Since 1979 more than 140,000 animals have been treated by Wildlife Rescue.
Thanks to the support of individuals like you, Wildlife Rescue can provide a lifeline for animals in distress.
Many of us like to give wildlife a helping hand by providing bird feeders over the cold fall and winter months. With various avian diseases spreading during these months, it is important to be mindful about offering food in a safe way. Ultimately, the goal is to do what is best for wildlife!
Wildlife Rescue notices an increase in birds presenting with contagious avian diseases, such as salmonella and conjunctivitis, during the colder months. Diseases can easily spread among birds sharing feeders because feeders attract large numbers of birds to one location.
We can’t tell a sick bird not to come to the buffet, so sometimes it’s best just to postpone the dinner party before anyone else gets sick.
If you notice sick birds in your backyard, we recommend cleaning your feeders and putting them away for at least 3-4 weeks and until sick birds are no longer present in your backyard. This way you can help minimize the spread of avian diseases.
Here are a few symptoms to look out for:
If you are choosing to offer a feeder, we recommend taking the following steps to help keep wildlife safe:
Please note hummingbird feeders have a different set of recommendations.
Including native plants in backyard gardens is another effective way to provide food and shelter to wild birds over the fall and winter months. You will attract more wildlife visitors to your yard without needing to maintain a feeder.
These are some native species you can plant in BC:
Have you seen birds showing signs of disease, or do you have any questions? Reach out to our Support Centre for support and guidance via 604-526-7275 or email@example.com.
Thank you for looking out for your local wildlife!
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing wildlife worldwide. It is happening twice as fast than the global average in Canada. Studies show that climate change leads to longer heat waves, stronger hurricanes, increased wildfire risk along with a longer wildfire season. It is predicted that there will be more droughts, heavier rain events and severe cold spells. The more gradual warming of our climate combined with these extreme weather events are endangering wildlife and the habitats they live in.
Mac Pearsall, assistant manager of Wildlife Rescue’s hospital says, “although heat waves and weather events have always happened, it is the severity and frequency that they are occurring at now that is the cause for concern.”
Here are some of the effects extreme weather events have on wildlife in BC.
Extreme weather events are the most visible impact of climate change and at Wildlife Rescue we are seeing the impact on wildlife firsthand. In the fall of 2021, a Spotted Bat was rescued and brought into care at Wildlife Rescue. This rare bat, named for the three large spots across its shoulders was a unique visitor to the lower mainland. Spotted bats can typically be found in the dry interior valleys of British Columbia. The bat was dehydrated and underweight, after 19 days of care in our hospital it was successfully released. Climate change and extreme weather events may force wildlife like this spotted bat into new unfamiliar territories. Far from their regular habitat wildlife may have trouble finding the resources they need to survive, increasing the need for our organizations like Wildlife Rescue.
Contributed by Lauren Kerley, Wildlife Rescue Education Coordinator
Cute may not be the first word that comes to your mind when you see a baby bird. Hatchlings and nestlings can look strange, with odd proportions and unfamiliar plumage. Baby birds go through a huge transformation to become recognizable adult birds.
Swallow babies, like the Barn Swallow nestling pictured above, are great examples of a glow up in the bird world. Swallow babies undergo a beautiful transformation that prepares them for life on the wing.
Swallows are elegant birds both perched and in flight. Their distinct flight patterns, elongated body shape and deeply forked tail make them easily recognizable in flight. Their beautiful plumage is best admired while the birds are perched. Swallows have two tone plumage patterns, darker on top and lighter underneath. Colours range from glimmering cobalt blues found in Barn Swallows to vibrant greens and purples of the Violet-Green Swallows.
Their feathers are more than just for show though as the birds are highly specialized for aerial life, spending an impressive 60% of their time in the air. Not only do the birds hunt and eat in the air, but they also drink and bathe while in flight too!
Even these beautiful songbirds have drab babies, like many other baby birds, swallow nestlings have spotted or streaked plumage to help them camouflage in their nests, protecting them from predators. A lot of changes need to occur before babies are ready to leave the nest, a beautiful and necessary transformation.
Six swallow species call British Columbia home for at least part of the year; Bank Swallows, Tree Swallows, Cliff Swallows, Violet-Green Swallows, Barn Swallows, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Populations of all six swallow species are in decline, with Barn and Bank Swallows being designated as threatened species under COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).
Hundreds of injured and orphaned wildlife patients arrive at Wildlife Rescue due to window and car strikes, nest disturbances, and natural and human disturbances.
Below is your step-by-step guide that takes you through the process of dropping off rescued animals.
Spring is duckling season, and with that comes a lot of questions about what to do when little baby ducks show up in unexpected places. Get your questions answered with our quick and handy Duckling FAQ! If you’ve still got questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our help line at (604) 526-275.
Like many bird species, the large and majestic Great Blue Herons are working away at nesting and laying eggs. While they’re not an uncommon sight around Vancouver, they are a species at risk in BC.
Despite their relatively large size, herons are extremely sensitive birds. The slightest human disturbance can cause a heron to completely abandon their nest. As herons nest in colonies of multiple families (also known as rooks), a group of herons abandoning a nest due to stress can be devastating.
What can you do to help? If you’ve noticed herons nesting near your home or favourite walking path, do your best to steer clear of the nest to prevent disturbing the birds. Keep an eye out for signs. Sometimes conservation officers will place them in the area to warn the public that a heron nest is nearby.
The above is especially true if you have a lovable canine friend. Dogs are a big disturbance for nesting herons, so be sure to keep your best friend close, on a leash, and well away from nesting sites on your daily walks this spring.
Your donations are critical to helping the local heron population! With your help, nests of orphaned baby herons can receive the care they need at Wildlife Rescue. Together, we can do our part to help these majestic, and sensitive, animals survive.
There are more babies on the way in spring than just birds! Coyotes are great at pest control, eating rats and mice, so it’s important to know how we can best share our environment with these tenacious wild animals.
Coyotes will form breeding pairs and begin having litters of puppies around this time of year. They are dedicated parents, and both males and females will stay with the litter. Coyotes are more visible at this time of year as they’ll be patrolling their territory with frequency. They might appear to act more aggressive, but in reality they’re just trying to keep their little ones safe. So, what can we do if we think there’s coyote activity in our neighbourhood?
Our friends at the Stanley Park Ecology Society have come up with the following guidelines for safe coexistence:
Most importantly, If you see a coyote, you can report the sighting to the Stanley Park Ecology Society here! This helps the conservation community know where activity is highest and can help keep people, pets and coyotes safe.
Now that spring is well on its way, many of us are looking to get started on the season’s gardening so that we can enjoy a beautiful outdoor space all summer. You can get your backyard ready for yourself and help wildlife at the same time this spring with these simple tips from the Wildlife Rescue team!
First, this weekend is looking like a great time to start trimming hedges and shrubs. Few species will have started nesting at this point, so you’re less at risk of disturbing a nest. Hummingbirds do settle down early, so be on the lookout for their little nests. Any cut branches you’ve left behind might then be snatched up to help build a comfortable home for other birds.
You may be tempted to keep going and start raking all those fallen leaves, but here’s a great excuse to put it off a little longer! Pollinators like bees and butterflies will overwinter under piles of insulating leaves. Wait until temperatures are consistently 10 degrees Celsius or higher before cleaning up to give these beneficial insects time to wake up for spring.
When it’s time to get planting, focus on native species for your balcony or yard. These species help feed hummingbirds and berry eaters, so your greenspace can support their foraging. As an added bonus, you’ll attract more wildlife visitors to your yard without needing to maintain a feeder.
In BC, plant native species, like…
As always, thank you for looking out for your local wildlife!
The spookiest night of the year is coming soon! While we here at Wildlife Rescue are big fans of all things that go bump in the night, we’d like to take a moment to help you make sure your moonlit rituals, haunted houses and sunken crypts are as safe for wildlife as possible!
Artificial Spider Webs
While artificial spider webs are a great way to add some creepy ambiance, they are a major hazard for wildlife. Every year we take in animals who have been entangled in these decorations. Sadly, many people discover these trapped birds, bats and squirrels when they are taking decorations down after Halloween and by that time it’s often far too late.
It’s not Halloween without Trick or Treating! Unfortunately chocolate and other things we humans find delicious are deadly to pets and wildlife, plus individually wrapped treats leave a lot of waste behind that can seriously injure animals.
Carving a Jack o’ Lantern is a favourite activity for a lot of people to celebrate Halloween. A lot of hard work goes in to making those creepy grins. However, pumpkins can be a temptingly tasty treat for wildlife like deer or racoons. It might be tempting to try and dissuade animals from eating your pumpkins with chemicals or other deterrents, but this often leads to animals becoming seriously ill.
Fireworks are loud, disruptive and frightening to pets and wild animals alike. Not only that but launching them into the air can seriously injure or even kill flying birds and bats. Even the most diligent fireworks operator likely won’t be able to clean up all the refuse left behind from a fireworks display, and a lot of trash can be left behind for animals to find.
Here’s a fun idea for an event thanks to BC Bats. Organize a bat count! When the sun goes down bat activity is at its highest. Take yourself, your kids, some friends and your trick or treating candy to a quiet area near a bat roost and start counting!
To our valued Wildlife Rescue supporters,
As you may already know, cases of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) have been detected in BC. We want to let you know that Wildlife Rescue Association is aware of this risk and has taken action to keep staff, volunteers, and our feathered patients safe. We are continuing to monitor this situation, following the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and will adapt as needed to ensure the highest level of safety is assured.
For the most current guidance regarding wild birds, bird feeders, caring for domestic birds, and reporting sick or dead birds—please visit the official Government of Canada website at the link below.
Wildlife Rescue Association is not responsible for the surveillance of Avian Influenza in Canada. For the most up-to-date reports and information on the status of HPAI in Canada, please refer to the Government of Canada website at the link below.
Thank you for your continued support of our wildlife patients at this time!
Current research suggests that well-maintained bird feeders and hummingbird feeders are low-risk, but not no-risk, for transmitting many diseases including this virus. If you choose to keep a bird feeder or hummingbird feeder, please remember that this is an important responsibility. Clean and maintain your bird feeders regularly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of wildlife now, and year-round.
Backyard bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, and baths should be cleaned regularly using a weak solution of domestic bleach (10% sodium hypochlorite). Ensure they are well rinsed and completely dried before re-use. If you are not able to diligently maintain and clean your bird feeder, please consider removing it for the safety of your wildlife visitors.
Please note, this situation is evolving and this guidance may change. Always refer to the official Government of Canada website for the most current official guidance.
Additional information regarding bird feeders and bird baths is being provided by the BC SPCA.
Their advice is an extra step you can take to support wildlife in BC. For more information about this step, please refer to the BC SPCA website at the link below.
For the most current information and official guidance regarding this evolving situation, please always refer to the Government of Canada’s Avian Influenza Surveillance