What to do if you find a baby bird on the ground
He had a hard time coming out of his shell, but now he's the class favorite.
Generally, any animal that is brought into the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter by a member of the public is walked or carried past my office door. The modes of transport containers never cease to amaze me. Creatures of all sorts are conveyed in cardboard boxes, plastic totes, laundry baskets, blankets, milk crates and even the occasional shopping bag.
Given the number of kittens that we receive, when those containers go by, I expect to see little feline faces peering out from them. For those of you that have been paying attention to my updates on kitten numbers, we are now up to 283 taken in since April 16.
This past week, though, we’ve had a little added variety in our incoming animals as spring brings forth babies from the wild. We recently received a mother mallard with five adorable chicks in a big cardboard box. Mom has some sort of injury to her legs that we are all desperately hoping can be fixed. Her babies are beautiful and seem very healthy. Our local wildlife rehabilitator will take the duck for veterinary care and most probably will need to have the ducklings raised in a rehabilitation facility.
We’ve been getting baby birds nearly every day, many of which have fledglings that need not have been disturbed. Nearly all of the birds that we commonly find in our backyards are raising chicks right now, so it is normal to see fledglings on the ground trying to find their wings. Their parents will tend them even once they’ve fallen from the nest. They are generally down on the ground for a short time; it may be matter of hours or even a day or two. (Just as an example, baby robins grow to the size of their parents within two weeks of hatching! That is how quickly they grow and attain the ability to fly.)
Unless you feel that there is truly a threat to a fledgling on the ground, please leave it to its own devices. If you find a baby bird that you fear is in danger, call us before you interfere if at all possible. Keep in mind that birds cannot “smell” and their parents will not reject them if they have been touched by a human. You can return chicks to the nest if it is within reach without fear of rejection.
Tommy was born to live out his days in the desert. His life took an unexpected turn, and now he needs your help to make his golden years the best yet. Animalkind, USA TODAY
The rabbits and squirrel babies are also popping out of their nests. The same general rules apply to them as far as interfering. Baby rabbits are especially fragile and have a very low survival rate when they are separated from their mother; avoid disturbing their nests whenever possible.
Outside of the shelter, I have removed two box turtles and one painted turtle from the road in just the past few days. I was also too late for one turtle that I found mortally injured on the road over Willow Grove Lake.
Nature is on the move, so keep your eyes open for the turkeys, groundhogs, opossums, raccoons and all the other wonderful creatures with whom we share our communities. Remember to protect yourself and the animals by getting guidance before any interaction with wildlife. Feel free to call us at 856-691-1500 if you need advice or resources with wildlife issues.
When she saw this pit bull she knew they’d bond. They both know what it’s like to feel alone and out of place.
The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter seeks donations of kitten and cat chow, canned dog and cat food (pate style), cat litter, fabric softener sheets, AAA batteries, paper towels, and gift cards from grocery and pet supply stores.
Pets of the Week
Bullseye is an adorable young bull terrier mix. He is waiting and hoping for someone to love.
Brianne is a young pit bull terrier who is hoping to live happily ever after in a wonderful new home.
Juelz is an American bulldog mix who has been waiting a long time for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come along.
Benny is a great, big, lovable pit bull terrier who is ready to steal your heart.
Remi is a big sweetheart of a pit bull terrier with loads of love to give.
Starling is a young female pit bull terrier in need of a loving, consistent home. She is a great dog who just needs that special second chance.
Diamond is a very sweet, lovable, 4-year-old pit mix. She is well-mannered, attentive and smart. Diamond always gives you her paw when you tell her to sit. She is a really good dog who deserves a second chance.
Fred the lab makes a great babysitter. Wochit
Mystic is a sweet female kitten who loves stretches, cuddles and purrs.
Choo-choo was a returned adoption. This cat would do best in a home with no other cats. He is up-to-date on his shots, already neutered and combo tested negative.
Isabella has really come out of her shell. She’s a sweet, gentle cat. She’s pretty cute, too.
Matilda is a staff favorite. She’s super sweet and very talkative. This cat will keep you very good company.
Grizabella is only 2 years old. She is a long-hair tortoiseshell cat. Come in and meet her. You’ll fall in love.
Lawrence is about 6 months old. He’s a sweet, lovable and fun kitten who wants to be part of a family.
Mommy Kitty is done being a mommy and now just wants to be a cat. She wants to sleep on the couch, chase toys and get head rubs.
The Pets of the Week are just a few of the animals awaiting adoption at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter.
For information, visit southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org, send email to email@example.com, call (856) 691-1500 or visit the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter at 1244 N. Delsea Drive, Vineland.
Bev Greco is executive director of the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter
This dog really liked watching the royal wedding. Animalkind, USA TODAY