The baby season started a little late this year for the hard-working volunteers at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center. But in the last month, there has been a wild baby boom. Some of the little critters currently being cared for at WERC are: 3 chickadees, 3 scrub jays, 3 opossums…happiness must come in threes….2 mourning doves, 2 mockingbirds, a yellow-billed magpie, a red-shouldered hawk, and just arrived, a downy nestling barn owl. All are thriving under WERC’s TLC, which includes feeding special diets according to the species and their age. Most nestling birds get fed a special passerine formula every half hour; the barn owl gets fed chopped rodents just like its parents would feed it.
Unfortunately, WERC has also received many baby birds that came too late to survive, often because the rescuer (illegally) fed it the wrong diet and kept it too long before transferring it to the experts at WERC. Other babies were fledglings that were out of the nest while learning to fly, but still being fed on the ground by their parents. This is the most dangerous time of their life—they are extremely vulnerable to injuries by attacks from cats and dogs on the prowl in the yard.