It is baby season at Elaine Conners Wildcare in Madison. Spring and early summer in New Hampshire means the arrival of newborn and newly-hatched wildlife. We are very busy with baby birds, baby squirrels, ducklings, goslings, crows, ravens and more. We also have many injured animals and birds coming in on a daily basis.
With the admission of so many young wild animals, we are looking for dedicated volunteers to help. If you have a love of wildlife and can commit to one shift per week for the summer, please call us. Volunteers must be 18 years of age and we provide the training. Should you wish to stay beyond the summer, we would love to have you year-round.
There are so many reasons to volunteer and one of them is transporting. We need volunteers almost every day to bring animals to us or to drive them to another facility. We recently helped rescue a loon that was beached in Ossipee and relayed it to a rehabber in Bridgton, Maine, who relayed it to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine, where it underwent chelation therapy and lavage to remove the lead. The loon has been in rehab for more than three weeks but he is ready to be returned to Ossipee Lake! Not all loons are as fortunate as this one and he has a mate patiently waiting. Volunteers are necessary to get the bird transported to the help it needed and back home again.
• Almost all animals that you find in or around your home have young at this time of year. To trap a wild animal and relocate it more than likely will remove the parent(s) from their babies. The youngsters will starve to death. There are alternatives to trapping and relocating: try placing a radio nearby or some ammonia. The goal is to make it uncomfortable for the mother or parents to be there and to move their family to another location.
• Please remember to be careful of turtles crossing the road. At this time of year, females are laying their eggs and are often seen in roads trying to get to a safe place or back to their territorial waters. If you see a turtle in the road, move it across the road in the direction in which it was traveling but please do not re-locate it. The turtle knows where it is going but they are extremely slow moving and often have to dodge heavy traffic. To re-locate a turtle means it will always try to get back to where it belonged so the best help is to move it to the side of the road in the direction she was headed.
• We have received calls of nestling songbirds and raptors on the ground. In most cases, this is normal. As the youngsters grow and develop, they become too big for the nest and move to the ground for the last few days prior to becoming flighted. The parents are still taking care of their young while they develop their flight skills. In most cases you will see the parents nearby, watching, vocalizing and feeding their young on the ground. If the baby bird is feathered and hopping around, it is a fledgling preparing for the next important stage of its life. If it is not in a safe place, simply place it on a branch or nearby bush and the parents will do the rest. Of course if it is injured, please call us.
• Deer fawn calls are coming in on a daily basis. To see a fawn alone is normal. The fawn, born without a scent, is actually safer from predators when left by itself. But it is at this time that problems arise for the fawns. Some people feel an obligation to intervene, thinking the fawn is lost or abandoned. Rarely is a fawn abandoned by its mother and never is it lost. Unless dead, the mother knows exactly where her fawn is and she remains within sight and sound. If you should see a fawn in the road, put it off to the side where the mother will return for it. Mother deer often leave their fawns next to gardens, in fields, by basement foundations and once, by a mail box! Again, this is normal behavior. She comes back two to three times per day to feed her fawn. For people to keep checking on the fawn may indeed lead her to abandon her youngster.
We would be happy to answer any questions you have about fawns or other wild animals.
Please call us. We are in need of helping hands so we can save and release as many of our patients as possible; we will appreciate your commitment to us and to them.
Cathie Gregg is the executive director of the Elaine Conners Center for Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Madison. From baby birds to infant squirrels, raptors to orphaned fawns, the non-profit center provides a safe haven for wildlife in need. For more information go to elaineconnerscenterforwildlife.org or call 603-367-9453 (WILD).