when the bough breaks…

Somewhere between two and three weeks ago, we went out and brought back our first squirrels of the season: fox squirrel pups, three of them. They were tiny, nearly hairless and had yet to open their eyes.

IMG_6526The call about them came from a friend in the Village of Continental. One of her neighbors was felling a tree damaged at some point over the winter. What came down with the tree, sadly, was an unnoticed squirrel’s nest and the three little beings inside it. Efforts were made to reunite the pups with their mother, but, again sadly, that didn’t work out. So now they’re here in Rowan’s very capable hands, getting the best that we can offer.

Ideally, though, infants will grow up with their own parents. So, without meaning to sound preachy, if you’re going to do tree work, particularly at this time of year, give a thought to the animals living in the tree in question. If you can, wait until the little ones, whether mammal or bird, have grown and left the nest.

On a different, but related, topic, if you happen to find an infant on the ground, do your best to reunite the little one and its parents. If it’s a mammal, keep an eye on it for up to 24 hours before making the choice to take it in. More often than not, one of the infant’s parents will rescue the little one. With birds, try to work out from which tree the nestling might have fallen. If you do, build another nest out of an old butter tub or some other suitable container and line it with paper towels. Drill holes in the bottom of the container to allow rain water to pass through and tack it to the tree as high as you can safely place it. Then, as with the mammal babies, keep an eye out for the bird’s parents. If you don’t see a parent caring for the nestling bird, then take it in, keep it warm and dry, but do not feed it, and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center to make arrangements for transport.

*A special thanks to Fox Valley Animal Nutrition, Inc., for all their efforts in creating the most effective milk replacement formulas for orphaned and injured wildlife.

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