Signs of spring include tiny birds on the ground, fawns hidden among brush and baby wildlife crossing roads all over Greater Victoria.
Wild parents move their young to different den, feeding and swimming sites this time of year, according to the BC SPCA, which reminds drivers, cyclists and trail users to be wary of young animals.
In Metchosin, the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) admitted 438 animals as a result of being hit by a car, or being orphaned due to vehicle collisions last year. In a bid to lower that number, Wild ARC took to social media to remind road users follow the speed limit, be aware of your surroundings – especially at dusk and dawn – and slow down if wildlife are on or near the road.
Wild ARC admitted its first baby hummingbird of the season in late March. Orphaned hummingbirds are often the first babies to arrive and require constant care, needing to be hand-fed every 10 minutes. This first of the year was a fledgling that had fallen out of the nest. Thankfully, after an exam, the little one was returned to its nest and reunited with its mother the same day, Wild ARC said.
Not all baby birds found on the ground need help, however, it’s normal for some to spend the first few weeks out of the nest. While they can’t fly, they hop and explore low branches while still being cared for by their parents. Fledglings are not very graceful and may move awkwardly.
Similarly a baby deer found alone isn’t always orphaned. For the first couple weeks of its life, fawns are too weak to keep up. If it’s quiet and peaceful, the young one is likely resting and awaiting its next meal.
The Metchosin rehab centre had 16 fawns come into care last May, the first month of fawning season that runs through July. All were in actual need of help.
Distress indicators include being in the same location longer than 24 hours and being mobile and crying. However, the latter could also be a response to a human approaching, so initial impressions are key.
Anyone who finds a wild animal in distress should contact the BC SPCA provincial call centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice.
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