GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Wild animal experts in West Michigan are seeing babies out early this year because of the unusually warm winter. When cold, icy days come through, that means trouble for those newly born critters.
“We’re coming up on baby season with birds and squirrels," Grand Rapids Wildlife Rehab Center Director Peg Markle explains, "people have got to remember that whether it's a squirrel, a bird, a rabbit or whatever, its best chance of survival is with its parents.”
If you do come across a baby in trouble, Markle says to watch from a distance for awhile to see if mom returns.
With squirrels, a lot of times mom will return, but if not licensed rehabilitator Kelly Spruit says you'll know,
“The squirrels will definitely go seek out help. They will look for humans, they will follow people. You’ll hear them before you see them. If you do find them the best thing to do is to keep it warm right away.”
From there, Spruit says it's best not to feed them because the wrong food can kill them.
Instead, try to get them to a licensed rehabilitator as soon as possible. Spruit says, “If they can get them to us within the first 24 hours, they’ll have a great chance of survival.”
While the center is happy to help, Markle says they see an influx of calls this time every year.
"During baby season it will start picking up to 60-70 phone calls a day.”
As you can imagine, when they're taking in injured and abandoned animals left and right, they need some help.
Spruit says they need things like paper towels and bleach, but that money is always best.
"The baby squirrel formula is extremely expensive and it doesn’t last long.”
If you're interested in helping out or learning about the Grand Rapids Wild Animal Rehab Center they are holding a bowling fundraiser:
Bowling for Wildlife at Wengers Bowl
April 23 at 12 p.m.
$15 for 3 games