NYC's top wildlife rehabber may be shut down by suburban politics

The town of Oyster Bay wants to shut down Bobby Horvath, the wildlife rehabilitator you call when you’ve got a coyote, owl, hawk, or pelican problem in NYC.

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Return of the Fireman’s Squirrels

Squirrels on a hot day

The only real problem with having them is that they are so cute and distracting. Though, there have been regular escapes and safaris around the apartment, which haven’t been much fun, at least for me.

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5 Squirrels Off to New Homes with 2 Firemen

squirrel says goodbye

The Horvaths take Mickey

All five of my squrrels left home Wednesday night for their future permanent homes. Oddly, they all went home with firemen, but through different circumstances. No squirrel cooperated in any way with the move.

Mickey, the curiously tame black squirrel from Queens who suffered from malocclusion, is going to live permanently with Bobby and Cathy Horvath. Bobby’s a fireman and Cathy’s a cop and together they are a de facto wildlife squad for New York City and it suburbs. The Horvaths are the city’s big hawk experts and they also handle just generally the difficult and weird cases that no city agency expected to encounter, like wandering coywolves or pet lynx. They showed up with an SUV full of raptors after giving a demonstration to NYC Audubon in Central Park.

Mickey loves avocado. Everyone loves Mickey.

A friend of Bobby’s, Peter Richter, was the one who brought Mickey in. Peter is a hawk photographer who keeps an eye on nests for Bobby, so he knows when juveniles are likely to take their first wobbly flight onto urban greenspace, only to meet a panicked public, who calls the cops. The other fireman, Ralph Longo, rescued three baby squirrels from a car fire he put out in Queens. He saw them squirming in a nest near the fire. Two were burned, one badly enough to lose three back claws. This third one, Benji, I told Ralph, was especially sweet and gentle, probably because I’d

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FDNY Saves Three Baby Squirrels

Yesterday Queens fireman Ralph Longo, was putting out a car fire and through all the smoke and fire extinguisher fog, he saw something tiny and gray move . He found four baby squirrels and pulled them out of the wreck.

One of the babies died, but the men at the Ladder 129 washed the three squirrel survivors and put them in a box with papertowels. Longo looked at the list of New York state wildlife rehabbers and called me. Then, after working all day Longo drove into Manhattan and with his girlfriend, dropped them off with me. All in all a nice piece of rescuing by the FDNY. Is there anything these guys don’t do?

Firefighter Longo and his girlfriend feed a rescued squirrel

Two have slight burns. The one boy has it the worst: a burned spot on his tail and singed whiskers. Longo’s girlfriend specializes in the care of human burn victims and mentioned that when they see a person with burnt eyebrows, they assume there’s been smoke inhalation. One of the two sisters has a burnt paw. But, they all seem healthy. They have fur, but they’re eyes are still closed, so I’d guess they’re about four weeks old. They have diarrhea–not unusual after a diet change. I put them in a cat carrier over a heating pad overnight. They were scrambling all around until I put them in this Easter basket-like box. They settled down to snuggle in these Anne Geddes-like pose.


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