Rescuing Wildlife in the Wake of Storms Baby Season in Full Swing, You Should See Here

Rescuing Wildlife in the Wake of Storms: Baby Season in Full Swing, You Should See Here

DEBARYLIFE – As lingering winter storms and spring yard cleanup destroy nests, it’s all hands on deck and volunteers all day at the WildCare Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in California this baby season.

Melanie Piazza, director of animal care, said, “We get really screwed up by the weather.”

“Welcome to a really windy day or windy storm, where a squirrel nest that may not have been constructed to code blows down and all the babies come down,” Piazza said. “Weather events can double or triple our patient intakes.”

“The same is true for birds on exceptionally windy or extremely rainy days. The nest’s babies are blown out of the tree. That is the norm.

Late-season storms may have killed early-season babies, according to WildCare.
This year’s baby season is starting about a month later than usual because of a string of atmospheric river storms that damaged wildlife well into April.

Every year, 60–70% of WildCare’s 3,500 patients are seen between March and August.

The hospital admitted 34 patients last Thursday, with 15 of them being starlings from the same nest, signaling the start of baby season.

Employees may see one or no intakes per day in December.

Although Piazza observed an increase in patients during the storms, there wasn’t a significant inflow of newborns until last week.

We saw a particularly strong band of storms that passed through repeatedly, especially last year. Piazza, who is witnessing the same phenomena this year, stated that it “pushed our baby season start out by almost a full month.”

Thus, our hypothesis is that many infants perished as a result. They just failed if their nest fell apart. Additionally, many didn’t venture outside to find them due to the awful weather for a long number of days.

Approximately 80% of patients are referrals from the general population.

Rescuing Wildlife in the Wake of Storms Baby Season in Full Swing, You Should See Here (1)

WildCare is a rare rescue that accepts creatures that are not native to the area.

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After a late-season storm in mid-April, she and her crew successfully rehomed a group of three great horned owlets that were struck by hurricane-force winds.

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With a little assistance from Piazza, one of the young hunters who would someday be dubbed a “tiger of the sky” is shown in the video above.

To help the bird grow stronger and be able to survive its return to the wild, she is hand-feeding it bits of mice.

The great horned owl, according to her, moves into the abandoned nests of other animals instead of building their own.

The reason for this is that they are often dilapidated and lack structural integrity. The nest wasn’t doing well to begin with, so half of it collapsed during the windstorm event that affected these kids, the speaker explained.

Consequently, two babies fell out.

Rescuing Wildlife in the Wake of Storms Baby Season in Full Swing, You Should See Here (2)

After falling 40 feet, one infant did not make it.

But to save the others, she organized the Raptor Reunite Team.

She started by calming the birds and making sure they were unharmed.

She then dispatched a rescuer up the tree to get the one infant that had managed to stay in the nest during the storm that had brought winds and freezing rain.

The task of rearing the child again fell to the parents four or five days later.

“Our team of volunteers searches the areas where baby hawks and owls are found, looking for nests and checking to see if the mother and father are still there,” Piazza explained.

To get the chicks back in the nest, our volunteer arborist will go outside, rig up the rope system, and climb up after we have located it.

These nests needed to be replaced.

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The staff worked incredibly hard to bring the family back together, as seen in the photographs below.

Images show the pair of owls getting back together as well as the lone owl.

“We lifted the babies and put them in the new basket nest,” Piazza recalled. “And throughout the entire time, Mom and Dad were there, hooting and dive-bombing him (the arborist).”

It’s undeniably an unappreciated job. Our scouting volunteers returned the last two nights and saw that both the parents were still watching over the nest in the new basket.

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She clarified that the common misconception is that parents reject their young because they smell like people. It is quite rare for parents to desert their nest or a healthy youngling.

She admitted that while her parents are the best, “we are good at what we do.”

Therefore, each animal that is brought in undergoes minimal human interaction during rehabilitation to prepare it for training and raising by its natural parents.

The hospital personnel and volunteers teach life skills to babies who are injured or orphaned and require extended stays.

To make sure the animals don’t grow accustomed to seeing people, they take extreme measures.

“Those guys can get used to situations very quickly, such as when we’re rearing a baby bobcat. Of course, we would not have succeeded if we had a bobcat that gets along with people. Additionally, you are unable to release them since you do not want them to come into contact with people in the wild,” Piazza said.

Thus, we disguise ourselves by donning ghillie (camouflage) outfits. It’s not fun, but we have to cover up. You rub the straw they urinate in on your ghillie suit to make yourself smell more like a bobcat than a human.

There isn’t any chatting to the animals, no identifying, and no snuggling. As the owlets are being fed, staff and volunteers duck behind a taxidermied spotted owl.

To teach the owl how to hunt, when the time comes, they send it to an aviary called “mouse school,” where staff members release real mice.

Thus, we enable them to acquire the ability to fly and locate food on their own. They are then put back into the wild after they can accomplish that, feed themselves, and acquire the survival skills necessary for them, the speaker stated.

“And depending on the species, that takes weeks or months.”

Since their nest was destroyed, the 15 starlings that heralded the start of the baby season now have to learn how to hunt insects from an aviary.

The portion of the trunk hiding the nest was removed by workers cutting down trees in preparation for fighting wildfires.

Over her 22 years at WildCare, she has observed around 200 different species of animals, including mountain lions, songbirds, and water birds.

We are making amends for the wrongs done to these untamed creatures. She continued, “And we’re attempting to offer them another chance at life in the wild.

We will therefore provide the same degree of care, regardless of the patient’s species—whether it be a pigeon or the uncommon spotted owl—because it is the proper thing to do.

She offers some advice to anyone who comes across an animal that appears to be abandoned, hurt, or in danger.

Considering that most wild animals will avoid interaction with humans, she stated, “If you can approach and have contact with, pick up a wild animal, something might not be right.”

You ought to speak with a wildlife rehabilitator, then.

Don’t give them any food; instead, put them in a warm, quiet, and dark place like a closet, bathroom, or cat cage.

When fed to an injured animal at the wrong time, it might become fatal.

If you have a picture of an animal, SMS it to your local wildlife center, and the trained experts there can advise whether it should be brought back or brought inside.

Piazza, for instance, claims to witness a large number of “kidnapped” deer annually.

During the day, when the fawn is fed, the parent will hide her and return hours later.

A kind-hearted person believes the deer is an orphan during that period.

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