Every fall MRWC receives patients that arrive late in the season, recover, but miss their chance of migration and have to overwinter, even though they are healthy and releasable. In past years, MRWC has cared for such things as Sandhill Cranes, ducks, or Great Blue Herons. This year is no different. We are currently housing a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Cedar Waxwing, American Robin, juvenile Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawks and a Cormorant.
Many of the species we house are relatively simple to care for but some, such as the Cormorant, require a bit more attention. Our Cormorant cannot be kept in our pond with the other waterfowl due to his easily stressed personality and the way he needs to feed. Instead, he is kept in a quiet, private room with a large rubber container filled with water. Clean water and fish are put into the container each day an he spends much of his time perched on the edge, dipping fish. We are very grateful to Smoky Trout Farm for the donation of 250 pounds of lovely trout to keep him fed.
Most birds that are overwintered leave Alberta and cross borders during migration and with current regulations this makes it impossible to send these patients over those borders to their normal wintering grounds. Our Cormorant, however, can spend his winter in the lower mainland of British Columbia. This may seem easy, but there are still borders to cross. MRWC has begun the process to put export and import permits into place and hope we will not have to keep this guy for the next five months. I’m sure he feels the same.