 11 from 1PM to 3PM and the theme is birds! There are different exhibitors and the programs are always interesting and informative. Come out and see us! We have several other programs scheduled and will follow with dates.

Thank you again for clicking onto this website and please feel to call for any questions regarding the rescue of injured/orphaned wildlife and remember with everyone’s efforts precious wildlife can be protected and kept safe!

What’s New – June – Nov 2014

The above video was filmed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Additional coverage of this release can be seen on the Lakeland Ledger website.

In May, an eagle was found dangling from a pine tree branch over a body of water – the bird had fishing line wrapped around the wing.  It took a coordinated effort by Lakeland Fire Dept., Lakeland Parks and Recreation, Polk County Animal Control, Florida Fish and Wildlife   Conservation Commission, the home owner, and Woodland Wonders to rescue this eagle. Woodland Wonders rushed the bird to Dr. Schotman who gave a complete physical, took X-rays and found that luckily no bones were fractured. Woodland Wonders had the bird in rehab for several weeks which included close observation, daily medications for the soreness in the muscles, feeding, and conditioning for flight again (we use a cage 100 feet by 20feet wide and 16 feet high).  When the bird was successfully released, all of the above organizations were present along with the home owner and their friends. The release was covered by the media with several TV stations (10, 8, 9)) carrying the news and the Ledger.

Woodland Wonders also rescued an eagle that had been hit by a car and with X-rays was found to have 2 pellets in the tail. The pellets did not cause the legs to be paralyzed (auto accident did) and unfortunately the eagle had to be euthanized.

Update for June, July, August, September, October and November 2014

The months have been busy for Woodland Wonders. A lot of bird of prey being admitted with injuries and quite a few baby mammals.  NOVEMBER-MARCH is BIRD OF PREY Season so please be on the watch for injured bird of prey (EAGLES<OWLS< HAWKS<OSPREY< SCREECH OWLS AND OTHERS) and/or baby ones. A lot of times the Northern birds fight the Southern birds and one or the other gets hurt.   A mother bird has no way of returning a baby back to the nest so if you spot one, please call Woodland Wonders.  We will evaluate the situation and sometimes it is possible to return (with tree climbers) the baby back to the nest! Or we can successfully raise the baby and release. Call numbers are : Woodland Wonders, 967-3298 day or night, Curt 640-7484, Lake Wales Vet(very experienced with all types of wildlife for over 20 years) 646-1451-please know all messages will be answered and when away phone messages checked very frequently.

Woodland Wonders has also been busy with community programs. For the months of Oct. and Nov, we did 6!  We are already booked for Jan. 11th for a program at Polk Nature Discovery Center (Circle B). The hours will be 1-3PM and the educational theme is birds. Come out and see us!