Family Travel Stories

An unexpected visit to The Center for Wildlife


Chicka- "Dee Dee"

This past Saturday, we had plans to take the boat out again, but mother nature had different plans for us. First it was cold and rainy all day, not too appealing for boating, second, a baby Chickadee had been caught by one of our cats and was lying on the walkway next to our porch. Its claw was caught on its wing and we could not tell if its wing was broken or deformed.

We called The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine since that was the one place we had heard of that takes in birds. They said the Chickadee may also have had a deformity and was pushed out of the nest by its mother. We placed “Dee-Dee” (affectionately named by our eight year old) in a box with a towel and made the 45 minute drive to the center, which is located near Mt. Agamenticus.

When we arrived, they took “Dee-Dee” and checked her wing (we do not know for sure if it was a female). They thought it might be broken but they were not certain. Our boys were concerned about the fledgling chickadee so they had us fill out a form and gave us an admission number so we could call and check on her status.

The Center for Wildlife is a nonprofit organization, and many of the staff are volunteers. We made a donation since it was the least we could do for their help. Laura, one of their staff, gave us a quick tour of the center. We walked through a room where Blue Jays, Robins and other rehabilitating birds were flying around, we also saw baby Catbirds who opened their mouths wide looking for food when they saw us. We also saw a turtle, Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel and Barred Owl who were permanent residents of the center. The raptors were there because they had all been hit by cars. Our kids were amazed to see these birds up close and learn about why they were there. I am certain my older son gained more of an appreciation for protecting wildlife.

For more than 20 years, the wildlife rehabilitation facility, its staff and volunteers have provided care for sick and injured wildlife until they can be released back into the wild.

The Center’s mission also includes providing information and education to the general public – raising awareness of the many wonderful wild species that live among us and instilling a heightened sensitivity to the impacts we humans have on their lives.

Today, the Center treats over 1500 animals a year and is one of the largest rehabilitators in New England.

The Center for Wildlife is not open to the public, but Laura mentioned that they give tours on Saturdays at 1:00pm. You must call ahead to register for the tour. Their phone number is 207-361-1400. In addition, they will be holding their annual Open House on Sunday, September 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you are considering donating to a charity this year, I encourage you to consider The Center for Wildlife. Their staff is dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing the animals they treat. Laura mentioned that they have been able to release almost 50 percent of the animals they take in back in to the wild. Keep up the great work!

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