Winter – A hazardous time for wildlife

Press release

Indian summer is over and at Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care, “baby season” is done and our incoming patients are adults and juveniles. Juvenile birds must survive without help from their parents and, unless they are hibernating, young mammals must do the same.

Golden Eagle struck by a vehicle on Sherwin Summit. Photos courtesy of ESWC

For both young and adult, short days and bad weather increase the difficulty and dangers of hunting food and shelter.

Recently, an immature Red-shouldered Hawk was admitted, starving and unable to fly. Earlier in the week, a Golden Eagle collided with a car on Sherwin Grade while venturing into the highway after roadkill. A Great Blue Heron was rescued near Silver Lake, also suffering from emaciation. Most likely, the long-legged, long-winged bird was electrocuted when landing on a power pole during a wet and windy storm.

A Western Grebe, found stranded on a sidewalk in Mammoth, returned to his proper environment.

A young Ferruginous Hawk, a summer inhabitant of the treeless tundra, had an unfortunate encounter with barbed wire, a hazard she had never seen in the landscape where she was born. She is currently receiving care at ESWC.

Several calls have come into the Center concerning young and adult deer who suffered lethal collisions with vehicles. Grebes, loons, and coots, water birds migrating south, see stretches of pavement from the air. They mistake them for water‑‑a critical mistake because they can only achieve lift-off from a body of water. Stranded, they face starvation or predation. Following evauation by animal care staff, the lucky ones can be returned to the closest, proper-sized body of water to continue their journeys south.

Ferruginous Hawk arrives at Center following rescue by ESWC staff.

 

Human-wildlife encounters on highways can be dangerous for all participants. A collision with deer, bear, eagle, and others can cost the lives of people and animals alike.

Staying alert and watching for wildlife as well as vehicles can prevent accidents. Times to be most alert are at dawn and dusk.

Watch for birds stranded on roadsides or near parking lots. These migrating water birds mostly have long necks and webbed or lobed toes; legs are far back on the body and they often cannot stand up on land. These birds definitely need to be rescued so call ESWC at 760-872-1487 for advice and help.

 
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