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Helping Drought Victims

The drought Texas is experiencing is one of the worst this state has ever seen. At the Wildlife Center, both mammals and birds are being brought in by the public in dehydrated and emaciated condition. There’s not much we can do to increase our chances of rain, but there are things we can do to help wildlife in their quest for survival during this extreme hot climate change. This article will look at what can be done to help different groups of animals. Birds Both baby and adult birds are greatly affected by the heat. The birds are either starving because their parents are struggling to find food, or the adults collapse from the traumatic heat stress they are enduring. The best way to help our native birds is to provide a water source for them to help endure these dire conditions. Generally speaking, a bird bath should be no more than 3” deep for birds. Change the water daily to avoid spreading disease. Do not chemicals to clean your birdbath. Just use a brush to scrub out any algae every few days. Weekly, you should rinse you freshly cleaned bird bath with a 10% solution of bleach and water. That’s just over 1 ½ ounces of bleach per gallon of water. Let the solution stand for a couple of minutes and rinse. This will kill parasites and bacteria. Place the birdbath near some small bushes or low cover. This makes them feel more secure and not out in the open and vulnerable to predators. It also allows them to have a place to fly to in order to preen their feathers after bathing. If possible, textured birdbaths such as concrete are preferred so birds [...]

Pileated Woodpecker – new video

There are few birds that are any flashier or eye-catching than a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) in flight. The Pileated Woodpecker is Texas’ largest woodpecker. The body is similar to that of a crow, but the wingspan is much greater. The coloration is predominately black, with a striking red crested head. The feathers underneath the wing are white as is the face. A black band across the eyes lends a rakish air. The beak is slate black and another band of black runs from the lower beak to the neck. Often there is a red cheek splash. Woody the Woodpecker is probably the best known example of his species. Many people believe Woody is a Red-headed Woodpecker, but his crest proudly announces he is a Pileated Woodpecker. In areas that are dominated with smaller woodpecker species, Red-headed or Red-bellied Woodpeckers are sometimes mistaken for the larger Pileated. Once spotted, they are impossible to forget or confuse with another bird. Mating begins in early spring as the male excavates a large nest with multiple entrances to attract a mate. Once mated, the pair will remain year-round protecting their territory. Juveniles and floaters are tolerated during the winter months. Both parents will sit the nest and will even retrieve fallen eggs. The ability to physically retrieve fallen eggs and by extrapolation newly hatched young is rare in birds. The nest will be utilized only once by the Pileated Woodpeckers. These abandoned cavities are a boon to many other species that utilize nest-cavities, but are unable to create them themselves. Even without seeing a Pileated Woodpecker, you can identify a pair’s territory by looking for square to rectangular holes of the nest cavity or [...]