Wildlife Rehabilitation

Hawk Creek Wildlife Center is one of New York State’s leading wildlife rehabilitation centers for native wildlife. Each year we have cared for as many as 500 injured and orphaned patients. Our ultimate goal in each of these cases is to release the patient back into the wild. Through the care and treatment of our native wildlife, we gain valuable insight into the environmental problems that are affecting both wildlife and man. The information that we learn in our “natural laboratory” is used in our education program. Our hope is to inspire a greater reverence for all living things, and to foster respect toward our natural environment, hopefully lessening man’s impact on this planet.

Hawk Creek takes in approximately 500 patients each year, 90% of which are birds. We specialize in raptors, waterfowl and wildcats. Expert veterinary care is provided by Dr. Matthew Dunaif, DVM, and Dr. Carl Tomaschke, DVM.

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Admitting Patients – What You Should Know

Thank you for considering bringing an animal to the Hawk Creek Wildlife Center (HCWC). Please read this information before leaving the animal with us.

Please click here to view and print a copy of our admission record. We ask that you fill out the boxed section at the top and bring the form with you to save time.

Who We Are:

The HCWC is a local charity dedicated to caring for injured and orphaned wildlife, and to wildlife education. When the animals are able to survive on their own, they are released back to the wild. The animals are cared for by trained staff and volunteers. All veterinary services are donated. All persons involved with HCWC have a concern for the humane treatment of animals.

We Are Licensed to Care for Wild Animals:

All wildlife is protected by federal and state law. NO PERSON IS ALLOWED TO KEEP A WILD ANIMAL WITHOUT A PERMIT FROM THE APPROPRIATE WILDLIFE AGENCY. HCWC operates under permits from the NYS Division of Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. HCWC must report the fate of each animal it receives to these agencies.

The Fate of the Animal You Bring to Us:

We operate with the assistance of local vets because we believe it is important to provide wild animals with professional standards of care. Each animal will be examined and its condition assessed. Each animal is fed, watered, and exercised as often as needed. It will be given surgery, x-rays, and medical diagnostic tests as needed. EVERY ANIMAL THAT RECOVERS IS RELEASED BACK TO THE WILD. When an animal is released, HCWC will determine when and where to release it. We may call upon your help again if we decide it is in the best interests of your animal to be released in its home territory. Some animals with permanent injuries are kept by HCWC to be used as foster parents for orphans or for education programs. No animals are kept as pets–it is illegal and wild animals do not adapt well to captivity. Some animals with permanent injuries do not adapt well to captivity either, and if this is the case the animal will be humanely euthanized. We cannot return the animal to you to keep. That would be a violation of the law.

The Limitations of What We Can Do for Some Animals:

We can promise that your animal(s) will receive compassionate care. We will do our best to return them to the wild, but sometimes animals are too ill to recover. No injured or sick animals can be easily captured or handled until it is near its end. To survive in the wild, animals must “appear” normal as long as possible to avoid be captured by predators. When an animal is weakened to the point that it can be captured, it is seriously sick or injured, even if it does not appear so to you. We presume all animals that arrive at our clinic to be in critical condition. The HCWC staff, volunteers and veterinarians will give every animal their best efforts, but some animals will still pass away.

We Must Have Your Financial Contributions to Survive:

HCWC is a local charity funded entirely by individual memberships and donations. HCWC receives NO taxpayer or other public funding for its work. Therefore, if we are to continue to help animals, we must receive contributions from persons who present animals to us. This will give you an idea of the costs for foods, medications and tests for some of our patients:

One orphaned killdeer (a young shorebird) which eats only live food stays with us for about 5 weeks at a cost of $35.

One orphaned robin cost around $20 to raise over 3-4 weeks.

A litter of orphaned opossums may cost as much as $50.

An injured hawk may cost $120 for a 4 week stay.

A sick great blue heron which eats only live or freshly killed fish will cost $100 for a 4 week stay.

HCWC admits hundreds of animals every year. We also have a year round cost to maintain over 100 educational animals and foster parents. If you look at the above costs (or ever tended a sick pet) you will understand how much we need your financial support.

Status Reports:

We have struggled with the issue of persons who wish to stop by or call our clinic for status reports since we began our operations. On the one hand, we understand how concerned someone is about the animal they brought to us. We feel the same way. But at our clinic we face the realities of answering 30-40 crisis calls each day in peak season, and admit nearly as many animals. We often have to choose whether to care for the animals and answer crisis calls, or stop and chat with someone who stops by or calls in to check up on “their” animal which they brought in several weeks earlier (on a date they do not remember). Therefore, we ask that you refrain from visiting so that we can have time to attend to more immediate crises. Our clinic is an emergency room and hospital for wild animals.

Like all hospitals, we need time to work and our patients need peace and quiet to recover. We hope that you understand this. The center is not open to the public except for private tours, and our hospital is not a part of tours. If you need to call to find out about a particular animal, please call a week or two later with the date and species. At that time we will be able to give you an accurate prognosis.

Thank You!!

You are a part of a growing number of people who share a commitment to saving wild animals and who believe that all animals deserve humane care in their time of need. You made a special effort to bring the animal to us; we will do our best to care for it. We urge you to consider donating some of your time to the wildlife conservation causes of your choice. You will learn a lot about helping our wild neighbors, and your life will be enriched by them. Contact us if you would like to learn more about conservation groups or volunteering at HCWC.

Donations can be sent to: Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, P.O. Box 662, East Aurora, NY 14052-0662

Or you can donate online!