Patients of Many Species at WildCare

Patients of Many Species at WildCare

Peregrine Falcon Fledglings

2024 has been a banner year for young raptors at WildCare, including fledgling Peregrine Falcons! We have admitted and treated five of these extraordinary birds this summer. UPDATE: As we were writing this story, a sixth young Peregrine Falcon was admitted!

The bird in this photo came from downtown San Francisco. In his first foray out of his building-top nest, he got hit by a car! One of his siblings flew into a window, and another was found grounded on the city sidewalk. It's dangerous to be an urban raptor, especially a fledgling! Fortunately, all three of these young falcons recovered at WildCare, and they were successfully reunited with their parents.

The bird in the video below came from under a bridge, where every year, the falcon parents build their nest over the Bay. This is probably a very safe nesting location while the birds are still downy nestlings, but once it's time for them to fledge, they almost always end up in the water!

Fortunately, a team of raptor experts (including members of WildCare's Raptor Reunite Team!) take shifts in kayaks to watch for the young birds. Peregrine Falcons can swim fairly well, so it's not uncommon for one or more of the fledglings to successfully make his way to shore, but others end up too waterlogged or exhausted to complete the swim, or mud from the shore gets on their feathers, making it impossible to fly.

The youngster in the video managed his first flight from his bridge nest, only to crash into the window of a nearby condo! He has significant head trauma and the resulting neurological symptoms, but we hope he'll make a full recovery and be able to be returned to his parents and siblings for the next step in his development.

In the video below, you can see our team medicate the bird with an anti-inflammatory medication, and then offer him bits of food from tweezers, much as the parent falcons would do from their beaks.

The sixth Peregrine Falcon admitted to WildCare this season is from this same nest. She arrived at the Wildlife Hospital waterlogged and chilled (but still feisty!) after what was apparently a too-long swim. She has been placed on oxygen in a warm incubator to recover. An initial exam showed no actual injuries, but our team will take x-rays to confirm that this bird is healthy enough to be reunited with her parents.

Pygmy Nuthatch Nestlings

These tiny Pygmy Nuthatches were found on the ground under a palm tree. Something must have dislodged the nest, and sent these still-flightless babies crashing to the ground.

The intake notes at WildCare say that these two were very hot on intake (their fallen nest had landed in the sun) and they both had swelling and bruising on their abdomens from the fall.

Fortunately, after our team cooled them down, put them on oxygen and then offered a dextrose solution, the little birds started to breathe more easily. By the next day, they were gaping enthusiastically for their all-insect diet in WildCare's Birdroom.

These tiny insectivores will stay in care until they are old enough to be released back to the wild!

In the video below you can see our trained Medical Staff offering food from tweezers. Please do NOT attempt to feed or raise a baby bird on your own! Always bring any baby bird you find to WildCare or your nearest wildlife care center.

The feeding technique requires significant training, and if done incorrectly, can easily injure or even kill a nestling. These incredibly delicate baby birds require balanced nutrition, and they must be fed every 30 minutes from dawn to dusk at this age. Found a baby bird? Call WildCare's Hotline at 415-453-7383!

Virginia Opossum Family

This mother opossum was hit by a car and is suffering from head trauma. She's injured, but her marsupium, her pouch, protected her litter of baby opossums from harm. In this photo, one of the baby opossums receives a "well baby" check to confirm that his weight is increasing. The yellow color on his face is typical staining from inside the marsupium... once the young opossums exit the pouch and begin to ride on their mother's back, the color will disappear. 

The person who saw this opossum family on the side of the road called WildCare's Living with Wildlife Hotline 415-456-7283, and our Hotline staff instructed him to bring the whole family to WildCare together.

As long as it is safe for you to do so, WildCare suggests you check any hit-by-car opossum on the side of the road to check for living babies in her marsupium. If you find babies still alive, do not attempt to remove them from the pouch. Instead, do as this opossum family's rescuer did, and bring the whole family to WildCare or your closest wildlife care center.

Although the mother opossum continues to show symptoms of head trauma, she does a great job caring for her joeys. In the video below you can see her keeping them clean as they make their first forays out of the pouch to explore.

Note that there is no audio for this video. Special thanks to volunteer Alice Elegant for the use of her footage!

Red-winged Blackbird Nestlings

These orphaned Red-winged Blackbirds arrived at the Wildlife Hospital cold, thin, and covered with mites. How were they orphaned? For once, the situation isn't a mystery. These babies' nest was in a tree that was part of a "large tree shipment" from the Central Valley of California to a local nursery in Marin County! Clearly the tree was moved and placed on a truck when the parent birds were away, orphaning these babies, and their long journey hadn't been an easy one.

Fortunately, a worker at the Nursery knew to bring the cold and listless baby birds to WildCare, where the first priority was to warm them up. Unfortunately, one sibling didn't survive, but after more than an hour of concerted effort, the remaining two had recovered enough to start gaping for food.

Several days later, and these two have made a strong recovery! They will remain in care at WildCare until they are old enough to be released.

Please do not attempt to feed or raise a baby bird on your own... always call WildCare's Hotline 415-456-7283 if you find a baby bird that you think is orphaned!

The video below shows the baby Red-winged Blackbirds after several days in care, and they have made a full recovery.

In WildCare's Birdroom, similarly-aged baby birds may be housed together. This video shows our two Red-wings, a young Spotted Towhee, and a fledgling Brewer's Blackbird.