The SPCA for Monterey County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is caring for a tiny baby hummingbird who was a victim of the winter storm.
During the powerful storm last night, a tree blew over on Kennedy Road in Salinas. A local resident had been watching hummingbirds nest in the tree over the last few days and knew, sadly, the tiny nest was somewhere in the debris.
New people bring a fresh pair of eyes, another perspective on programs or services, opportunities others may not have seen or, some things less important. This falls into the latter category.
Most days, I take my shelter dog on a short walk to enjoy some of the SPCA’s magnificent, 200 acres. Our buildings sit on a somewhat flat five-acre bowl and the surrounding land is oak-studded, sloped and rugged, with meandering unpaved access trails. Truly, an amazing gift.
My walk takes me past our oldest structure — a wooden, two-story building which houses programs for kids and an office for our Humane Investigations team.
The SPCA for Monterey County advises our community for their safety and the safety of our wildlife to please leave baby deer, known as fawns, alone. So far this Spring, the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center has received 11 fawns and six of them were healthy babies taken from their mothers unintentionally. While two were successfully reunited with their mothers and two are still in our care, sadly, two did not survive their encounters with humans.
Mother deer leave their babies hidden and alone in a safe space during most of the day, often only visiting them during dawn and dusk. These fawns are not abandoned; the mother is likely out of sight watching you. If you find a fawn lying quietly in the grass leave it where it is, stay back and out of sight, and keep dogs as far away as possible. The mother will not return if she senses people or dogs are too close. If a fawn has been picked up or handled, gently place it back in the exact place where it was found, or within sight of that spot. Stand back several hundred feet, and wait for the mother’s return (which could take hours).
In our line of work, we can’t save them all, especially the wild animals we encounter. Our mission includes rescuing and rehabilitating all the sick, injured and orphaned wild animals in our area. A success rate even approaching 50% would be off the charts, and this doesn’t at all reflect the skills of people providing this care or their resources. Think about it. It’s a wild animal’s very nature to avoid humans. The great majority of those that allow us to get close enough to handle them are critical, at best, and often in grave condition.
This week, I’m offering someone else’s words. One of our board members felt a real sense of pride when a neighbor shared with her the story of an animal we couldn’t save.
There are close to 8,000 humane societies, SPCAs, animal shelters and rescue groups in the United States. I can count on two paws those that handle dogs, cats and other domestics and operate a full-scale wildlife rehabilitation program. Your SPCA…the SPCA for Monterey County is one of them.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch: we care for wildlife in facilities located near the top of our property, far from the adoption center and main parking lot, barking dogs and public foot traffic. We take in 2,500 or so wild animals annually and, at peak times, house up to 130. These include mammals, hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds, and seabirds.