Sunday, April 8, 2012
"Baskets for Birds."
Every spring nestling hawks and owls are brought to WildCare, humane societies and other rehab facilities. Some fall out of their nests; others are the victims of nest destruction through windstorms (like the EagleCrest nest), tree cutting and other causes. Unfortunately the best-equipped and intentioned humans cannot give these youngsters the time, attention and most importantly the vital skills necessary for survival that adult birds can.
In the spring of 2001 a group dedicated HOP volunteers, along with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, began a program called Baskets For Birds, in hopes of returning these birds to their original nests. So far we have reunited dozens of nestlings with adult raptors. In some instances they were put back into their own nests or placed in foster nests for other adults to raise. In the cases of destroyed nests we came up with the unique solution of wiring wicker baskets in the trees to act as a substitute homes.
To the left is a Great Horned Owl (GHO) baby that fell from a difficult to access area of the Dipsea Trail on Mt. Tamalpais. It took two visits to even find the tree that held the nest. Upon reaching the nest no other babies were found, so the GHO baby was left (with the help of Jim Cairnes of Small World Tree Service) and for several days the nest was monitored until there was definite evidence that parents were returning to care for their baby.
How to Rescue a Raptor—Delaware Valley Raptor Center
If you find a nestling raptor on the ground and feel it is in danger please contact the HOP hotline at 415-518-9670, or WildCare at 415-453-1000, or the Marin Humane Society at 415-883-4621.
If you are outside of the San Francisco Bay area contact your local wildlife hospital or humane society. Wild animals require specialized care and diets that can only be provided by licensed wildlife rehabilitation facilities. It is a violation of federal law to keep wildlife - however well intentioned. Please provide as much information as possible about the location of the found nestlings, including landmarks. In order to reunite the babies with their parents, we must place the new nest as close as possible to the original location and we must do so as quickly as possible. Removing a nestling from it's family is an absolute last resort and should only be done if the bird is in grave danger. Many nestlings will be on the ground during the fledging period and are still cared for by their parents.
With your help we hope to save even more nestling hawks and owls this year. What we need are sturdy baskets to serve as substitute nests, as well as money to hire professional tree climbers who can reach these difficult nest sites.
If you'd like to help, send your tax-deductible contribution to:
WildCare/Hungry Owl Project
179 The Alameda
San Anselmo, CA 94960