Wildlife are Casualties of Storm, Too
By Wicked Local Cape Cod
While humans were busy trying to stay warm after this past weekend’s blizzard left tens of thousands of households and businesses without power, the storm had other casualties.
Since the storm broke loose Friday afternoon, Wild Care, the wildlife emergency rehabilitation center in Eastham, has received dozens of phone calls about ailing birds that were stranded, beached or found wandering in roads and parking lots. Wild Care took in an assortment of species including an injured Peregrine Falcon found in Dennis, three Razorbills, a Northern Gannet, a Dovekie, two Atlantic Puffins, three Red-breasted Mergansers, and a Common Murre. Wild Care is also one of few local animal facilities to have power on Cape Cod. They are housing five State Endangered Northern Red-bellied Cooter turtles for Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich, currently without power. The Cape Wildlife Center of West Barnstable has also been without power since Friday and has transferred a Red-throated Loon to Wild Care’s facility Monday morning for care until they regain electricity and are able to continue operations as normal.
“It is not unusual for us to see any of these aquatic species after a storm, as many of them feed in the offshore waters of Cape Cod throughout the winter” says Wild Care’s Executive Director Stephanie Ellis. “All of the birds we have received are underweight and many of these species cannot lift off from land, some don’t even walk well on land and require a good running start along water before being able to fly off. If a Dovekie lands in a parking lot by accident, it is absolutely helpless. Razorbills, murres, Dovekies, Northern Gannets, Red-throated Loons and Red-breasted Mergansers can be found on both the Bay and ocean side of the Cape throughout the winter. Atlantic Puffins, however, are another story. There have been a large number of Atlantic Puffins spotted along Cape Cod Bay, pre-and post Nemo. These birds are generally seen wintering well offshore in Massachusetts. You almost never see them close to shore. To have two in our care is unprecedented.”
Wild Care wildlife helpline is 508-240-2255 if you see an animal in despair.
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!