Wildlife experts are asking for your help in saving migratory birds that have been snowed out of their usual food sources.
Last weekend’s blizzard blanketed parts of Wisconsin with over two feet of snow, and that’s making it very hard for birds migrating back to the area. Raptor Education Group executive director Marge Gibson says her agency has been extremely busy this week. “I took over fifty phone calls, texts and Facebook messages. Most were about weak and dying warblers, robins and woodcocks.”
Gibson says this weather is especially hard on birds that usually rely on digging insects out of the ground for their food. “They are unable to find enough enough ground or find any ground to be able to dig or have access to insects, And not having any food, of course, they’re starving.” Gibson says that residents can help out by digging out section of lawn and grass that birds can access to dig up and eat hibernating bugs.
She also adds that generally keeping feeders stocked right now is a great help to feathered friends. “Keep your feeders full. A lot of the insectivores don’t eat seed so you’re going to have mealworms and dried fruit, cut up fruit, berries, those sorts of things that will help them get over this very difficult period.”
Gibson is asking cat owners to keep their pets indoors for a few days. “The birds are really fragile right now, many of them are weak and they’re on the ground and they’re really targets for a cat who’s outside even briefly, so be very aware of that.”
if you do find a bird on the ground and you’re able to walk over and pick it up, that bird is in distress and needs help. “Put it in a cardboard box, not a cage or a carrier. Put a towel in the bottom of the box and bring them into a warm area. Put a heating pad on low under part of the box. Cover the box to create an “incubator” of sorts.” Gibson says that you should make sure that the bird has food. Dried or live mealworms or waxworms are a good bet, and you can find those almost anywhere live fishing bait is sold.
Once that bird is safe and warming up, make sure you call a local avian rescue group. Most are very willing to come pick up your bird and take it to a more appropriate shelter.