I am not rehabbing fawns at this time. The nursery remodeling is a blessing, but it has put me about two months behind on my fawn enclosure. I don’t know if I will be able to finish in time fawn season this year. The DEP has rerquested that I not have fawns on the website until I am ready and have my permit.
It is now almost May and babies are coming in to rehab. The trickle will soon be a flood of babies, but hwere are all the baby squirrels? They start coming in as early as January. All of us rehabbers are checking with each other to see if anyone has gotten any baby squirrels yet? A few have come in, but that is all. Did the cold winter delay the spring babies? Will there be one long baby season instead of two this year? We will have to wait and see.
There are some other babies in rehab now so the nursery is not empty. I just received my third litter of baby raccoons. A couple of days ago I received a call about a fit kit that had just run into a garbage truck. I picked the little guy up and brought him home. His injuries are consistant with a head hit into the wheel of the truck. We had a rough day or two but he is doing much better today. I have a video oh him I will load soon so you can see him. Fox kits are absolutely adorable. As soon as he is healthy again, I will put him with the other two kits I have in the outside pen.
The four litters of baby bunnies were ready for release and went on thir way Tuesday. It looked like a little furry herd grazing on clover. I hoep you are enjoying the wonderful weather as much as they are!
Last weekend I was awakened by the ring of the hotline. It was 2:00 am. I am one of the few who answers the phone any time of the day or night. I answered the phone and was greeted by an anxious young woman in Alabama. She was driving home and came across a mother opossum who had just been hit by a car and the babies were running all over the road. She stopped and picked up as many as she could find and put them in a box. She had just gotten home with the babies and had no idea what to do. The nearest rehabber was over 3 hours away. She started calling people but noone answered. She then went on the web and found me. We talked until she calmed down enough to write down some instructions. I explained what she needed to do to keep the babies alive until she could get them to a rehabber. She thanked me profusely and I wished her good luck and thanked her for taking the time to save the babies. Yes, I lost some sleep but calls like these are why I answer the phone – any time – day or night.
Easter has come and gone and still no babies. This is the second year I can remember that I have not been inundated with babies on Easter Weekend. Some areas did not have a good mast crop last year (acorns and nuts) so many squirrels may not have survived the winter and there will be fewer babies this season. They will come. so the vigil continues. The baby raccoons are out-growing their nursery container, so they will move to something larger this weekend. Mr. Pidge is outside with his pals enjoying life.
I gave the first presentation of the season last week in Middlefield to an enthusiastic group of boy scouts.
The fawn enclosure is still waiting for the water to recede enough for me to pick up where I had to leave off last fall and finish before the fawns are born next month. I am still ordering supplies for the season so there is no shortage of things to do. Once babies start coming in, there is little time to do anything else so I am taking advantage of the extra few weeks. Stay tuned…
The anxious waiting is over! I just received a call to pick my first babies of the season, a litter of newborn raccoons. I will take some pictures as soon as I have stabilized them so you can see them. So much for sleeping at night until July.
The two opossums that I wintered over are now on their own. It took about a week for them to leave after I released them. They do love their food and they hated to leave those good meals. I am sure I will see them around the area from time to time.
I am sure all of you have heard about the virus that is killing bats. The DEP estimates that 80-90% of the states bats have died over the winter. That is very disturbing when you consider that they eat more than their weight of mosquitos in a night. What is just surfacing now is another problem. Migrating birds are just stopping in the state on their migration north. They stop to rest and eat, and they drop dead. The Pine Siskins are most suseptible so far. They picked up Salmonella down South. By the time they get here, they are so ill and exhausted, they simply drop dead. If you find dead birds at your feeders, contact Tufts or Audubon for instructions. Your feeders should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent the Salmonella from spreading.
A final note for the day, Mr. Pidge went outside to his new home yesterday. He now has 8 pigeon buddies and he looks very happy. He is able to fly, so he will be released in a week or two.
The weather was wonderful this past weekend. Thanks to a generous grant I will be able to finish the fawn enclosure in May, just in time for this year’s fawns. I will also be able to start the flight cage for baby and injured birds. It always seems that we wait for the babies after a long winter and then all of a sudden there is a flurry of activity and we are off and running at top speed for the rest of the season. New York rehabbers are just getting their first baby squirrels and we are usually a week or two behind them. Volunteers, get ready for a call.
On another happy note, Mr. Pidge is doing exceptionally well. He is ready to go outside in a flight cage so I can check his flying ability. He also has a home with Margaret, who has a flock of pigeons, when he is ready. She will watch over him and he will have a very happy home. It is the best of both worlds for him. He will be free while having an experienced rehabber like Margaret keeping an eye on him to make sure he has no further issues. He is one lucky guy!
The warm weather over the weekend has finally melted a good portion of snow. What a wonderful sight to look out and see half of my yard again. I even noticed daffodils peeping up through the leaves. Spring is almost upon us now. If you think I sound like I have cabin fever, you can understand how the wild animals feel. Food will be plentiful again and they won’t have to live in survival mode to stave off the cold. It is time to start thinking about having a family. It will be a little later baby season because of the extremely cold January we had, but all that is in the past and they are ready to go. Bears will be coming out of hibernation soon, so you might want to think about removing your bird feeders until they go to sleep in the fall. They always head for those sunflower seeds. The other thing you might want to try is to take the bird feeders down at night. That will work if you have a bear that only visits at night. Bears love skunk cabbage even more than sunflower seeds as odd as that sounds so they will head toward the bogs to enjoy a smelly meal. Enjoy the sunshine and the patter of those little feet!
Mr. Pidge as beaten the odds. He is now alert, walking around, eating and pooping up a storm. I removed his heating pad Thursday night. He is doing so well that he will go in a larger cage this weekend so I can evaluate him in a more natural environment. He still has a lot of healing to do and needs to gain some weight before he is released, but his recovery is amazing thus far. Good job Mr. Pidge!
We are still in Winter’s icy grip, but rehab season has begun. Someone was driving along in that cold rain snow mix yesterday when she suddenly spotted a bird in the road. As she drew closer, the bird didn’t move. When she got out to see if it was ok, she found that it was bleeding from injuries around it’s neck. It appeared to have been attacked by an animal. She couldn’t leave the poor bird there to die, so she grabbed a shirt from the car and wrapped the bird in it and took it to the car. After several calls, she called the Safe Haven hotline. Sundays are notorious for not having rehabbers answer the phones. We made arrangements to pick up the bird from her. An hour later, Mr. Pidge , a male pigeon, was in the nursery. He was cold and wet, bleeding and in shock. After stopping the bleeding and giving him something for the shock and pain, I settled him into a comfy carrier with some warm fleece and a heating pad to stabilize. It was up to him now. He greeted me every hour by peaking out from under the fleece. This morning he was not only alive, but alert and walking around. This is one sturdy guy! Keep your fingers crossed.
This line from a Christmas tune is one that rehabbers all over the country are singing now as we prepare our supply lists for the baby season which is almost upon us. We probably have Fedex and UPS running around in circles as we order our formula, syringes, nipples, heating pads, snuggle safes, heat lamps, bedding, meds, supplements, electrolytes, critical care formulas, nursery boxes, reptariums, colostrum, and the list goes on and on. Once supplies start arriving, the rush is on to sort everything and store each item in an appropriate spot. Why? We need to do this to save lives. The first thing we have to do when a baby comes in is to evaluate it’s condition. If it is critical, we have to deal with the most pressing problem immediately if we are to safe this little life. Once a baby is stable, we put it on a rehydration protocol just as soon as the baby’s body temperature is normal. Feeding a cold baby is disastrous. Once the baby is warm and hydrated, we start it on the proper formula and emaciation protocol. When the baby is eating formula and gaining weight, we can breathe a sigh of relief. This initial stage is not unlike an emergency room, hence the need to have everything right where we can get it quickly. Wasted minutes can mean death to a critical baby.
On a lighter note, our 2008 end-of-season newsletter is being mailed out now. We hope that you enjoy it, including some of last years’ baby pictures.
As the temperature moderates and the snow melts, you will undoubtedly start to see critters out and about. They will appear dazed and a little disoriented as they look around at a landscape that appears much different than what they saw when they went to sleep last fall. They aren’t sick. This will pass in short order and they will begin preparing for another year and in many cases, a new family. There isn’t much time as they prepare nests and dens for the babies that will be born soon. The ice storms over the winter will make finding the right tree for their dens and nests difficult for tree dwelling moms like squirrels, raccoons and porcupines. There will be signs of activity around a chosen tree before the babies are born. Observe the activity in the area for a few days to see if there is an expectant mom around. If you need to cut the tree down or otherwise disturb it, please try to wait until the babies are old enough for mom to take them out of the den. As much as I love babies, their moms can give them the best care and we all need to do what we can to keep the babies with her. Enjoy your critter watching!
As I look out over the white frozen Connecticut River with the sun shining brightly, it seems like a picture post card. It might seem like a quiet time for rehab, but that is far from the truth. Despite the cold and snow, the quiet time has passed. My day sare now spent getting the nursery ready, ordering supplies and getting that always too abundant paperwork organized and ready to go with Bill’s help. Soon the babies will be arriving. Bedding has generously been donated for the season, so that is one less thing I have to order. Fo The extreme cold this year could mean a later than normal baby season, but it is best to prepare for an early season. The two opossums I am wintering over just come out far enough out of the hay to show their noses and eyes when I feed them. They are waiting for spring as well. I am selecting seeds for a critter garden this year to help offset the cost of food for the babies. It is also better for them. Spring will be here soon.
A baby may need to be rescued:
- If the mother is known to be dead or has not returned to the babies in more than a few hours. If the babies have eyes closed the mother will not stay away for more than a few minutes, depending on species.
- If it is injured or has been attacked.
- If it is lying on its side, stretched out and cold.
- If the eyes are still closed and it is out of the nest.
- Don’t give water or food, including milk, which is especially deadly, to an injured or orphaned animal.
- Don’t leave pets or children outside when a fledgling is on the ground.
- Don’t cut a tree down without looking to see if there’s a squirrel
or bird’s nest in it.
- Don’t allow pets or children to disturb a rabbit’s nest.
Welcome to the new blog for our Safe Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. We will be posting information on new rescues and their care and treatment.
Please check back often for the latest happenings at our rehabilitation center!