Taking care of our feathered friends one at a time

Veterinarian and staff step up to help local wildlife.

  • Apr. 10, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Veterinarian Dr. Mark Zehnder and some of his staff at the Invermere Veterinary Hospital have been donating their time and expertise to help injured wildlife in the region, particularly raptor birds.

“He gets a lot of birds, more and more every year, often with a broken wing,” said Judy Burns, an employee at the hospital. “The goal is always to release them, but they need to rebuild their strength before we can do that.”

Zehnder used to take them home to help with the rehabilitation, but a fundraising effort last year allowed them to build 20x20x100 foot Flight Cage.

“It was stressful, and time consuming, and we thought there must be a better way. So we were able to build this flight cage,” said Burns.

The group is now in a much better position to help out their flying friends, but they still need some community support.

“This is going to sound a bit gross, but we need dead rodents,” said Burns.

The birds they are housing need food while they are recovering, mainly in the form of dead rodents such as mice, rats, squirrels or gophers.

They are currently rehabilitating a Great Horned Owl, who has depleted their food stores.

“The response from the local people has been amazing,” said Burns. “But we’re really low right now.”

The clinic is asking that anyone in Golden, who may have access to dead rodents, and are travelling to Invermere, stop by the animal hospital to drop them off. Any rodent who has not been killed by poison or bullets would be a great help.

“We have lots of customers who come down from Golden, so I thought if they knew we were in need, they might be able to bring us some rodents if they were coming to town anyway,” said Burns.

They have a large freezer to store them, so you can drop them off frozen as well.

Burns would also like the people of Golden to know that this resource is available for anyone who may come across an injured raptor bird.

“Dr. Zehnder helps a lot of wild birds, so if anyone sees an injured eagle or owl they can bring them to the clinic for treatment,” she said.

Anyone who is able to help with rodents, or knows of a bird who needs help, is encouraged to call the Invermere Animal Hospital at 250-342-7007.