More Than a Dozen in Two Days; Reason Unknown
TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2016 – A strange spike in the number of wild birds has employees inside the main shelter wondering, “What’s up with all the birds?”
More than a dozen birds – mostly hawks and at least one crow – have ended up at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. Some of the birds were brought in by animal control officers, after reports of the birds found languishing in residential backyards. Other birds were impounded at the county’s other two large shelters in San Jacinto and Thousand Palms.
Good Samaritans have also brought some of the birds to the shelters, including one hawk fledging at the Jurupa Valley location.
Since June 14, more than 40 bird-related activities have been handled. The areas where birds were found needing assistance include these locations: Unincorporated Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Eastvale, unincorporated Hemet area, Indio, Jurupa Valley, unincorporated Lake Elsinore area, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Riverside, Palm Desert, Perris and Winchester.
It’s uncertain what has caused the recent spike. Animal Services does handle a handful of calls related to injured wild birds each month. But shelter employees have not seen such a high population of birds in the main shelter. Some workers theorized the heat wave may have played a role, as temperatures spiked into the record-breaking, 114 degrees for Riverside on Monday (June 20). Much higher temperatures were recorded in other parts of the Inland Empire.
Most of the birds appeared to be healthy. Only a few had suffered small injuries. Hope Wildlife, a certified, wild bird rehabilitation organization near Corona, was contacted. The group is approved by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to work with assisting injured birds. Diane Falconer, a volunteer with Hope Wildlife, attributed the bird spike to the heat.
“They’re falling out of trees,” Falconer said. “Then, after they struggle to fly away, they exhaust themselves.”
A song bird, for example, fell from a tree in Eastvale and was found dead. It was brought into the shelter on June 17. Two days earlier, on June 15, a deceased owl was brought in by an officer working in the Perris area.
The good news? All of the birds transferred to Hope Wildlife will likely be returned back to the wild. Animal Services provided the organization with all of the critical information about exactly where the bird was found. The hope is that the bird will be within an area it is already familiar with, aiding in its chance for survival.