CHADWICKS, N.Y. -- Strong winds can be a nuisance, tipping trash receptacles and knocking over patio furniture. Extremely strong winds can be dangerous, knocking down trees and injuring baby wildlife.
"This is a little barred own and he blew out of a tree in Sherrillbrook town park," said wildlife rehabilitator, Judy Cusworth, of Woodhaven Wildlife Center, in Chadwicks. Cusworth is a NYS DEC-licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Whenever we experience strong wind storms, she takes in injured animals. Cusworth is currently caring for one barred own and two great horned owls who were blown from trees and injured.
"He got what looks like cataracs and we think he might have head trauma and we think he'll probably have to go to Cornell Wildlife clinic," said Cusworth, of the tiny barred owl resting on her hand. As Cusworth speaks, her voice is interrupted by a rooster's 'cock a doodle do' in the background. One of the great horned owls, Zeus, flaps his wings in tentative, but brief, flight. Owls are only the beginning of the animals for whom Woodhaven cares. Endless feedings, sometimes by hand...shelter....and love. Also at Woodhaven, a 10-day-old fawn, Bambi, whose mother was struck by a car and killed.
"She'd die. She'd starve to death if she was left out there. So, they bring 'em here and we bottle feed and we raise 'em. Get 'em on solid food. We release them in the fall," said Cusworth. It's a labor of love that often requires around the clock, costly care. Woodhaven Wildlife Center is run solely on donations. And love. Lots of love.
"Because I deal with animals much better than I deal with people, and because there's a need. There's not that many of us out there, and I think that humans and domestic animals come first, so to a lot of people, these aren't important. But they're important to me," says Cusworth.