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Thread: Release Day Encouragement?

  1. #1
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    Default Release Day Encouragement?

    Ok, so I'm a first time squeeb-mama and recognize I'm going to be super emotional, bordering on irrational, about release tomorrow. However, I think I have a couple legitimate concerns and I could really use some feedback. It's the 11th hour here, but I'm still hoping some of you will be awake and brimming with advice

    I posted before about the hawks in my neighborhood after I lost an escapee to one and many of you gave me some great ideas on deterring them from my yard. I haven't seen one swoop down since I implemented the shiny, spinny, reflective ornaments. I also put up two sun sails over the "swoop danger zone" which are double duty deck shades

    I built a bridge and attached it between the top of the RC and the tree where it goes up near the extra nest box (they've had it in the RC till now.)

    I've got a serious hawk phobia going on and it's made me proscrastinate. I've done what I could to create a safer release environment, but I'm SO SO SO anxious.

    Here's the rub:
    Last week, I ALMOST managed their release. One wasn't interested in leaving. The second came out and went back in. The third took off on the adventure of her life.....alone...and three hours later at sunset I was rescuing her after she'd been tree'd by my neighbors dog.

    Shouldn't they stick together in the beginning for safety??? How do I make that happen?

    Thank goodness the dog didn't get ahold of her.
    But she is my fearless one and FROZE.

    My boy, Grayson, is significantly more timid and freezes up over much less. I really don't think he's savvy enough to avoid predation! With these two hawks here....I'm just SICK with worry. If any of them were to choose to remain a pet, it would be him.

    If he did, so be it. I accepted that potential when I accepted them to rehab. But when he's released, how would I know? If he's not wild-savvy enough, he might end up taken by one of the hawks or a dog, etc. And, I can't release the others and hold him back longer.

    I'm excited for them to be wild and free, but I'm terrified and my heart hurts over the very real "what if" dangers.
    Suggestions appreciated. Or even encouragement I'm doing this release the best way.

    On a lighter note, I'm including some photos of the whimsical release prep I've done.Name:  IMG_0087.jpg
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Oh! And is there a way to keep them from going up a particular tree? Specifically the pine tree near their RC where my escapee went and got taken by the hawk.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Wow, just wow! You have done a beautiful set up. How old are your dudes and how long have they been out in the release cage. Might they need a bit longer in the RC?

    I don't have the back ground on your babies except the pine tree incident. It is all our worst fears and to me release day is full of emotion and a lot of bargaining with God!

    I wish the best for you and your babies.

    Trysh

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I know how scared and concerned you are. . You have done a great job giving them the very best opportunity for success.

    To answer some questions: I don't think it's possible for you to keep them out of the pine tree by the RC. Once they get out they will want to explore everything. They may stick together, but they may not. Sometimes it takes awhile for them to have the courage to venture out, which is why you leave the cage open till dark, just in case they want to come back inside. Many will continue to sleep in the RC for several nights.

    I only had two boys to release, and keep track of, but when the day came I released around 9:00 in the morning and literally sat in my backyard the entire day keeping track of where they went and playing with them. As I've said before, I didn't follow protocol and stop all interaction with them. I also don't have a major hawk problem here. My guys became much more savvy as time went on and seemed to learn even more from the wilds after released. They were in the RC for 2 mths and were probably 6 or 7 mths old when I released them. They did return to the RC to sleep for a few nights, though. They are still living in the oak tree that the RC sits under so they can get the breakfast buffet every morning.

    I wish you the best of luck. As long as your guys are old enough and spent enough time in the RC then there isn't much else you can do, but hope and pray and be visible for a few days to try and thwart any predators.

    Keep us updated, please.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    They've been in the RC for a little over 5 weeks (37 days.)
    They respond to the locals' danger calls (mostly) and interact in other ways. Mainly agitated when all the locals come running for the nuts I fling every morning!
    They spend a lot more time in the nest box than out of it, but I also think they're lazy slugs. Lol
    It's 9am now, and I've been waiting to see if the locals start foraging. When the squirrels don't come around some mornings, there's a reason. I assume the hawks. They weren't out until just now. Now they're showing up in force. So, looks like it's time......


    Quote Originally Posted by redwuff View Post
    Wow, just wow! You have done a beautiful set up. How old are your dudes and how long have they been out in the release cage. Might they need a bit longer in the RC?

    I don't have the back ground on your babies except the pine tree incident. It is all our worst fears and to me release day is full of emotion and a lot of bargaining with God!

    I wish the best for you and your babies.

    Trysh

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    You might want to wait to release till after the locals have eaten and moved on so there is less competition in the yard.

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I think you and I will have a lot in common with our approach. I know in my heart with the next round of storms and hurricane season, I will be rehabbing more squirrels. These being my first, I've learned a lot. But I definitely let my guard down when it came to objective detachment in the process. Feels kind of like what I imagine raising a puppy and then suddenly releasing it to run with the feral packs. Not really a comparison, but there IS a muddied distinction between pet and wild rehab for me I readily acknowledge.
    Despite my selfish emotions, I remain steadfast they deserve to be wild as nature intended. I don't even agree with keeping birds as pets because t goes against their very nature to be caged.
    They are about 8 1/2 (Grayson and MineyMo) and 9 months (Nugget) because they overwintered with me AND I procrastinated their release after losing Blitz to the hawk.
    I'm not leaving a door open to the RC. I'm opening a 4" door I've made.
    The local squirrels are finally out foraging, which tells me it's safe. That means it's time right now.
    Here we go....


    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I know how scared and concerned you are. . You have done a great job giving them the very best opportunity for success.

    To answer some questions: I don't think it's possible for you to keep them out of the pine tree by the RC. Once they get out they will want to explore everything. They may stick together, but they may not. Sometimes it takes awhile for them to have the courage to venture out, which is why you leave the cage open till dark, just in case they want to come back inside. Many will continue to sleep in the RC for several nights.

    I only had two boys to release, and keep track of, but when the day came I released around 9:00 in the morning and literally sat in my backyard the entire day keeping track of where they went and playing with them. As I've said before, I didn't follow protocol and stop all interaction with them. I also don't have a major hawk problem here. My guys became much more savvy as time went on and seemed to learn even more from the wilds after released. They were in the RC for 2 mths and were probably 6 or 7 mths old when I released them. They did return to the RC to sleep for a few nights, though. They are still living in the oak tree that the RC sits under so they can get the breakfast buffet every morning.

    I wish you the best of luck. As long as your guys are old enough and spent enough time in the RC then there isn't much else you can do, but hope and pray and be visible for a few days to try and thwart any predators.

    Keep us updated, please.

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I thought about that, actually. Once I go outside, the locals will scatter. Since I plan on remaining outside to observe, they won't have to compete. Once I start my retreat, I'll be glued to the window and can make an appearance out the door to scatter them again if there's conflict.
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    You might want to wait to release till after the locals have eaten and moved on so there is less competition in the yard.

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  16. #9
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I'm with you in spirit. Just stay around to look out for them. .

    Funny you mention about hurricanes. I live in Florida as well and my boys had been released a few weeks last September when we had that hurricane approach in October. I got both my boys back into the RC and then transferred them to a large parrot cage so we could take them when we evacuated. They did fine. I also didn't re-release them after we returned until the electricity was back on because I thought the noise from the generators would freak them out.

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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Thank you for giving them such a special start in life

    It is always with tears in my eyes that I open the release cage and I have released over a 100. Wish it was an easier life for them...

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I wish your two squirrels all the best! I hope they live long and lucky!

    The adventures of Sir Max and Explorer Millie!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...e-the-Explorer!

    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    See the sisters Pip and Nip!
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...-(Pip-and-Nip)!

    “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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  22. #12
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Floridians unite! So if you're ever up Gainesville way, give me a shout (or anyone else!) and I'll treat you to lattes and pastries at my coffeehouse. We can talk squirrel and my staff can shake their heads at us and smile. They give me squirrel related presents all the time and post squirrel memes to my FB.
    The hurricane you're referring to was Michael, right? That one didn't impact us much at all here.
    Hermine was the hurricane that brought me into the rehab world. Well, THREW me in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I'm with you in spirit. Just stay around to look out for them. .

    Funny you mention about hurricanes. I live in Florida as well and my boys had been released a few weeks last September when we had that hurricane approach in October. I got both my boys back into the RC and then transferred them to a large parrot cage so we could take them when we evacuated. They did fine. I also didn't re-release them after we returned until the electricity was back on because I thought the noise from the generators would freak them out.

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  24. #13
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    How bout non Floridians? I love coffee. and I love talking squirrels

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  26. #14
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    I love and hate release day! Love it because I agree with you they deserve to be free and hate it because I can't protect them from harm. I, too, stay out all day in the backyard on release day trying to give them just a little extra protection. I don't care how long you have done this, every release day is just a little sad. Good luck and keep us posted.
    Marty
    Licensed MD Master Wildlife Rehabilitator
    Vice President, MD Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association

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  28. #15
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Even after 8 years of rehabbing and releasing
    these little monsters. I still stress and worry
    to no end.
    I spend most of the winter telling them I can't
    wait for the leaves to come so you can get out.
    So today I have three to move out side.....
    it'll take me all day to just make this simple move.
    Then after every excuse I can't possible come
    up with in a 4-5 weeks I'll finally open the release
    cage door and once again experience a squirrels
    total and complete joy of freedom playing in the
    trees.
    And even if their time of freedom to be a squirrel
    is cut short mother nature gave them a second
    chance at life and they got to grow up to be a
    real squirrel.
    To me it just never ever gets easier. They're
    my kids my babies.
    Scurry Central
    living and loving squirrel

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  30. #16
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Quote Originally Posted by redwuff View Post
    How bout non Floridians? I love coffee. and I love talking squirrels
    Non- Floridians are especially welcome! I have lots of space for you to stay and then we can both make the 2 1/2 hr drive to coffeeculturegvl's place in Gainesville. . Redwuff you're welcome to bring those beautiful black babies and release them here, so we can share the beauty of black Grays.

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  32. #17
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    That is an awesome set up for your babies! Here's hoping they stay close and safe. Sorry to hear about Blitz being taken by a hawk. I am just now getting to the point of being at peace with my little Grace being eaten by a RTH as my son and I were clearing trees downed by Hurricane Matthew and repairing our Horse fencing. What a helpless feeling seeing that happen. The takeaways for me are there is absolutely no way to keep a release safe from a Hawk's talons. I am convinced it is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also the way nature works. Grace lived a happy 7 or 8 months in our home and lived another 7 months as a big girl adult squirrel. The good news for us is our little Grace always stayed close and had 2 little beautiful babies of her own. They had left her nestbox about a month before the Hurricane (Grace was taken a couple of days after the storm) and have stayed close to our release cage area. We see them almost every day and I can see Grace in each of them. What a treat! Not trying to hijack your thread but I will post a link to our thread when we released Baby Grace. Lilidukes is right, it doesn't get any easier, we are putting our two overwinters in the RC tomorrow. Best of luck to you and don't be surprised when little abandoned babies start showing up at your house!

    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...overdue-update!!

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  34. #18
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Absolutely!!

    Quote Originally Posted by redwuff View Post
    How bout non Floridians? I love coffee. and I love talking squirrels

  35. #19
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Ooh! Black greys. They're beautiful. In Tallahassee, a former employee of mine sent me photos of an entire community of white/albino squirrels.

    And anyone is welcome, wherever you're from. Anytime. My shop is open 6am to 11pm and I just happen to have keys for any after hour coffee boosts, too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    Non- Floridians are especially welcome! I have lots of space for you to stay and then we can both make the 2 1/2 hr drive to coffeeculturegvl's place in Gainesville. . Redwuff you're welcome to bring those beautiful black babies and release them here, so we can share the beauty of black Grays.

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  37. #20
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    Default Re: Release Day Encouragement?

    Name:  IMG_0090.jpg
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Size:  126.8 KBSTILL haven't released. One of the hawks came around, screeching and zooming about right when I was going to open the porthole, like some kind of cruel delay tactic.
    I haven't heard it for about 30 minutes now, but it's 1:40pm and I don't know if it's too late in the day now or what. Is it?
    I'm trying to work up the courage.
    But I know they'll be so busy exploring, they won't be as attentive to danger. And it's out there. Flying around.

    ALSO, as a side note. I thought it might be helpful to share my RC construction "plans" on the board. Super cheap using repurposed materials, super sturdy, easily configured into may sizes and shapes. Can I, and which forum? Attaching photos of the RC and of two of my babies, Grayson and MineyMo, thinking I have treats for them...

    Oops. Photos sideways and upside down. Sorry!

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