This weeks featured “Site of the Week” is Irish Wildlife Matters: a fantastic online resource that outlines what you should do if you find injured or orphaned wildlife. The site offers advice, support and, crucially, a network of nationwide wildlife rehabilitation contacts.
At this time of year there tends to be a spike in the number of reports of orphaned, abandoned and injured animals and birds. That’s hardly surprising, as it’s the time when many young animals are venturing out for the first time, and fledgling birds are leaving the safety of their nests and learning to fly and forage for themselves. Because young birds and animals are only “learning the ropes” they’re more susceptible to accident, injury and attack by predators during this vulnerable period.
In the vast majority of cases when you find apparently orphaned wildlife it’s actually nothing of the sort. Many young animals and birds are rescued unnecessarily, often with disastrous consequences for the individual concerned. Unless there’s an obvious injury or immediate danger the best course of action is usually to leave well alone (other than perhaps shepherding the subject into the nearest cover if its out in the open). Observe quietly from a distance and you’ll almost always the parents will turn up.
It can be difficult to know what to do when we see a bird or animal that’s apparently in distress. Where do you turn for advice? Who do you contact? Are there wildlife rehabilitation experts in your area who can help?
Luckily there’s a fantastic Irish Wildlife Rescue website with general advice and step-by-step instructions that will help you assess the situation, decide if an animal actually needs your help, and tell you who to contact in your area for further advice and assistance.