Three weeks ago at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, we had a cottontail rabbit brought in by a family who had found it in their backyard dragging a leg with an exposed fracture. The Miller’s work with several veterinarians in town who are kind enough to donate their services, and they took this cottontail to Dr. Laudonio at Acacia Animal Hospital. Dr. Laudonio performed surgery on the rabbit, pinned the fracture, and set it into a cast.
A week or so later, he reapplied an external cast because the original was causing the rabbit’s leg to turn outward. Six days ago, on Friday, one of the volunteers went to feed the broken-leg bunny and came back to Janet Miller, asking, “Who put those tiny bunnies in with the broken-leg bunny?” Well, it turns out the bunny had just given birth to two bunnies, and as Janet came to see if she was okay, gave birth to a third.
What a testament to the resilience of this bunny, who had been through a tremendous amount of trauma! Mom and babies are doing well, their eyes should open on the 7th day. We had to remove the bunnies from their cage to clean and feed them, and had to make sure the mom bunny could see and smell her babies, so she wouldn’t think that we were trying to take them away from her.
The babies are generally piled up in a bunny-heap when not nursing. It is interesting to see how quickly they put on weight with their mother’s milk vs. the formula that we feed baby bunnies at the Wildlife Rehab. I will post updates next week when they open up their eyes.
Baby season at the Wildlife Rehab is winding down, and some of the babies that we have nurtured throughout the summer are now ready for release. Since I am often going to places with shade and water to go hiking, I enjoy taking animals for release with me. Yesterday, we had a kestrel (smallest of the falcons) ready for release, so today I took it to Catalina, to the Cottonwoods near the Baby Jesus and 50-year trails. There are several washes that have water in the area and plenty of tall trees for shade and perching.
Play this video if you’ve never heard the call of a kestrel before- it does it right at the beginning of the clip:
The little guy hunted some ants and wandered around for a bit. I started to wonder if he was going to just sit in the wash all day, when finally, he took to the skies and perched in a tall cottonwood. I watched for a while to make sure he was ok, then went on a little hike on the Baby Jesus Trail before returning to the car. I hadn’t been to the Baby Jesus Trail since December of last year, and it was so much lusher and greener, with running creeks and tons of summer wildflowers. The blooming orange caltrop in places reminded me of poppy-filled hillsides of spring. I found a small waterfall at the second creek crossing, and got into the pool for a soak before hiking back out to my Jeep. Unfortunately, I had not taken the stuff out of my pockets, including my high-tech Jeep key. Oops! Thankfully, it had dried out enough by the time I’d gotten back and I didn’t have to face the wrath of my husband for ruining the key.
If you’d like to donate to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson and have a PayPal account, you can click the “Donate” button below to make a contribution.
If you’d rather mail a check, you can make it out to “Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson” and send it to 3690 Hills of Gold, Tucson, AZ 85745 with “Hiking” in the memo. Janet and Lewis Miller rely on donations to supplement the $10,000 a year that they pay out of pocket to feed and house all these animals and birds, and a donation of any amount is greatly appreciated!