Spring and summer in Nebraska are punctuated with storms that can bring high winds, hail, and even tornadoes, all of which can affect wildlife. If you find animals on the ground after a storm or high winds, use these tips to do the best thing for the animal:
If the animal, adult or baby, is injured (broken wing or leg, bleeding, dragging its legs, etc.), call us at 402-234-2473 for help.
If baby squirrels are found on the ground under a tree but are not injured, warm them up and place them in a shallow box next to the tree and give the mom approximately 4 hours to find them and take them back to the next (daylight hours only). If she doesn't pick up her babies during that time, contact us for help. (Do not forget to warm them up and/or place a plastic bottle of warm water in the box with them! Baby animals can die if they get too cold!)
If baby birds are found on the ground under a tree and you can locate the nest, return the babies to the nest and watch from a distance to see if the parents return. If they do not, contact us. If the nest is destroyed, you can make a replacement nest out of a margarine container with holes poked in the bottom for drainage. Line the nest with paper towels and/or grass and staple it in the tree as close to the original nest site as possible. Watch from a distance for 3-5 hours to see if the parents return. If they do not, contact us. If you cannot locate the nest or nest site, keep the babies warm and contact us.
Adult birds can often suffer head trauma or broken wings/legs from hail and other falling debris. If you find an injured adult bird, please put it in a cardboard box and contact us.
With torrential rains, baby bunnies are sometimes flooded out of their shallow nests in the ground. If the water has receded and you can locate the original nest, dry and warm the bunnies and return them to their nest. Make a tic-tac-toe pattern of dental floss over the top of the nest and wait 24 hours to see if the mother returns. If the dental floss is moved by the next morning, the mother has returned and you don't need to do anything else. If the nest is undisturbed the next morning, contact us. Do not return cold bunnies to the nest without first warming them! If a bunny is injured, contact us.
Together we can help keep wild families together after storms. Thank you for caring!