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Mending Broken Wings: Rehabilitators in Iowa Work with Orphaned Wildlife

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Colleen Chisman
Linda Nebbe with an injured barred owl

As wild animals have adapted to our growing cities and towns, more and more people are encountering wildlife in their own backyards. What do you do if the wild animals you find are injured, orphaned, or displaced?

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with three wildlife rehabilitators around the state about caring for at-risk animals, from abandoned baby raccoons to raptors unable to fly. Linda Nebbe, a Wildlife Rehabilitator from Cedar Falls who’s part of the Blackhawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project; Jodeane Cancilla, Program Coordinator at the Macbride Raptor Resource Center; and Marlene Ehresman, Director of the Iowa Wildlife Center join the conversation.

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Charity Nebbe

They see hundreds of animals each year, but say it's important to continue the work that they do for Iowa’s wildlife population.

“Each individual bird matters,” Cancilla said. “The outcomes aren’t always great, but you do everything you can to help that animal and give it the best chance that you can. A lot of times we are successful, and I think that’s the really gratifying point.”

Many wildlife rehabilitation centers take the time to invite people 

I went to the release, and here was this bird that had had a hard time flying, but there it was and it took off like a dream. It just brought tears to my eyes. -Sean, a caller from Marion

  who were involved in rescuing an animal back to watch the animal be released into nature. Sean, a caller from Marion, shared his story about seeing the release of a kestrel that he rescued.

“I went to the release, and here was this bird that had had a hard time flying, but there it was and it took off like a dream. It just brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “It was an experience like I’ve never experienced before, helping save a bit of wildlife, a bit of Mother Nature, and it’s a great feeling."