Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What to Do if You Find a Stray Bird, Squirrel, or Rabbit (Twin Cities)

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center MN
If you come across a stray or lost dog or cat in your area, it’s best to take the animal to your local shelter as soon as possible. But, what should you do if you find an orphaned or injured bird, squirrel or rabbit? It’s natural to feel compelled to help in these situations, but your local shelter may not have wildlife rehabilitators on staff.

If you're in the Twin Cities, call the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota at 651-486-9453

Squirrels
If you come across a baby squirrel, it is best to leave him alone unless he looks malnourished, dehydrated or covered in fleas. Those are usually signs the baby has been away from his mother for an extended time period. If the squirrel looks healthy, it's probably just going through its curious juvenile stage. However, if that squirrel isn't quite as perky the next time you see it, please bring it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. It needs help if it starts becoming lethargic.

Birds
In the fall, migration is underway and that means many new birds are visiting your yard. They are not as familiar with your house, and windows, as your resident chickadees, cardinals, etc. If a bird hits your window, read through this information before you bring it in (unless it's bleeding or its wing is bent back in which case you should just bring it in). This information might save you a trip.

Found a pigeon with colored leg bands hanging out in your yard? It's someone's pet. Because of that the center cannot admit it. If the bird is still there after several days, and you can capture the bird, write down the series of letters and numbers off the band(s). Call the Wildlife Center with that information and they can give you the contact info for the owner's club.

Rabbits
The main thing to remember when you uncover a nest of bunnies is leave them be. For just a few weeks re-arrange your activities to give them a chance to grow and leave the area. Once they've left you can fill in the slight depression the mother digs for the nest.

Also remember that you most likely will not see the mother rabbit on the nest with the young kits. To protect the location of the nest, she avoids the area; coming back only to briefly nurse the young at dawn and dusk.

If you have more questions, please visit the WRC's FAQ website here.

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