Western Pond Turtle. Courtesy USFWS.
If you’re reading this, you must care about non-game wildlife. But with a long history of relying on fishing and hunting fees to fund only Oregon’s game animals, non-game species have been left in the dust.
The series below, which appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting, explains the problems and possible solutions to helping Oregon’s non-game wildlife before it’s too late.
Part 1: Wildlife Neglected: How Oregon Lost Track Of Species It’s Supposed To Protect
Part 2: Wildlife Neglected: Lacking Support, Conservation Falters At Oregon Fish and Wildlife
Part 3: Wildlife Neglected: To Fund Conservation, Oregon Hopes To Succeed Where Past Efforts Failed
By Tracie Hornung
Now that spring is here, one of the volunteers at the clinic says she hears chain saws in her neighborhood and worries that wildlife habitat will be destroyed in the process . . . which, of course, can spell doom for the animal — and possible offspring — whose home has suddenly disappeared.
In fact, that’s just what happened in the volunteers’ neighborhood. A tree trimmer cut down a tree containing the nest of a Western Gray Squirrel and one of the infant squirrels died. She notes that the clinic receives bird nests from felled trees every year, too.
Don’t do this now!
Although you should wait until fall or winter to cut down trees to prevent destroying nests, you don’t have to curtail your other spring cleaning efforts as long as you use techniques that won’t harm your wild animal neighbors. Check out this “cheat sheet” by The Humane Society on how to do so.
By Tracie Hornung
Northern Flying Squirrel. Photo by Larry Master, courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
It’s not every day that Rowena Wildlife Clinic treats a flying squirrel—fortunately!
The little guy, dubbed Rocky during his rehabilitation, was fetched off the ground by the landowners’ dog and carried to the porch. The squirrel was cold and so young his eyes had not yet opened. The landowners assume he fell from the nest.
Surprisingly, Rocky had no injuries, and after several weeks of basic care and lots of pampering at Rowena WIldlife Clinic he was ready for release. Some volunteers attached a nest box to a tree so that he could acclimate to the wild on his own terms. Since then he has been coming and going, and is now a fully independent and healthy adult flying squirrel!
Flying Squirrel nest box. Photo by Tom Keffer.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, flying squirrels might more appropriately be called “gliding squirrels,” because they aren’t capable of true powered flight such as a bird or a bat. Flying squirrels glide. They have a special membrane between their front and back legs that allows them to glide through the air between trees. When a flying squirrel wants to travel to another tree without touching the ground, it launches itself from a high branch and spreads out its limbs so that the gliding membrane is exposed. It uses slight movements of the legs to steer, and the tail acts as a brake upon reaching its destination. Flying squirrels can cover more than 150 feet in a single glide!
To learn more about flying squirrels, visit the National Wildlife Federation.