Video by Sammi Bringas
Written by Keui Anh Nguyen Le
Three weeks ago, the violent storms in Sacramento decimated the Wildlife Care Association’s (WCA) aviary flight cage. The nonprofit, which has been dedicated to rehabilitating wildlife since 1975, is now asking for community support in raising the funds to repair the damage.
Terri Muzik, interim manager and long-time volunteer, had never seen damage like this. Despite the structure being twenty feet tall, it was practically demolished.
“[The storm] basically just picked up our aviary and tipped it over. And now it’s just a giant pile of rubble in the field — completely unusable” she explained.
They have dealt with weather damage before but “it has never been anything that’s just complete destruction. There’s absolutely no way to fix this.”
The enclosure had been housing three crows — two of which presumably flew away when the cage collapsed. The third was found the next day, uninjured.
This aviary was used for large birds such as crows, raptors, and hawks that are not ready to be released into the wild.
According to the Sacramento Audubon Society, an environmental organization, because Sacramento has a diverse mix of riparian woodlands, marshes, agricultural land, grasslands, chaparral and oak woodlands, the area hosts the one of the best arrays of bird species in North America.
Unfortunately, many of these birds and other animals are often hurt or displaced by human activities. Squirrel nests are cut out of trees during trimming season and hawks get injured flying into windows or power lines.
That is why the work that WCA does is essential to preserving the native wildlife of Sacramento and maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
“Without the opossums, we would have way too many ticks. The squirrels replant the Oak trees. All the songbirds help with the pollination and the planting of seeds. Everything plays a part. And I think we just need to give them a second chance” Muzik said.
The organization accepts all types of animals brought in by the public and other agencies.
“[We take in] songbirds, baby squirrels, opossums, coyotes — I mean any kind of wildlife people can bring to our facility. We’re open seven days a week and we will intake absolutely anything that’s wild. If we don’t rehabilitate it, then we transfer it out,” Muzik said.
Every year they receive over 6,000 animals — a number that has not declined even during the pandemic.
These animals may be affected by human activities or simply injured by a predator. No matter the cause, the extensive volunteer force at WCA is prepared to handle it.