Looking back to spring of 2023, Wildcare Eastern Sierra staff, interns and volunteers recall small songbirds without feathers, baby ravens with red mouths encased by large black beaks, and young mammals with baby teeth and soft fur.
However, late cold and snow and constant wind delayed wildlife north of the Valley. Bird nests were ripped from trees and eves. Migrating birds were lost, blown astray. Northern birds struggled to survive while those in warmer areas were weaving nests and laying eggs. Production of young cold weather mammals (rabbits, skunks, squirrels, etc.) was minimized. Many died.
In the first 6 months of 2023, at Wildcare’s Center in Keough Hot Springs, over 170 avian patients were admitted. Rehabbers set up special cages for orphaned House Finches and House Sparrows, Downy Woodpeckers, Wood Ducks and Mallards, Common Ravens, American Crows, Robins, Swallows, baby Quail. Only a few mammals needed admission: Striped Skunk, Raccoon, Coyote, a couple of Little Brown Bats and 2 Cottontails. Many of the patients are continuing to develop; some have been released, others have died.
As I write, a Sierra Vista resident arrives with a naked House Finch baby in a shoe box; an orphaned duckling is on its way from Mammoth; a larger cage is being set up for the adolescent skunk. Plans are developing for releasing a Say’s Phoebe, three California ground squirrels, two American crows and a Magpie.
Wildcare Eastern Sierra’s Center is open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, seven days a week. If you find a wild creature (bird, mammal, reptile) that you think may need help, call us at 760-872-1487 for advice on how to help the animal in question. The finder can bring it to Wildcare at 800 Keough Hot Springs Road, Space 17-B. If unable to bring it to us, we will find a volunteer who may help by picking it up from you. We will give you directions on how to care for the patient (warm, dark, quiet) until we can arrange for someone to get it from you and bring it to the Center.