Whew…It’s been nuts at the Wildlife Center (pun intended) It’s been a busy Spring…and the flood of baby birds hasn’t even started. Yes, there has been a few birds here and there, but the vast majority of admissions have been squirrels and opossums. During the last couple of months the Wildlife Center has taken in over 160 squirrels and a similar number of opossums. Many of these admissions have been so young that they couldn’t make it through the night without a supplemental feeding. These “pinkies” spent time with off-site rehabilitators or went home each night with a staff member. While opossums have babies almost year-round, squirrels have two distinct seasons. So we should be getting a break soon….at least with the squirrels. The oldest squirrels are moving to soft-release cages where they will stay a month or so before they are released back into the wild.
Both birds and mammals are very time consuming, but in very different ways. Birds require frequent feeding, as often as every half hour….but it takes a short amount of time per baby. Most will present an open mouth for stuffing with food, but some species don’t “gape” and others require tube feeding. All things considered baby birds are easy but demanding. Mammals take much more time per animal, but once past the “pinkie” stage (newborn, no hair, pink coloring) they only need to be fed every three or four hours. Each species of mammal requires species specific formula and feeding techniques that require close training and initial supervision.
Please let people know that you are connected with the Wildlife Center, it is very important that we provide guidance with respect to orphaned and injured wild animals. It is also important for us (and the animals) that the public knows it is illegal to raise or care for almost every species of wild animal without the proper permits.