Help Care for Orphaned Wildlife and Birds Harmed By Oil

Help Care for Orphaned Wildlife and Birds Harmed By Oil

One young bird was pulled away from its family by a dog. Six others lost their parents as the family navigated around speeding cars. With your help, we’re lending a hand to the organization where these birds ended up.

Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Valparaiso, Indiana, takes in about 150 different species each year, which require enclosures with environments suited to them. Some of these animals come from more terrestrial areas, while others arrive from the shores of neighboring Lake Michigan. They all have the same goal, though: Getting the care they need to be released back into the wild.

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In June, we’re partnering with Humane Indiana Wildlife and Greater Good Charities on a Rescue Rebuild project to put up three new 19’ x 4’ x 8’ enclosures. They will provide a 2’ predator protection on the bottom to keep ground birds safe. One of these enclosures will also include sand for shorebirds, and a new waterline will be run out to all three to better clean the spaces and provide water to the animals.


As part of the project, we’re also renovating four existing enclosures by repairing their wire and roofs. This will ensure a safe, secure place for the wildlife that come into the center to regain their footing, while they prepare to venture back where they belong: In the wild.

This work helps animals like a sandhill crane colt who was torn from his parents by a dog and was lost without his family.

 width= Photo: Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

The center says he was inconsolable in his enclosure until staff procured a taxidermy crane to keep him company and ease his anxiety. It worked quite well.

They add, “We are SO excited to share with you our crane colt and his new 'mom'!! This youngster went from crying ALL DAY to confidently walking around in his enclosure and remaining calm and quiet. The colt and his 'mom' have been moved outside (in a weather protected enclosure so as not to ruin 'mom') so the colt has more room to roam, explore, and build his strength! We look forward to watching him grow over the coming months until he matches mom's size!! As this crane grows he will continue to eat mountains of invertebrates, mice, and grains while in our care. For such a young bird, he consumes a LOT of food!”

 width= Photo: Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

This kiddo isn’t the only one your support will be helping. There was also a group of six trumpeter swan cygnets that needed help after their parents fled when the family got trapped on a busy highway. The center couldn’t reunite these babies with their parents, so they were tasked with raising them.

This is no small feat, as trumpeter swans are endangered in Indiana, and the first successful hatching of an offspring in modern birdwatching records was observed in the state just seven years ago.

The rescue explains, “With clutch sizes typically being 4-5 eggs, we are fortunate to have SIX healthy cygnets in our care. We have notified Indiana DNR of their presence in our facility and look forward to giving them a second chance at a wild life.”

 width= Photo: Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

It isn’t just young animals that require care, though. There are also older birds impacted by human activities, like this common merganser that became trapped in oil and was swiftly sent to Humane Indiana Wildlife by concerned plant workers.

When animals become covered in oil, there’s a tricky procedure to clean them up. If the oil isn’t cleared off, feathers can become clogged and lose their natural waterproofing, the birds may drown due to reduced buoyancy, and they can get ill by ingesting the oil while trying to clean it off.

To care for these birds, several scrubs with water and Dawn dish soap are required, as are specialized rinses and drying procedures. There’s further work after that, too.

 width= Photo: Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

The center says, “The bird is tube-fed a nutritious food mixture to assure proper nourishment, plenty of fluids and vitamins, and is allowed free access to food. Its progress is carefully monitored by rehabilitation personnel to assure continuing health and safety.”

With your help, we’re building the space oil-covered birds like this – and abandoned young - need. If you’d like to contribute further, click below!

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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