view counter

The Least of Creatures

Rehabilitator Patricia Terrant has them under her wing

      Every spring and summer, baby animals are orphaned alongside highways and in backyards. Find one and you’ve got a quandary: What do I do now?
      A person who can answer that question is Patricia Terrant of Blue Angel Rescue in Lusby. Terrant, 65, a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator, has been saving animals, mostly birds, since 2015. 
      After retiring from the Calvert County Detention Center in 2012, she found an abandoned baby blue jay. Back then she didn’t know how to care for the baby bird, so she called Maryland Department of Natural Resources and was referred to a rehabilitator near her neighborhood. When she brought the bird to the center, she saw so many animals needing care that she became a volunteer. She has been hooked on caring for wildlife since.
      Working under the careful eye of Mary Martin, founder of Back to the Wild Rescue and Rehab in nearby Cali­fornia, Terrant took on the job of cleaning cages, maintaining sanitary conditions throughout the facility and feeding injured and orphaned animals. She logged more than 200 hours of volunteer work. 
      During her internship, she enrolled in classes offered through DNR in Laurel on the treatment and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife.
      She earned her Master Rehabilitator certificate. To maintain her status, she must take at least one class per year so she stays current on the advances in wildlife rehabilitation.
      The mantra of rehabbing animals, Terrant says, is that they are not pets. Take care of them and release them as soon as they are able to make it on their own.
      She specializes in wounded and orphaned birds but also rehabs squirrels, rabbits and even turtles whose shells were cracked due to run-ins with lawnmowers or cars.
     Her entire facility — i.e., her house — is funded solely by her pension and donations. This includes medicine, veterinary care and feed. She may have one to 20 animals in her care at a time. Depending on the critters’ age, she may get no more sleep than catnaps between feedings. Baby birds need to be fed hourly from sunup to sunset.
      If you find a baby animal, first determine whether or not the animal needs help. Parents of many species leave their young unattended while they forage. Often letting some time pass will reveal the correct answer.
      If the animal is truly in need of help, Terrant advises placing a paper towel in a small box and setting the animal atop the towel. Cover the box with a cloth towel and keep it in a warm area, not an air-conditioned home. Either place a heating pad, set on low, under the box, or keep the box in a shaded area. Then call DNR for a rehab specialist: 877-463-6497. Do not feed the animal. This can cause more harm or even death.
    You can also call Terrant at 410-610-6903. This is her life, and this is her love.