Compassion versus Intelligence

I believe that most people truly want to be helpful when they find an animal in the wild or even in their neighborhood and will do what they can to assist. However, it really is best to contact experts and let them advise you or handle the issue.

Some years ago, the office building where I worked had a problem with raccoons getting into the crawl space between floors. Early one morning, the first person into the office found a raccoon in the break room. The creature was too heavy for the ceiling panels, and had fallen into our space. The kind lady who discovered him decided to get a box and corner this adorable critter so she could take him outside. I bet you know what happened. The raccoon bit her, had to be destroyed, and she had to start shots for rabies. Just devastated her, when all she had to do was wait for animal services to arrive.

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People call me all the time when they find a baby bird that has fallen out of its nest, and they are usually insulted when I tell them to leave the chick alone. Watch for a day to see if the parents are feeding it or not. Make sure it is safe from cats and other predators. If there is predator danger or if the parents do not come around after some time, then you might want to pick up the bird and take it to somewhere like Project Wildlife in San Diego. Feeding a baby bird is tricky, and what to feed it depends on correct identification of the species. Getting formula into its lungs is a death sentence for a chick.

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And don’t worry about touching a bird if you can put it back in its nest. It’s not true that the parents will smell human on the baby and abandon it. The urge to feed that gaping mouth is too strong. Also we don’t use birds to track things by scent. Their eyes and ears are much better than their nose. I mean, have you smelled a nest box after the chicks have all fledged? It’s a blessing to the hen to have less sense of smell than a blood hound.

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Quick tip for the week, if you have an owl box or want to put one up on your property, go for it! Owls make really good neighbors. Just be sure the box gets a coating of some kind of insecticide inside on the ceiling. Otherwise bees will colonize the box, and the owls will move on.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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