Have you noticed a flurry of activity in your backyard or in the trees around your home or maybe in the bushes along your fence? Yes, it’s that time of year when baby wildlife are making their appearance in the world, and we can help them to make the transition from nest to new normal.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, animal shelters, wildlife agencies, veterinarians, and even police stations across the country receive thousands of calls from people who have picked up what they assume to be orphaned and abandoned wild animals.
A Flurry of fledglings
Although some calls are for animals that are obviously in immediate danger, the vast majority of the calls are for young birds that have come out of nests as they normally fledge or are pushed out by high winds or nestmates. The wildlife agency suggests that if the young birds can hop and flutter about on their own, leave them alone. They are learning to fly and need some time and practice to figure it out.
“This principle applies to other animals including deer fawns, baby rabbits, raccoons, and opossums. Return the young one near to where it was found and where it won’t be threatened by predators.” The exception to this would be birds of prey such as hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons.
Because their nests are so high in trees, buildings, and other tall structures, it would be best to contact an agency that specializes in raptors. One such option in this area would be Raptor Recovery Nebraska located in Elmwood. The team specializes in raptors and nurses the birds back to health with the goal of releasing them back into their natural environment.
You have probably heard the myth that you should not touch a baby bird or the parents will smell your scent and not return. The Wildlife agency claims that the idea is completely false. However, if you must handle a bird or animal, use gloves, towels, a blanket, sheet, or tarp to protect you and the animal. Place in a padded box or crate that can be closed securely, keep it in a warm, quiet place until you can get it to help.
To the rescue
Once you have secured the baby critter, what do you do? Staff at the Beatrice Animal Shelter might refer you to the Wildlife Rescue Team, Inc. in Lincoln. WRT is a non-profit all volunteer-based organization that was created in 1979.
It is dedicated to the raising and rehabilitating of orphaned and injured wildlife from the state of Nebraska with the goal being to release them back into the wild.
The organization offers these tips on when to rescue an animal:
*When there is a lone baby/raccoon in the open or out during the day
*When a wild animal is presented to you by your pet
*When there is bleeding
*When you see an apparent or obvious broken limb
*If you find a featherless or nearly featherless bird on the ground
*When you see obvious shivering
*When you find evidence of a dead parent nearby
When you determine that your resident wildlife needs special attention, call Wildlife Rescue Team as quickly as possible at (402) 473-1951. Team members emphasize that the most important thing you can do for the animal is to keep it in a warm, dark, quiet place and transport it as quickly as possible via communication with WRT.
Speaking of backyard furry and feathered friends, don’t forget to fill your bird baths with fresh water on a regular basis…especially during these streaks of hot, muggy weather. And if you want to provide a special treat for your birds, get an oriole feeder and fill it with grape jelly. The orioles love it as do a number of other birds.
The Beatrice Animal Shelter is continuing to see a plethora of kittens and cats. Many of these feline friends have been transported to the two PetSmart stores in Lincoln and are ready for adoption. Many are in area foster care where they are growing and becoming socialized.
Recently, a caring mama cat found her way to the shelter…and she was determined to find a safe environment for her impending delivery. The long-haired tortoise-shell beauty kept trying to get into people’s homes where she could be out of the elements and away from predators. She’s one smart cookie!
Eventually, she was brought into the shelter as a stray…just in time. About 36 hours after her arrival, Miss Lucy gave birth to five healthy kittens. Mama and babies are doing well but would love to be in a foster home for these important first weeks. Lucy takes care of feeding the wee ones, and the shelter provides food and supplies and medical care for mama.
If you would like more information on fostering this feline family, call the shelter at 402-228-9100 during regular business hours. What a purr-fect idea!
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!