Baby birds and what to do with them
A few weeks ago, a baby hawk was found hopping around outside of the old Douglas County Courthouse.
Some of the people working in the assessor’s office were unsure what to do, since they didn’t see him flying and he looked to be pretty young.
“He kind of floated but never got any real height,” said Vicky Phillips, one of the ladies who helped the bird.
They called Neil Bishop, who helps take care of birds as a hobby, and is part of the Wild Animal Infirmary for Nevada.
Once Bishop picked up the hawk, he was able to feed it a few pieces of liver and he drank a little water.
“He was pretty starved and dehydrated, but he has perked up and now it looks like he will be OK,” said Bishop.
Bishop and Nancy Laird have helped birds all over Northern Nevada who are orphaned, injured or too young to be away from their mom.
Bishop started caring about birds after he saw a pigeon with both of its legs paralyzed hanging out in a bush.
“I felt sorry for him and I picked him up,” said Bishop. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Once they rescue a bird, they nurse it back to health and put it in a cage with other birds of its type so it can learn to hunt.
Bishop and Laird start out by putting white mice in the cages, and then once the birds are skilled at hunting they progress to brown mice and other prey they would actually find in the wild.
If you find an injured bird, Bishop recommends corralling it into a corner or a box and keeping an eye on it while you call for help.
If you call animal control, they will dispatch to the closest person able to help the animal.
They are currently helping 14 Great Horned owl, six barn owls, four hawks, some eagles, chukars and quails.
If you find a baby bird and think you can take care of it until someone can help, Bishop recommends finding a spot to keep it warm.
Find a place with a heating pad, hand warmers, washrags and you have to feed the baby every 3-4 hours.
If you are unsure what to do, just call animal control to get help.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife would also like to remind people to be cautious when finding an animal they think might be abandoned, like a baby deer.
“Just because you cannot see mom does not mean she is very far away. In fact, she may be just inside those trees behind the house watching you the whole time,” said Kim Toulouse, conservation educator for NDOW. “She will be back.”
The fawn will often stay as still as possible while the mother goes off to feed.
NDOW recommends that you just leave wildlife alone. It is better not to interfere.
“Odds are that sometime in the late evening or early morning, mom will retrieve and feed the fawn, and they will probably find a new hiding place,” said Toulouse. “If you are truly concerned, don’t hesitate to give us a call. But otherwise, let nature run its course.”