2018 Year in Review: Brie Hashem, Wildlife Rehabilitator

It’s time to look back on 2018! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2018 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

It’s hard to pick the best part of working at The Wildlife Center: the animals or the people. Two dynamic duos, one animal and one human, made 2018 a memorable year for me.

Every wildlife rehabilitator has a bucket list of species they want to rehabilitate. While I’d been fortunate enough to treat injured adult mergansers, orphaned merganser ducklings had evaded me for more than seven years. That all changed on May 10 with the admission of Hooded Merganser #18-0742. She was dropped into the courtyard of my former townhouse complex by a hawk. Coincidence? I think not. After squealing with excitement, I quickly got to work developing a husbandry plan and contacting other permitted wildlife rehabilitators to find her a buddy. Since it took me seven years to receive a single merganser duckling, the probability of me receiving a second one the same year was low. With help from wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey, I found a female Wood Duckling. These species were a good match for one another since adult female Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducklings are brood parasites of each other, meaning they lay eggs in each other’s nests and the host parent raises the ducklings. We raised these two female ducklings together for two-and-a-half months before releasing them together.

Dr. Peach and I both started working at the Wildlife Center in 2016, but 2018 was the year of Team BP. We co-authored our first journal article on a novel treatment option for sarcoptic mange in Black Bears. Outside of work, we ran a half marathon and multiple smaller races together. I feel very lucky to conduct research that will hopefully help free-ranging Black Bears with one of my best friends. Finding a partner to dress up as gingerbread women for a Buddy the Elf three-mile run is an added bonus. #TeamBP #BearsPlease


Check out all of our year-in-review posts!