Wildlife rehab center receiving more calls as temperatures rise

Updated: Jun. 20, 2017 at 6:13 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Wildlife Center has received more than 200 calls from southern Arizona residents with concerns about birds and mammals that they are finding near their homes and at work.

According to a news release from TWC they are the only facility in southern AZ that is equipped to handle a large volume of animals. TWC volunteers only take in about a dozen or so animals a day during normal summer weather, but with the higher temperatures staff has been seeing nearly three times the normal input.

Many of the calls are related to swimming pools as the animals try to cool off. According to TWC this week alone there have been five pool-related calls with three animals drowning and two surviving.  The survivors are now in the care of TWC.

It was at this same time last year that TWC received an increase in calls about Cooper's hawks falling or leaping from their nests due to the higher than normal temperatures.  According to TWC in a four-day period in 2016 they received more than 2,000 phone calls and took in some 200 young hawks.  The birds were re-nested after they received care at TWC's animal hospital.

June is normally when these young Cooper's hawks leave their nests, as they learn to fly and 'fend' for themselves. The adult birds are generally close by to keep an eye on their young.

"This is the fledgling stage of raptor development," said Lou Rae Whitehead, animal care supervisor at Tucson Wildlife Center, in the release. "This is a very important stage, because they are learning to fly and hunt. They have all their feathers, with very little white fuzz left. At this stage, they can be seen on the ground, under cars or sitting on a fence, balcony, car, rock, shrub or even lawn furniture. Often they are not afraid of people. Their parents are around, but not often seen. It is imperative to their survival that the young raptors learn to hunt for themselves, so no matter how well-meaning, people should never feed them."

Instead, Whitehead recommends, for mammals and raptors – which are birds of prey, that include eagles, hawks, falcons and owls – people can put out shallow containers of water. Shade and an area protected from domestic predators, such as dogs and cats, is helpful, too.

However, anyone who is concerned that an animal may be injured or in distress, should call Tucson Wildlife Center at 520-290-WILD (9453).

To make a tax-deductible donation to support the center's rescue work, go to www.tucsonwildlife.com or send a check to Tucson Wildlife Center, P.O. Box 18320, Tucson, AZ 85731.

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