Organization gives wildlife second chance at life

Four Lakes Wildlife Center rehabilitates injured birds, animals
Organization gives wildlife second chance at life

Every year, since 2002, the Four Lakes Wildlife Center has taken in injured birds and animals, and has literally given them a second chance at life.

“It feels good to be able to give a little bit back. It is like having a second chance at life,” said Brooke Lewis, the center’s wildlife rehabilitation supervisor.

The wildlife center is part of the Dane County Humane Society and each year provides care and rehabilitation for nearly 2,000 birds and animals. While it is fully licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin DNR, it receives no federal or state funding. It cares for the injured birds and animals through donations from the community.

The goal for every creature brought to the wildlife center is for them to be released back into the area where they were found.

That mission was accomplished when an adult Red-tailed hawk was released in a park in Fitchburg. The bird was found on Sept. 22 by Mitchell Sutter, a city of Fitchburg civilian service employee. The bird had apparently been hit by a car.

“His fracture was a little bit iffy. We weren’t sure about it. It was fairly displaced so we were hopeful it would work, but we weren’t certain,” Lewis said.

They immobilized the broken bone and kept the bird in a cage to prevent it from further injuring itself. After several weeks the hawk was released into a flight pen.

“The first day that bird went out into the flight pen I was ecstatic,” said Jacqueline Edmunds, wildlife rehabilitation coordinator. “I got to see the bird when it was under restricted caging and in a wrap for weeks. You take the bandage off, you do some physical therapy and then he’s out there and he goes from the ground right up to the perch. You’re like, ‘Yes. He can fly.'”

Just over three months from the day the hawk was brought to Four Lakes Wildlife Center it was returned to the area where it was found and released. Watching the bird of prey fly and perch in a nearby tree was a reminder of the importance of Four Lakes Wildlife Center.

“That’s what we’re here for,” Edmunds said.