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Rescues for Wildlife Babies in Full Swing Following String of Atmospheric River Storms

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Rescues for Wildlife Babies in Full Swing Following String of Atmospheric River Storms

It’s that time of year again when the WildCare Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in California is bustling with activity. Baby season is in full swing, but this year it’s running about a month late due to a series of atmospheric river storms that took a toll on wildlife into spring. The storms disrupted nests and caused an increase in patient intakes at the center. Animal Care Director Melanie Piazza explained, “When there are weather events, it can double or triple our patient intakes, so you get a really windy day or a storm and a squirrel nest that might not have been built the best, blows down and all the babies come down.”

The impact of the storms on wildlife has been significant. Late season storms last year pushed the start of baby season by almost a full month, and this year seems to be following suit. Piazza suspects that many babies did not survive the harsh weather conditions. The public plays a crucial role in rescuing these animals, as they bring in about 80% of the patients to WildCare.

One recent rescue involved a group of great horned owlets that fell victim to the tropical-storm-force winds from a late-season storm. Piazza and her team worked tirelessly to stabilize the birds and reunite them with their parents. The process involved locating the nest, setting up a rope system, and hoisting the babies back into the new basket nest. Piazza described it as a “thankless job,” but it was essential to ensure the survival of these young owlets.

WildCare is dedicated to rehabilitating animals with minimal human interaction so that they can be raised and trained by their own wild parents. This approach ensures that the animals learn essential life skills from their natural caregivers. Piazza emphasized the importance of not habituating animals to humans, especially in the case of bobcats, who must remain wary of humans for their own safety in the wild.

The work at WildCare extends beyond native animals. They are one of the few rescues that also takes in non-native species. Their goal is to fix the wrongs that have been done to these wild animals and give them a second chance at life in the wild. From rattlesnakes to songbirds and water birds to mountain lions, WildCare has seen about 200 different species of animals in their 22 years of operation.

Piazza offers some tips for anyone who finds an animal in danger or injured. It’s important to remember that most wild animals will steer clear of humans, so if you can approach and have contact with one, something might not be right. In such cases, it’s best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Additionally, it’s crucial not to feed injured animals without professional guidance, as the wrong food at the wrong time can be harmful.

The dedicated staff and volunteers at WildCare are working tirelessly to ensure that these wildlife babies have the best chance at survival. Their efforts, especially during baby season, are commendable. By fixing the wrongs done to these animals and providing them with the necessary care and rehabilitation, WildCare is playing a vital role in preserving and protecting California’s wildlife population.

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