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This is a series of diaries highlighting animal rescues around the country and noting and celebrating the work they do to help animals who have no voices but ours to speak for them. I have decided to make this a daily series because there are so many wonderful rescues out there who need human help and weekly just doesn't seem to be enough. I have long wanted to start a rescue but lack the resources or time available to do so right now so this is my attempt to do my part. I hope that these rescues will benefit from the kindness and benevolence of the community here at Daily Kos. They are amazing organizations and worthy of Kossack attention and care. This group works with wildlife rehabilitation. I walk a lot and I see these poor animals run over and left in or at the side of the road just abandoned. I have no idea if they suffered or how long they may have suffered and neither do they people who hit them because they couldn't be bothered to stop. It upsets me terribly. These people try to do some good for these types of animals who are still here with us and I appreciate that very much.
I am here, alive and all around you

I have no voice

In your trees, your air, your fields, your oceans, your world

I have no voice

I am a mother, a father, a protector, a soul

I have no voice

I can walk, crawl, sing, fear

I have no voice

You must be my voice

Second Chance Wildlife Center

The website is here
You can donate here

Who We Are
Second Chance Wildlife Center (SCWC) is housed in a historic Gaithersburg farmhouse surrounded by fields, woods, a marsh, and a stream. Several spacious flight cages, small mammal enclosures, and waterfowl pens are located on the adjacent lawns. Many recently released animals share the grounds with the permanent wild residents before moving on to establish their own niches in the surrounding fields and woods. Others are released at special sites such as nature centers and animal sanctuaries that are protected for wildlife.

Each year, concerned citizens bring in thousands of native wildlife for medical treatment, attentive care, and release. Second Chance was founded by Christine Montuori. A licensed wildlife rehabilitator since 1986, Chris supervised the treatment, housing, and feeding of the wild patients. After training as a volunteer at a wildlife center in Bowie, Maryland, Chris obtained her state and federal wildlife rehabilitation permits in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Working out of her home, she cared for as many as 1,200 animals per year and incorporated as Second Chance Wildlife Center in 1995. In June of 1996, Second Chance moved their operations to its present location in Gaithersburg. The facility, owned by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, now treats about 3,500 animals per year.

Second Chance rehabilitates orphaned, injured and ill songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other native species. Our volunteer staff veterinarian performs surgical procedures on site as needed.

We thoroughly test the animals before they are released, to ensure that they have sufficient skills to survive in the wild. As a relatively new science, wildlife rehabilitation is a growing field. Innovations and advancements in care and treatment are constantly being made, and the staff and volunteers of SCWC keep abreast of these developments through networking with other rehabilitators, membership in state, national and international wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and attending conferences and training seminars.

The Center accepts admissions from 9:00AM to 5:00PM every day of the year. Staff, interns, and volunteers work 12 to 14 hours per day caring for patients during the busy spring and summer months. Second Chance Wildlife Center was accredited by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council in 1997 and was awarded the Governor's Citation in October 1998.

SCWC is a 501(c) non-profit organization and relies on public donations to continue its work. The average cost to rehabilitate a single animal is $75. Take some time to explore our website to learn about what we do and how you can help us make a difference.

Note: Second Chance Wildlife Center does not deal with domestic animals; for example feral/stray cats, domestic ducks, or "egg hatching projects." Please call the Humane Society for issues concerning domestic animals.

Wish/Needs List

Caring for approximately 3,500 animals a year is expensive. We are always in need of food and other items to supplement our stock. Last year, for example, we used an average of two and a half pounds of kitten chow per day during baby bird season in the spring.

The following food and supplies are always accepted and appreciated. You may bring items to our Center at any time during operating hours. For office hours, address, and directions, visit our Contact Info page.

Please give us a call if you want to donate an item that is not listed. Thank you so much for your generosity and support!

*   denotes items needed most year-round
* denotes items needed most in spring and summer

Operations

Monetary donations help pay for medicines, utilities, rent, groceries, etc. To make a cash gift, please visit our Donations page.

Monetary donations
Gas cards*

Food

Hills Science Diet Growth Dry Kitten Chow
Grocery store gift cards*
Mixed Wild Bird Seed (ingredients: white millet, black oil sunflower, safflower)
Unsalted in-the-shell peanuts and mixed nuts
Bottled water

Snacks (for our hard working volunteers!)

Supplies

High-Efficiency (HE) laundry detergent (any brand, unscented preferred)
Bleach (unscented)

Postage stamps

Paper towels (regular and select-a-size)*
Toilet paper

Trash bags (all sizes needed, especially 30+ gal)
*

Opossums Story

In September, a kindhearted Chevy Chase woman found a group of opossums in a trash can, clinging to the back of their dead mother. The mother had been dead for days, but the babies, not knowing what else to do and unable to escape the trash can, still
clung to her.

When the woman brought them to Second Chance, the babies were critically dehydrated and emaciated. They weighed half of what opossums their age should weigh. For the first 24 hours, our rehabilitator coaxed nutrition and an  electrolyte solution into them every two hours, all day and through the night. Despite her heroic efforts—and loss of sleep—four of the eight babies died.

The remaining four, however, gradually began to gain weight and grow. When they were old and strong enough, they were moved to an outdoor enclosure. In a few weeks, we hope to release them on an 800-acre farm in Montgomery County that has agreed to take opossums from us.

Patient Tale: Back to Basics

It was a rare day in January, a day when more than one patient was being admitted for care. Most of our winter patients have bounced off a car and it appeared that this pretty little lady had suffered from a similar fate. Now there are many people out there (other rehabbers included) that do not get as excited about Northern mockingbirds as I do, but then most people did not grow up in the country like I did, constantly serenaded by dozens of male mockers guarding their territories and all the females and young within.

When I pulled this seemingly-drab grey and white bird from the holding container, she turned her head to the side so she could regard me with one of her bright yellow eyes. A quick but thorough initial exam found no obvious fractures or other injuries. She was in excellent body condition - great weight, quick reflexes and strong enough to struggle in my hand and deliver a strong peck when it was obvious that I was not immediately letting her go.

I set her up in one of our small Green Cages so I could keep an eye on her and her behavior without her knowing I was watching. Although she seemed stand on her own, she was actually using her long tail as a prop. She was also head-tracking slightly, making it appear as though she was watching a slow but riveting tennis match. After a quick dose of an anti-inflammatory, I set her up with food, water and low perches, and turned the heating pad under her cage to low.

The next morning, I eagerly peeked in on “my” girl and she glared right back at me. Though still headtracking, she was no longer propping herself up with her tail. Another quick dose of the anti-inflammatory during cage cleaning and I left her alone for the rest of the day (except for occasional peeks). The days past and she improved, readily scarffing down all the mealworms I could provide and all the fruits and veggies I could mince small enough for her to swallow. After a week of rest in her Green Cage she was ready to be moved to larger accommodations in our Front Room. Setting up her new cage as prettily as I could, with many pine branches (with needles) to provide natural” places to hide, I crossed my fingers that she would settle in and not be set back in her care from the stress of being moved.

She adjusted to her new cage quite nicely and was even comfortable enough to aisplay her wing bars at me when she felt I was getting too close. Whenever I cleaned her cage, she would still turn to the side to regard me with one of her bright yellow eyes, but otherwise seemed unperturbed by my presence.

Another week went by and soon she was set up in an even larger cage on our Side Porch, giving her more room to exercise and allowing her to gradually adjust to external temperatures. At the end of her week on the Side Porch, she was test flown in a larger area and she passed with flying colors, taking off and landing with ease. Since the weather was so agreeable (a rarity in early February), we knew that her time with us was done. The door to her cage was opened and out she flew into the trees without so much as a backwards glance. Success!

Though not as glamorous looking as all the hawks, owls and brightly colored songbirds, this little girl nonetheless added some beauty to an otherwise drab winter.

by Brittany Davis, staff

Our Patients

The mission of Second Chance is to provide - free of charge - care and rehabilitation to ill, injured, and/or orphaned wildlife - especially those that have been negatively affected by human activities - with the goal of returning them to the wild; to educate the public about the importance of wildlife and help them live in closer harmony with them; to function as a wildlife referral and information resource for local residents, local, state, and federal agencies, and businesses, students, and educators.

Each year, concerned citizens bring in thousands of native wildlife for medical treatment, attentive care, and release. Second Chance rehabilitates orphaned, injured and ill songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other native species. A special permit allows treatment of rabies vector species (i.e., raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats). Our volunteer staff veterinarian performs surgical procedures on site as needed.

We thoroughly test the animals before they are released, to ensure that they have sufficient skills to survive in the wild. As a relatively new science, wildlife rehabilitation is a growing field. Innovations and advancements in care and treatment are constantly being made, and the staff and volunteers of SCWC keep abreast of these developments through networking with other rehabilitators, membership in state, national and international wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and attending conferences and training seminars.

The Center accepts admissions from 9:00AM to 5:00PM every day of the year. Staff, interns, and volunteers work 12 to 14 hours per day caring for patients during the busy spring and summer months. Second Chance Wildlife Center was accredited by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council in 1997 and was awarded the Governor's Citation in October 1998.

SCWC is a 501(c) non-profit organization and relies on public donations to continue its work. The average cost to rehabilitate a single wild animal is $44.00. Take some time to explore our web site to learn about what we do and how you can help us make a difference.

To see the Center at work, visit our Patient Gallery. You can also read stories of those patients we've treated over the years in our Wild Tales section.

Rescue Guidelines

Visit the Found an Animal? page for a rescue overview.

DO RESCUE:

Any animal with visible injuries and/or bleeding.

Any animal that has been attacked by another animal, especially a cat.

Any animal that has been hit by a car, lawnmower or construction equipment.

Any animal that is swarmed with flies and/or ants.

Cold or injured young that have fallen from their nest, or are lying out in the open.

Birds that have flown into a window and remain stunned or unable to fly after an hour.

Any animal tangled in netting, fishing line or stuck on a glue trap. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE ANIMAL FROM THE GLUE TRAP. Cover any exposed area of the glue trap with paper towels.

Any lone ducking or gosling.

Young animals that are approaching/following people or pets. Please use extreme caution.

DO NOT RESCUE:

Healthy fledglings – most of our native songbirds leave the nest before they are fully flighted, learning to fly from the ground while still be tending by their parents.

Re-nestable young – if a songbird has fallen from its nest and seems uninjured, try to put it back into its nest.

Uninjured rabbit kits – if you want to make sure the rabbit doe is visiting the nest (which only happens twice a day), place two lightweight twigs in an X over the nest and check back in 24 hours. If the twigs have been disturbed, you need not “rescue” the young.

Uninjured juvenile rabbits – Weaned rabbit kits are very small, about the size of a tennis ball, and are more likely to freeze at your approach. If they appear uninjured, they can be left alone.

Uninjured juvenile opossums – Opossums are only about a foot long when they are weaned and are more likely to freeze at your approach than try to run. If they appear uninjured, they can be left alone.

Uninjured deer fawn – Does will leave their young fawns in a quiet spot for most of the day while she grazes nearby; the fawns will not flee from your approach. If there are no injuries or insects, they can be left alone.

Adult deer – Deer are extremely dangerous and should not be approached. Please call for advice.

Adult foxes, raccoons or skunks – Injured or sick adults should be reported to your local animal control agency.

Hatchling reptiles – Reptiles are independent from hatching and should be left alone.

Uninjured turtles – Uninjured turtles found in the road should simple be placed on the side of the road in the direction they were heading. Relocating the turtle to a new place is inadvisable for these highly territorial animals.

TRANSPORTING WILDLIFE:

You can use a towel to drape over the animal for easier pick up.

You may want to wear gloves to protect yourself as injured animals may try to bite and scratch to defend themselves. They do not understand that you are trying to help; please keep all handling to a minimum.

Place a clean, non-frayed towel (or paper towel) on the bottom of a size-appropriate box (with secure lid!) or pet carrier.

DO NOT place any food or water in the transport container as it will end up all over the animal during transport.

Make sure the transport container is securely closed to prevent escapes en route to the rehabilitator.

Keep the car warm and quiet during transport; no loud radio or talking.

Remember to write down exactly where you found the animal.

Note: Please do not leave animals/birds at our door when we are not there. This is inhumane and may be fatal for the animal.

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