Tips for summer from Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release
Special to The Union
It’s summertime, and that means the busy baby season has arrived for wildlife. Here are some tips for how you can help.
The operative word here is decorative. These should never be placed where birds may use them, or if you must place them outside, please plug the hole. These birdhouses do not have a clean-out door, and there is no easy way to access the interior of these houses.
A decorative birdhouse was recently brought into the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release Intake Center filled with baby wrens. First of all, the birdhouse was made of metal, and as it was 100 degrees out, imagine how hot it was inside this birdhouse. Also, there was a wasp’s nest in the top of the roof. Luckily, there were no wasps in it at the time it came into the center. It took Linda Adams, our expert songbird rehabber, at least 15 minutes to pry the top off this house to get to the seven baby birds inside. The mother bird had been killed by a cat, so the babies were very hungry and in need of hydration. Luckily, the finder brought them into us in time to give the birds the care needed.
Cats are the bane of wildlife and wildlife rehabbers everywhere. Cats are a domesticated animal, and as such will be much healthier and live much longer if not allowed to roam outdoors. Cats are responsible for the deaths of millions, if not billions, of birds a year, not to mention the babies of other critters such as foxes. A lot of people say, “Oh, but my cat doesn’t hurt the bird, it just catches it, brings it in to me, and then I let it go.” Well, sorry, but if a cat has had a bird in its mouth, and the bird is just let go, it will die a slow, lingering, painful death. A cat’s saliva has a substance in it that is extremely toxic to wildlife, and if the cat caught bird or animal is not given antibiotics immediately, it will most definitely die. If you want your cat to get fresh air, you can build or buy any number of cat runs or catios to let them be safely outdoors without being able to kill birds and other wildlife. And believe it or not, some people actually do take their cats for walks on a leash. That would depend on the cat.
Make sure you do not leave fishing line in trees or on the ground, where critters, especially birds, can get tangled in the line. We have had to rescue many birds who have been entangled in fishing line. One Canada Goose had to be put down, as the line had almost totally cut off one of his feet. We also rescued a Great-Horned Owl who suffered numerous abrasions from hanging from a tree. Luckily, we were able to save him.
Recently, some people who were out near an NID lake spotted a raven hanging from a tree. They did great work in cutting the limb the bird was hanging from, removing most of the fishing line, and bringing her into Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release. The raven still had some line attached to her foot which was cutting off circulation to her toes. We were able to remove the remaining fishing line, and hopefully the raven will soon be able to be released back to her family.
Have a safe summer everyone.
Karen Koskey is the Education Team chair for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release. For more information, visit http://www.CaWildlife911.org
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