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Rehab: A Love Story

Annie Marie Musselman shows how healing wildlife is a delicate and intimate process.

A young Pileated Woodpecker is nurtured at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Washington. Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

When Angel, a Common Raven, arrived at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in 2007, workers discovered the bird could speak in devilish mumbles punctuated with a scream: “Angel!” Because of their large forebrains, Common Ravens are capable of imitating human speech. 

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

A Great Blue Heron waits on a table in the medical room. 

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

The wildlife center, for all its efforts, could not release some of its animals back into the wild. Many of those animals, such as Iya, pictured here, became part of the center’s education outreach program.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Birds like Nanjiska and Iya are taken to nearby schools, where a representative from the center talks with kids about what to do if they find an injured animal, and aims to inspire kids to learn more about birds and the natural world.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Wild birds, like this Golden Eagle, experience a lot of stress when facing medical care. Covering their heads with a towel before the procedure can help calm them down. The photographer says she was drawn to this raptor because it almost appeared as if it was thinking, “Just do what you have to do.” 

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Musselman faced technical challenges when it came to lighting. The flash she used in some photos created a starkly bright light in many of her pictures. “That light shows detail very well, with the feathers and the eyes," says Musselman. 

 
Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Volunteers are often drawn to certain types of animals. Noel Mocabee prefers birds of prey, like the Osprey he’s caring for here. Adult raptors are vulnerable to impact injuries from car collisions; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that about 60 million migratory birds are killed by cars each year. Tens of thousands more are electrocuted by power lines. Rehabbers are required to have special permits to handle species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Bird rehab facilities frequently receive gulls that have been 
injured by microfilament fishing lines and metal hooks. Lures made to resemble small aquatic creatures attract fish, but they can also fool birds. Young gulls like the one above receive regular tube feedings of a mixture containing ground-up fish and other food scraps.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Rehab centers take in all types of injured animals. Here a European Starling is being treated for a broken wing. “This was one of the first photos that I ever took at the center that turned out,” Musselman says. She used the natural light from the skylight above, creating what she calls a “heavenly” look.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Nanjiska, a Snowy Owl with extensive wing damage, was a resident in the center’s outreach program.

Photo: Credit: Annie Marie Musselman

Rehab: A Love Story

Annie Marie Musselman shows how healing wildlife is a delicate and intimate process.

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