The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, and baby animals are abundant – it must be spring! And Wildwoods knows it.
As the only Minnesota nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation organization of its kind north of the Twin Cities, Wildwoods is currently caring for 62 animals. Their goal is to help orphaned, sick and injured animals return to their natural lives and to serve as a resource for anyone who may find an animal in need.
But it’s not always about getting involved with wildlife. Wildwoods also works to educate people on ways to reduce human conflict with animals.
Should you find an animal in apparent distress, Wildwoods Volunteer and Event Coordinator Tara Smith says the best thing to do is call their organization to assess the situation. This is true year-round, but spring can be an especially busy time for calls.
Smith says baby rabbits are one of the most common calls they receive at Wildwoods, because mothers don’t stay with the nest 24/7.
“The main thing to know about rabbits is they only feed their babies at dusk and dawn, so you’re not going to see a mother,” she says. “Most of the time they’re fine.”
Smith says they’ll also be getting fawn calls anytime now, but she says 90 percent of the time there’s nothing to worry about.
“Baby fawns have these little tiny legs, and they can only go so far without getting tired,” she explains. “So moms go and graze. They park their babies because there’s no way they can follow them while their mom does all their foraging.”
In these cases, there is no need to assist the fawn.
Wildwoods also answers many calls about birds flying into windows in the spring, because of the northern migration. According to Smith, the best method is to put them in a small box in a quiet area for an hour or two.
“Usually they’ve just knocked the wind out of themselves and just need a little time to recover,” she says. “As long as you’re not seeing a wing that’s dragging or an obvious injury, that’s usually the best case.”
Many baby squirrels also come in during the spring. Smith says that’s because residents are usually cleaning up their yards this time of year.
“All of those little dried nest piles and leaves up in the trees have babies, and so we always ask people to be really careful when they’re cutting trees.”
If you’d like to avoid any run-ins with critters, she recommends cutting trees in the late fall instead.
Wildwoods is not funded by any government organization and relies heavily on the community for financial support, so they always appreciate our help. Visit their website to learn more about their organization and how to give back.