'To care for injured, orphaned or ill wildlife in order to return them to the wild and to promote appreciation and understanding of wildlife through public education.'
TAMARACK WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND WILDLIFE CENTER
Harriet Wilson founded the Tamarack Rehabilitation and Wildlife Center in 1989. The facility, originally located on Tamarack Lake, has since moved to Stull Road on the outskirts of Saegertown in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Tamarack's twin mission is one, to rehabilitate wildlife and return them to the wild, and, two, to provide education for all ages promoting appreciation and understanding of wildlife.
In the beginning Tamarack treated every type of injured wildlife but the numbers requiring assistance soon became overwhelming. The Center now specializes in treating birds of prey, adult seed-eating songbirds, turtles and opossums. Other species of wildlife are cared for whenever there is the staffing, room and funding to do so.
The admission protocol for injured animals is similar to that seen in a human ER setting. Upon arrival at the center, the wild animal is evaluated in the admission room. The medical examination usually reveals what's required whether it's splinting a fracture, cleaning and dressing wounds, treating for parasites or the administration of medications or fluids. In species prone to lead toxicity, a lead blood test is run.
Then the patient is settled in an enclosure in I.C.U., an indoor room where patients needing intensive care are housed. It is common for patients to remain in I.C.U. for several weeks as their fractures heal or they recover from illness. If appropriate, hands on physical therapy is given to improve range of motion and promote full recovery.
Once the patient is deemed ready to begin self-exercise, the wildlife patient is moved to one of several outdoor enclosures. These enclosures shelter the patient from the elements and potential predators. This setting affords the patient the opportunity to adjust to the outside environment and gain stamina while still being regularly fed and treated by Tamarack's staff. Our largest avian patients, Bald Eagles, receive flight conditioning in an 104 foot long flight building. Before release each patient is carefully evaluated for its ability to survive in the wild.
Recently more bald eagles have been admitted at Tamarack. In the founding years, a bald eagle was treated once every few years. Since 2007, however, with the rebound of bald eagles in the area, that number has risen to five to ten eagles treated per year. DeArment and her assistants have shown a marked ability to rehabilitate these magnificent raptors.
On occasion the injuries some wildlife sustain cause them permanent disability and they can't be returned to the wild. These patients are evaluated for both health and temperament. The Tamarack staff then work to place candidates in an appropriate licensed setting. Some can act as foster parents for orphaned young at a rehabilitation center. Others become ambassadors of their breed and are placed with Zoos or Nature Centers. Often a young Red-tailed Hawk or Screech Owl takes to glove training and shines as the star of an education program.
Tamarack has an impressive release rate. Of the admissions that survive the first 24 hours, typically over 70% are released. Our greatest success is seeing a wild animal returned to its home. With birds, this can be quite dramatic and breathtaking as they return to the open sky.
Live birds captivate and inspire us. Seeing them up close intensifies that experience. Tamarack provides educational programming throughout our region where live birds of prey serve as models of physical and behavioral adaptations, natural selection and human impact on species survival. An amazing cast of birds assist in this goal: Peeker, a teeny-tiny Saw-Whet Owl, Lady Hawk, an powerful Red-Tailed Hawk, and Pierre, a sleek Peregrine Falcon, among others. During programming an owl, hawk or falcon perches on a handler's glove. Take the opportunity to see these magnificent wild creatures up close. The encounter is awe inspiring.
Read more on our Education Page and meet our Education Birds.
Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator Sue DeArment began working with Harriet Wilson in 1991. She became a certified Wildlife Rehabilitator in 1992. Eventually DeArment stepped into the role of Tamarack's Executive Director and Wildlife Rehabilitator. Passionate about animals since childhood, her formal studies included biology, zoology, and anatomy.
A crew of assistants, educators, interns, volunteers, and work-study college students feed and care for the wildlife, and manage the other daily needs of the facility. Also assisting the center's staff are Wildlife First Responders and Transporters. These trained volunteers remotely access phone messages left at the center regarding injured wildlife or other questions. They then evaluate the situation and suggest how to handle it. Tamarack's hands-on Board of Directors see to such behind the scene details as fund-raising, promotion and finances.
Remember, only a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator can care for injured wildlife. Please DO NOT try to treat wildlife yourself. Tamarack's expert staff can be reached at: 814-763-2574.
Donations and memberships are the life blood of Tamarack. They support Tamarack's mission to heal injured wildlife and return them to the wild. Tamarack does not receive any government funding. Join the team. Share your time and skills with the center. Become a member of Tamarack, sponsor an educational bird, or make a memorial contribution. It's your donations that give these animals a second chance.