Tuesday, May 14, 2013
SPRINGTIME IS BABY SEASON
SPRING is BABY SEASON
Spring is the time for births. Some animals lay eggs and incubate the eggs until they hatch, others birth their young live. Some have a short gestation and multiple litters, others long gestations and only once baby. Regardless of the animal, this is natures way of propagating the species. In the Spring, we may see or hear our wild native neighbors more regularly. The females are out searching for a nesting or den site. Please be patient with them as they continue to keep the balance of a healthy ecosystem.
Here is some general information: Reptiles (Lizards) and Amphibians (Salamanders) hatch in the summer. The young are fully independent upon hatching. Turtles hatch in the summer. Do not disturb a nest or ‘turtle-nap’ the babies. These young turtles need to imprint on natural food and social behaviors early if they are to survive. They are vulnerable upon hatching because the nest site is often across the road from the feeding ‘ground’. The highways also provide a place to warm themselves on a cold day. Snakes either lay eggs or live birth their young. This takes place in late summer. Snakes are timid animals and do not attack. If you find them in the garden or flower bed please do not scream and throw your shovel at them. Rejoice! They are there to help rid your plants of bugs and rodents.
Bats are born in May/June. The colony is vulnerable until late summer. Squirrels typically have two litters. Born in March through May and again in July through September. The nest site is either inside cavity in a hollow tree or a leaf nest in the branches of trees. Chipmunk have 1 to 2 litters each year from April through Mid-Summer. The young do not forage until 5 to 7 weeks of age. Porcupines are born between April and May. The young forage with the female and are independent by 4 months of age. The quills are not SHOT out, the predator of the rodent must come into contact with the quills. The quill is designed to attach to the aggressor and be pulled out of the prey animal much as a hair is plucked from our head. It is painful for both parties! Moles have one litter in Early Spring. Shrews have multiple litters in the early spring until Late fall. Rats/ Mice/ Voles have multiple litters throughout the year. Groundhogs are born from April thorugh May. They leave the den at around 6 weeks of age to forage but remain with the family until late summer. Muskrats have 2 or 3 litters from April through August. Beavers are born in the lodge from March through June. The young remain in the lodge for up to two months.
Skunks are migratory species, they do not stay in one area indefinitely. The young are born in May through June. The young follow the females on the nightly feeding sessions at about 6 weeks of age. The young are independent at 10 weeks of age. Their food source is grubs. These worm-like larvae of beetles live in the soil. These grubs feed on grass and plant roots. Weasels are born March through May depending on the species. Most only have one litter. The young do venture out to explore before they are fully independent. They are NOT orphaned. Raccoons are born between April through May. Occasionally a second litter is born in late summer. At the age of 8 to 10 weeks the young begin exploring with the mother. The weaning process ends around 3 months of age. The family unit often remains intact through the following spring. Bears are born in their den in January and February. 1 to 4 cubs are born every 2 to 3 years. The family remains together until the following spring. Rabbits and Hares have 3 to 4 litters each year. The young leave the nest at 2 to 3 weeks for short exploration. By 5 weeks the young are weaned. Deer are born from May through June. The young are instructed to remain in their ‘hide spot’ until 3 or 4 weeks of age. The fawns are not weaned until 2 months of age. The young remain with the female in some cases for a full year. Canidae species (Coyotes/Fox) Born from March through May. Felidae species (Bobcat/Lynx) Born April through June. These kittens are not weaned until 2 to 3 months of age. They are not independent until 6 to 8 months of age. Siblings are often known to remain together for weeks or months after that.
Shorebirds will nest on the ground. Leave the nest undisturbed. Do not pick up or handle the eggs. Waterfowl (Geese/ Ducks) will often nest on the shoreline. The eggs require about a month to incubate. The young will follow the parents as soon as hatched. Only rescue the young one if the animal is in a dangerous area. Additionally, in June and July the adults molt, they are unable to fly. Loons/Grebes are exclusively waterbirds. If you find one on the ground away from water, help it by returning it to the water as long as the feathers are in good condition. Woodpeckers /Flickers parents have been known to withhold food from the juvenile chicks in an effort to encourage the young to leave the nest. The parents will call to the young and force them to make flights out of the nest cavity. The young often still have sheath around the feathers. The juveniles often remain several hours in one place. They are NOT orphaned unless no parent has approached in over 3 hours. Passerines (Songbirds) chicks are not orphaned unless are found on the ground featherless, not hopping or flying around, no nest is in sight and no adult in the area.