Watch for Wildlife!
As Shelter-in-Place Restrictions Lift, Watch for Wildlife!
WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital has been incredibly busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. On just one day last week, we admitted 38 animals needing our care.
This is partially because people are home to see and rescue the animals that fall from nests, fly into windows, or get caught by cats. It’s also because people are doing yard and garden projects just at the moment that animals need our yards, trees and bushes to raise their young.
As shelter-in-place restrictions lift, WildCare anticipates seeing a further increase in Wildlife Hospital patients as human activity increases!
Please don’t let the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions become deadly for wildlife. Here are some ways you can help:
1. Drive more slowly and watch the road for animals.
Animals have become accustomed to less traffic and quieter roads.
Young animals born within the past three months have never even seen “normal” traffic patterns!
Please slow down and be ready to stop if an animal, used to crossing the street with ease, enters the road in front of you.
Animals accustomed to little or no traffic won’t be prepared to move as quickly, so don’t assume they will move out of your way in time.
2. Buildings have been empty, offering tempting places for nesting and denning.
Especially warehouses and industrial buildings, but also many retail spaces have been empty for months. Animals like birds, squirrels, raccoons, skunks and foxes may have found their way inside to have their babies.
Please be aware that animals may be inside, and please do everything you can to allow wildlife moms to safely raise their families. It will only be a matter of weeks before the young are old enough to move on. If you have birds nesting in eaves or on overhangs, please use other walkways or doors until the babies have fledged.
Call WildCare’s Hotline 415-456-7283 for assistance identifying a nesting or denning animal. Our wildlife experts can also help estimate the time the babies need to be old enough to allow you to safely encourage the family to move on.
Cavity-nesting species like the starlings in the video below are likely to nest in unattended buildings. These three fell from their nest and were very hypothermic and dehydrated when their rescuer brought them to the Wildlife Hospital. With proper care, they are now thriving, although the one on the left doesn’t seem to quite be clear on the concept of tweezer-feeding yet.
3. Hiking or biking? Watch the trail for animals like fledgling birds, slugs and lizards.
We have already seen an increase in the number of squashed Banana Slugs and lizards on the trails of local parks like China Camp. Please remember that these trails have been virtually empty of cyclists and hikers for months and animals got used to that. Ride and hike with care!
You may gently move uninjured animals off the trail if you see them (don’t use bare hands to touch slugs or amphibians like frogs, newts and salamanders for their safety) and bring injured animals to WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital.
Additional ways you can help wildlife:
1. Don’t use garden netting!
WildCare has seen a shocking increase in animals entangled in garden netting this spring.
Animals, especially snakes, get caught, cannot untangle themselves, and experience terrible injuries in their attempts to escape. WildCare strongly encourages people to not using garden netting, but if you do, you MUST check the netting in the morning and at dusk to make sure no animals have gotten entangled. Rolling the netting up and securing it with binder clips about a foot off the ground will help mitigate entanglements too. Immediately bring any entangled animals to WildCare, as entanglement injuries may not be immediately obvious. Any entangled animal needs to come to the Wildlife Hospital.
1. Cut the loops on your face mask before you throw it away.
Animals can become entangled in anything with a loop in it! Always snip plastic rings, like those on six-pack carriers, and snip the ear loops on your used face mask before discarding it too.
3. Delay major yard projects, non-emergency tree work and shrub pruning.
Please postpone non-emergency tree work and yard projects that disrupt shrubs and bushes (or woodpiles and brush piles where mammals might nest) to prevent accidentally orphaning wildlife!
Wait until resident animals have raised their broods, or even better, until nesting season is over in the fall.
If you think there might be wildlife at risk, please always call WildCare’s Living with Wildlife Hotline at 415-456-SAVE (7283)