All posts by jwaters

Wildlife Update Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May 2014

Wildlife Update for January, February, March, April and May 2014

January started off slow with admissions. February continued with the same trend. We were receiving injured adult birds of prey and mammals, however no babies.   Am happy to report the injured birds of prey have been released or will be soon. Injured mammals also were released with success.

With March, began the season of baby songbirds!  High count so far this season have been cardinals and blue jays. In mammals, the count goes to opossums. Homeowners are advised to leave baby birds alone if a mother is present—-however, it seems as if a lot of dogs have been finding babies and even after waiting for a mom to come back, the baby remains orphaned and thus an admission,

April was the month of baby or young birds of prey admissions!  We have quite a few baby owls, hawks we are feeding and anticipate successful releases for them all after they are conditioned for flight and hunting.

May,  we have named Eagle month!  Woodland Wonders has admitted 3 eagles since the 1st of May. Two are juveniles and one adult.  The adult one is a very lucky bird as he (vet thinks male) was tangled in some sort of fishing? Line and dangling from a tree.  It took a coordinated effort from the Lakeland Fire Dept., Lakeland Parks and Recreation, Polk County Animal Control, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the private home owner. Hats off to all these wonderful and caring people!   Woodland Wonders took the eagle immediately to Dr. Tom Schotman for a complete exam. If no internal complications occur from the dangling, this eagle should be a successful release!  Readers you can log on to the Lakeland Ledger and see the story and pics in section B! Hats off to Dr. Schotman also as he is the “man behind the scenes” and I feel is responsible for the successful releases of these eagles.  He and Woodland Wonders have been rehabbing eagles for over 20 years and guess estimate have handled over 200!   The juveniles are progressing well also.

Polk County is blessed to have a high count of eagles and nesting pairs.  Readers always be on the alert for any injured/orphaned ones and notify Woodland Wonders night or day at 863-967-3298. Another day number is 863-640-7484.   Whenever I am away, I check the phone by remote so leave a message. If you have any wildlife concern, please feel free to call and Woodland Wonders can guide you to proper authorities.

Feeding injured/orphan-ned wildlife requires time and $$ and at this time I want to say thanks for all the generous donors who have helped this year and the volunteers who have given hours of assistance. You know who you are and wildlife is blessed to have you!!

March, April, May, June, July 2013 wildlife updates:

The last few months have been busy for Woodland Wonders. We started off the New Year in Jan. with rehabbing eagles and then happily in the spring months they were recovered and we were able to release! We have also received several eagles, one of which was gunshot. Yes, you read correctly- someone shot an eagle, not once but twice- luckily the bird escaped lasting injury and was successfully released( featured in the Lakeland Ledger!) after a long period of rehab! ( wildlife officials are looking into shot raptors as state wide the count is on the rise- sad to comprehend, especially when so many of us do educational programs and think we have educated people about wildlife protection)Other injuries to other eagles we have gotten have been motor vehicle accidents and then we have also released several baby eagles! Hawks and owls have come in on a steady basis also and we have kept the flight cage well used!- THANK YOU to one and all involved in making this wonderful cage possible!

The last few months have been busy with songbirds coming in- highest count so far goes to baby bluejays and then mockingbirds. Something somewhat unusual this year, is that Woodland Wonders has received over a dozen baby cardinals- usually in a season we receive maybe one. Of course the best parent for any baby bird is the parent and we try to encourage that—- however, often nests have been cut down , dogs pick up the baby,etc. An unusual bird we received was a spoonbill;however , sadly it was so injured that it did not make it. Such a beautiful bird with the colors and such unique behaviors!

We of course dearly love receiving the little mammals and have a bottle feeding fawn at present, little opossums, rabbits and squirrels in rehab.

Woodland Wonders has also been busy with educational programs both in the Spring and summer! We have also added several new names to our list of faithful volunteers- Branden, Connie, Curt , Lynn , Frank, Tanner, and Tim and the twins———welcome and thanks for all you do! Thanks too„ to our summer volunteers who made vacation possible for us—(. We saw all of our grandchildren and of course they are the cutest ones in the world!!! ) Thank you, too for all you wonderful monetary donors who help make the program possible.

Woodland Wonders also wants to thank the Gleaner Group and the Scouts for their Eagle Projects—- we are blessed to have such wonderful love and support.

Woodland Wonders would like to remind everyone if you find injured or orphaned wildlife, to please call

967-3298, night or day- we check the phone by remote often when away- we have changed phone carriers so hopefully the service will be better!

If you are interested in volunteering, please call- Woodland Wonders always has work ! We are always grateful for any monetary or supply donations also. Thank you everyone for the support given to Woodland Wonders—- everyone is so appreciated!!

November-March is the BIRD OF PREY season

Woodland Wonders has been busy in September with little squirrels and fawns being admitted- sadly, some have had injuries and have died and happily others are doing quite well and will be released. November -March is the BIRD OF PREY season with raptors migrating, mating, nesting and hatching young. Sometimes the northern birds and southern fight over territory rights- some birds of prey have been observed to be fighting even in the sky! If you find an injured bird of prey, you have to be very careful of the talons as they can severly damage your hand nerves and tendons. It is best to call Woodland Wonders 967-3298 – leave message or 838-1223 and leave message- both phones are checked very frequently for messages! If you find a baby bird of prey that is all fluffy looking, it is safe to use gloves and pick up and put in a safe quiet place and call Woodland Wonders or the other number. Please do not look at the baby and take lots of photos,etc. as this can lead to imprinting a baby and then they can not release sucessfully into the wild. The parent bird is unable to bring a baby back up to the nest. Sometimes a parent will attempt to protect and feed the baby on the ground, however, with dogs,etc. it becomes hard and the bird usually does not get fed properly. Woodland Wonders has had 20 years plus of raising baby raptors with many many sucessful releases!!

Memorable Rescues


One osprey rescue was nothing short of a miracle!- the adult bird was dangling from the nest with some type of synthetic “twine” caught in the talon- it was similar to monofilament but not monofilament line. The nest was too high for Woodland Wonders to reach and then the miracle workers arrived- the Fire Dept!!! After instruction on how to handle the bird (they were a little hesitant to be that close to the bird and I was scared of the ladder! – thank goodness rules were such I was not allowed on the ladder!) they used their 102 foot ladder and a fireman went up and rescued the bird! Another adult was observed dropping fish into the nest and after several days in rehab and an exam, the dangling bird was successfully released! THANK YOU Winter Have Fire Department!

On the songbirds: Many have been already released, still have youngsters coming in and frequent feedings!

On the mammals: All of the little ones are growing and doing well!


In the Jan-Feb. update, Woodland Wonders mentioned a baby otter- she came to us with eyes closed and opened them 12 days after admission- a very young otter- well she grew and grew and it was time for her to graduate into bigger water facilities and with other otters- With my heart joyous that she had a place to go and my heart BREAKING, she was taken to a wildlife sanctuary downstate. It is the belief of vets and otter experts that an otter acquired so young does not do well in the wild. Molly captured my heart and will be forever in my heart and memory.

** Readers, this is middle of June and chimney swift season- these little birds are mosquito eaters and nest in the chimney- the mother eats mosquitoes, regurgitates and then puts a dab of pine sap on and feeds the little ones! As you can see, they are very difficult to rehab due to dietary requirements! If a nest or a baby falls into your fireplace, try:

  1. Putting back up in the chimney ledge or nest
  2. Closing off the room with the fireplace to people and pets and often mommy will fly down and feed- remember they are mosquito eaters so help out the nursery stage!!!

At this time, I want to THANK all of the volunteers who faithfully help Woodland Wonders with errand running, rescues, cleaning, vacation babysitting, etc. You know who you are and you are PRICELESS! If any of you readers want to be trained to do such, please contact us. I want to THANK all of the donors who help support the mission with time, supplies or $$.

Special THANKS goes to Boy Scout Troop 113 for an Eagle Project, Cauldwell Elementary School for a service project and advance thank you to the Campfire for a service project scheduled in August. It is so beautiful to be blessed by such wonderful and talented young people from these groups represented!

His Legacy Lives On

Woodland Wonders was saddened to hear of the death of Ken Morrison, age 92 on March 4th. He was as  one  article in the Lakeland Ledger described him,”the giant of Audubon”—For 25 years, he was director of the Bok Tower(2nd director there)— he was also ,President Emeritus of the Audubon Society, and served on the boards of Florida Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife.  He also founded Ridge Audubon Society, Defenders of Crooked Lake, Green Horizon Land Trust and Florida Conservation Foundation. He was the leading founder of Tiger Creek Perserve, Kissimissee State Park and  other natural lands that many people today enjoy.   In addition, he wrote two published books on environmental issues.

We were personal friends with Ken and Helen his wife and I can only say every conversation we had with them was delightful.They were/are very intelligent on so many things and of course environmental issues were their passion. In my early years of rehab, it was Ken and Helen whom helped me with an owl and was present for my first owl release !! This release was in the Tiger Creek Preserve.

Ken Morrison left a legacy of children and family very active and supportive with environmental issues, a community that has beautiful natural lands to visit and an awareness of the environment and a lesson in being a good steward to the Earth. Ken, you will be missed and your legacy will live forever in the hearts of those who knew you, the young will learn of you and our precious wildlife will continue to have natural lands to live in and your spirit will be forever etched in the Earth’s land.

Ken Morrison’s celebration of Life will be held at 3Pm at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida on April 2, 2011.