Peggy Farr is a volunteer and board member of Wildwoods and works in human health care.
Wildwoods is a 501(c)(3) wildlife rehabilitation organization in Duluth. For information on how you can help wildlife, including volunteer opportunities, visit wildwoodsrehab.org, call (218) 491-3604 or write to P.O. Box 3161, Duluth, MN 55803.
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- 2 years 1 month
One August day Sandy, a Duluth resident, got a phone call from her friend, Chuck, at the repair shop. Like Sandy, Chuck loved animals and he had a problem that Sandy might help him solve. That morning he had found four baby birds on the ground.
Have you ever rescued an orphaned wild animal? Then you probably know how easy it is to become emotionally attached. Adorable and helpless, these orphans bring out the best in us, our desire to nurture, protect and love.
At Wildwoods, we're currently swamped with baby wild animals of every description. We're also getting many calls every day about baby birds on the ground. Most of these babies are fine. Sometimes a baby bird on the ground needs your help. Often they are going through a normal stage of development and human "help" interferes with this. How can you know?
On May 30, Bonnie and Dave Lundberg were going about their usual chores at their house on the lake. That morning, two loons called incessantly back and forth. So much calling was unusual for that time of day and one of the loons sounded close. One of the calls seemed to be coming from the woods behind the house. When Bonnie went looking, she found an adult loon stranded on the ground in the woods, at least 250 feet from the water. The helpless loon was panting with distress. And she had a little loon-ling nestled on her back!
Orphan season is underway and we're getting lots of calls about baby squirrels and baby bunnies. And now, for an intense two to three weeks, these phone calls will mostly be fawn calls: "I found a baby deer and he's all alone! Is he abandoned? What should I do?" Let's walk through some information and various scenarios together so you'll be prepared.
It's spring and you're enjoying the nice weather, working in the yard. Perhaps you're raking, mowing or getting the garden ready when you disturb a patch of dead grass. And underneath that little clump of dead grass you find a nest of tiny baby bunnies. Your reaction may be, "Are they OK? Now that I've disturbed the nest, have I scared off the mom for good? What should I do?" You may also wonder, "What about my dog? Will he find these little guys and snack on them? It's his yard, too, and I can't just keep him cooped up indoors."
Spring is the beginning of the busiest part of Wildwoods' year: orphan season. Baby cottontails are already huddled in their nests with their nervous mothers visiting only twice a day, around dawn and dusk, to offer them two large feedings of very rich milk. Young bunnies mature quickly and will be out on their own in just a few weeks. Squirrels have already had the first of their two spring and summer litters. Young squirrels mature more slowly than bunnies and won't be out on their own until midsummer.
Once upon a time, there was a couple who loved animals. One day while visiting another city they found an injured bird starving on the ground. They took him to a local vet, who checked him over and did initial emergency care. The vet assured the couple that with proper care, the bird would make a full recovery and return to the wild. The vet then gave the bird to a local wildlife rehabilitator to shepherd him through his recovery and release. Delighted, the couple made a donation for the bird's care and returned home.
On Feb. 13, Brian and Sandra Grzesiak and their son, Tyler, were on their way to Lake Winnibigoshish to go ice fishing for a few days. Just east of Grand Rapids, they spotted movement off the side of the road. It was a bald eagle, clearly wounded. Every time a car or truck passed by, the eagle flopped about, scared but unable to fly.