Single white male with poor eyesight, sun sensitivity and residual anxiety from sibling brutality in my youth, seeks single white female for companionship and heavy nesting.
Any sane, single female would run the other way after reading this personal ad. But the male looking for love is Spike, an albino Stellar Jay. As a nestling, Spike was brutalized by his blue siblings, a classic Darwinian scenario. Spike was saved, and now he helps the staff at the Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center teach students about the importance of respecting and protecting native wildlife.
Spike is part of a team of education animals, all unable to return to the wild, often because they are habituated to humans or unable to hunt. The team also includes Rocket the fox, Sundance the vulture, plus owls, a hawk, a turtle and a snake, that help the public understand the problems that wild animals experience from pesticides, habitat destruction, interaction with humans, power lines, fences and domestic animals.
I got to meet them all last week at the Shasta Wildlife Rescue's annual Open House, following the popular "Run 4 the Wild" in Anderson River Park. The Open House included a tour of the Rescue that houses a flight room, baby bird room, fledgling room and flight room, designed as a progression from incubation to release for rescued and injured birds.
The Rescue's facilities also include a lab and medication room, an elaborate outdoor flight room and a waterfowl enclosure. The lab is equipped to hydrate and medicate surrendered animals. The outdoor flight room allows rehabilitated birds to acclimate to the weather before they are released, and the waterfowl enclosure, complete with waterfall and pond, is a hotel-away-from-home for rescued herons, ducks and geese.
The Rescue couldn't be a sanctuary for feathered and furry creatures without its team of dedicated volunteers who admit, triage, feed (baby birds require food every 10 minutes) and monitor patients until they can be released. Each year, up to 2,000 birds and mammals are cared for by the Rescue's volunteers.
Volunteers also clean and maintain the Rescue's facilities, coordinate education efforts, fundraise, produce the quarterly "Call of the Wild" newsletter and staff the wildlife hotline, which receives thousands of calls each year from people requesting information about wildlife.
But they can't do it without your help. In addition to cold, hard cash, the Rescue can always use supplies like paper towels, heating pads, extension cords and hammers. Click here for a complete list of the Rescue's most-wanted supplies.
Most importantly, let them know if you know any single white stellar jays that can keep Spike company.
To arrange a Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation education animal presentation, contact Robin and Patty Ahlf at (530) 549-4160. To volunteer for the Rescue, or report an injured or rescued bird or mammal, call (530) 365-9453. For more information, visit shastawildliferescue.com.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studiosand are the creators of Redding's 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State news and events to [email protected]