BY JOE MIELE
GOT A QUESTION FOR UNCLE JOE?
WOULD YOU RATHER SNAIL MAIL YOUR QUESTION? SEND IT TO:
ASK UNCLE JOE,
C/O WILDLIFE WATCH, BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561.
UNCLE JOE GETS A LOT OF MAIL SO DONíT BE OFFENDED IF HE CANNOT
ANSWER YOUR QUESTION IN THE COURIER. HECK, HEíS GOTTA WORK A DAY JOB,
Letters are printed as received. They are unedited.
Dear Uncle Joe:
Each spring I see baby birds who appear to have fallen from their
nests. They flap their wings but they cannot fly more than a few feet at
a time. Are
these birds hurt? Should I take them to a wildlife rehabilitator?
What youíre describing to me sounds like a fledgling who is learning
Unless the bird has an obvious wound of some sort, it is best to leave
her alone or try to reunite her with her parents. I checked with the
Wildlife Rescue Association of British Columbia about this and here is
what they had to say:
First, try to determine if the bird is a nestling or a fledgling.
naked or only partially feathered. Helpless and unable to stand, they absolutely belong back in their nest with their mother. If you find a
nestling try to locate the nest and gently place the bird in it.
Watch for the parent. If the parent does not return within two hours,
the baby may be orphaned and should be taken to a licensed wildlife
rehabilitator. Without help or without a parent the baby cannot survive.
Fledglings are well-feathered, able to stand and hop, but may not be
able to fly very well. At this stage of their development they are being
taught by their parents how to fly and find food. If you find a
fledgling and see the parent nearby, leave the baby alone - just be sure
the area is safe from cats.
If the parent is not nearby, gently put the baby on a low branch and
watch from a distance for the parent to return. If the parent does not
return within 2-3 hours, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for
advice - the baby may be orphaned and require help.
During the spring and early summer it is not uncommon to find baby
birds and other wildlife since it is common for animals such as deer and
rabbits to leave their young unattended while they go off to feed.
Leaving the babies alone - unless they are clearly injured or in
imminent danger - is usually the best course of action because
human-created scents (perfumes, deodorants, detergents, etc.) can be
transferred to an animal during contact, possibly preventing a parent
from accepting him/her back or potentially attracting predators that
associate human scent with food.
Dear Uncle Joe:
I awoke to find that coyotes have killed one of the rescued turkeys
in an enclosure on my property. It appears that the coyote dug under the fence and dragged the turkey out. I know that I have to repair the fence
and dig it deeper into the ground, but are there any other things that I
can do to keep my birds safe from the coyotes?
As youíve learned, coyotes are fantastic at digging their way under
fences to get at what theyíre after. In addition to burying the fence,
it would be best if you could secure it to railroad ties buried to a
depth of about18-inches or sunk into cement at the same depth. This
should prevent future problems.
Ross Hall of the Nova Scotia DNR encourages the use of electric
fencing to keep coyotes away from domestic animals. Electric fences are expensive, but there is considerable evidence that properly constructed electric fences can reduce or eliminate coyote predation. Since coyotes prefer to go under or through fences rather than over them, they
perceive page wire as a physical barrier that cannot be easily
information about page wire, see:
When encountering an electric fence with horizontal wires, naive
assume they can easily step through. A five- wire design is probably a sufficient deterrent for most coyotes. An electric fence with a bottom, grounded wire strung very close to the ground surface is probably the wisest design. Good luck Carl - I hope you and your turkeys are well.
Alas, no Uncle Joe column would be complete without some hate mail
the intelligentsia of the hunting community. Readers, I assure you that
the letter that follows was taken verbatim from the e-mail that was sent
Dear nut job,
i seriously think you people need to have your heads looked at by
im not just speaking of your special ring of idiots but in fact im
animal activist on earth you people do not have any idea about anything
squak about for inctence we kill animals like the white tailed deer
because when the first settlers came to america out of fear they killed
most of th population of the eastern (felis concoulr) or the puma and if
some one dosent kill the deer then they overpopulate another hot
buttonabout this subject is your people for some reason hate zoos
thinking there like prisons when realy there more like maternity wards
so very rare and endangered animals can have a safe haven to raise their
young and to finish an all vegitarian diet is ruining the earth the
chickens and cattle and pig all are biproducts of man not god meaning
they have no natural preditors so its our duty to eat these animals that
this cacer like death grip we have on this earth created get some help
Huh? Please discuss with your therapist your fear of punctuation.