Unique summer camps for kids

April 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Leigh Glaser visits the Wildlife Museum for the inside scoop on summer programs. Plus, learn what to do this time of year if you find an injured animal in your backyard.

Summer programs

If your child is an animal lover, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum located in Walnut Creek has many programs this summer that he/she will probably enjoy. For information on all of their programs, click here.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 First Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
(925) 935-1978
www.wildlife-museum.org

Finding a sick/injured animal

It's baby season. Has your backyard turned into a nursery? With baby birds, squirrels and raccoons, spring is a time of new life. Below is some good advice from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum's Wildlife Hospital on what to do if you find a sick or injured animal on your property.

What to do if you find wild animals

Many animals brought to us are healthy youngsters that should have been left where they were found. If the animal you find does not seem to be injured but appears to be young, lost or confused, do not automatically pick it up. Please review the guidelines below.

If the animal seems injured or in need of help, or has been caught by a cat or dog, place it in a secure container such as a paper bag or cardboard box. Always use gloves when handling mammals?they can have sharp teeth and claws and may carry diseases. Be careful of sharp talons and beaks on birds, especially shorebirds, hawks and owls. Use gloves or a thick towel or blanket to pick up these animals.

Keep the animal in a warm and quiet place until you can bring it to us. Do not give the animal food or water. Bring it to the hospital as soon as possible during our open hours -- no appointment is needed. Our wildlife hospital is open every day.

Baby birds

Nest on ground with babies:
Tie the nest with babies in it onto a nearby tree. The nest can be put in a small box or margarine tub (with drainage holes) to make it easier to secure. Don't use a berry basket because bird legs may get caught in the mesh.

Baby bird without feathers:
Try to locate the nest. Make sure the babies in the nest look like the one you found and place the baby back in the nest.

Baby bird with feathers (fledglings):
Most baby birds cannot fly when they leave the nest. They mostly hop and can jump to low branches. Keep your pets inside while the birds are learning to fly? this can take up to one week.

For all the situations above:
Watch from a distance to make sure a parent returns to care for the babies, or place a video camera nearby. If you don't see a parent after several hours, bring the bird(s) to us. Baby mammals Squirrels:
If a baby has fallen from the nest, watch for a while to see if the mother retrieves the baby. If you can reach the nest, you can return it for her.

Opossums:
A baby opossum is on its own when it is about eight inches long (not including its tail). Please bring smaller babies or dead females with babies in the pouch to the museum.

Raccoons:
If you find a litter of baby raccoons, leave it alone and observe from a distance to see if the mother returns. She may be gone for as long as an entire night.

Rabbits:
Cottontails and brush rabbits will have a nest. If you find a nest, do not disturb it. The mother is often gone from dawn to dusk. Jackrabbit mothers will not leave all babies in one spot, so you may come across just one baby. Leave it alone.

Deer:
Does will leave their babies and go off to feed, often for the entire day. If you find a fawn, leave the area. The mother will not return if you are too close.

For all the situations above:
If you know the parent is dead, bring the babies to our hospital. If you are not sure, check back the next day to see if the babies are still there. If the babies are quiet and look healthy, leave them alone. If they are vocalizing, call us for advice. Be sure to wear gloves when handling any mammal.

Simple ways you can help wildlife

Keep pet food indoors:
Wild animals can become dependent upon humans or our pets' food and may carry diseases that can make humans and pets sick.

Don't feed the ducks:
Bread and crackers are not natural duck foods and can make them very sick. Feeding ducks can also lead to overpopulation that spreads disease and causes death.

Tree pruning:
To avoid disturbing bird and squirrel nests, the best time to prune your trees is from October trhough December.

Don't use pesticides/insecticides/ rodenticides:
These poisons may also kill wildlife and pets and can harm the environment.

Screen your chimneys, attic and basement vents:
Many birds and mammals like to nest in dark, quiet places. Screening will prevent accidental injuries and keep animals out of your home.

Don't use sticky traps:
Insect and rodent traps made with sticky substances can harm and kill many other animals including birds and reptiles. Use snap traps for rodent control? they are more humane.

Bird netting:
Avoid the use of plastic bird netting, especially near the ground. It can trap and entangle many wild animals. Use a stiffer wire mesh instead.

Cats and wildlife

Please keep your cats indoors, especially in the spring and summer when baby birds are learning to fly. Cats kill over four million birds in the U. S. every day.

Despite being well fed, cats will still hunt.

Collar bells don't work.

Most young birds leave the nest before they are able to fly well and are frequently caught by cats.

Most of the birds caught by cats, but not killed outright, die of their injuries or infection.

Outdoor cats are exposed to more diseases, need more medical care and have shorter life spans than indoor cats.

Cars kill millions of cats each year.

Birds and Windows

Birds often hit windows because they see the reflections of trees, bushes or sky and do not see the glass.

If a bird hits your window:
Pick up the stunned bird and place it in a paper grocery sack with a paper towel in the bottom. Place the bag in a warm quiet place.

If the bird has completely recovered within 15 minutes after hitting the window, release it back outside.

If the bird has not fully recovered within 15 minutes, bring it to our wildlife hospital as soon as possible.

If this happens more than once, call us for advice on ways to prevent birds flying into your windows.

About the Lindsay Wildlife Museum:

Lindsay Wildlife Museum connects people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the world we share. Founded in 1955 by Alexander Lindsay, the museum is a unique natural history and environmental education center where live, wild animals are just inches away. All of our programs are designed to help people understand how humans can help protect wildlife and their habitats.

EXHIBIT HALL
Meet the fascinating animals that share our backyards. Daily wildlife presentations and incredible exhibits showcase live, non-releasable native animals and information about the natural world.

DISCOVERY ROOM
A backyard exhibit delights children as they learn about animal habitats. Games, puzzles, animal encounters, a reading corner or a puppet show are just some of the activities your child may experience.

CHANGING EXHIBITS
Changing natural history and art and other special exhibits are featured in both the upper- and lower-level exhibit halls.

WILDLIFE HOSPITAL
The wildlife hospital cares for about 6,000 injured or orphaned native animals every year. Our goal is to release these animals back into their native habitats. The hospital is open to accept wild animals every day of the year.

DEMONSTRATION GARDENS
Discover the beauty of native California plants in gardens that attract birds and butterflies, conserve water and are deer-resistant.

FIELD TRIPS AND CLASSES
Explore the wonder of our natural surroundings. More than 600 classes, hikes and trips for children and adults are offered every year.

CHILDRENS BIRTHDAY PARTIES
Children ages 3?9 can celebrate their special day with friends, meet live animals and create a hands-on craft that goes with the party theme.

SCOUT TOURS
These tours for 6?12 year olds are recommended to meet badge requirements and are led by students in the museum's youth interpretive guide program.

PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOL GROUPS
Docents take live animals into classrooms or teachers can bring students to the museum for a tour. Both programs highlight the characteristics and adaptations of local wildlife.

VOLUNTEERS Over 600 volunteers help care for wildlife and teach children and adults the wonders of the nature.

The exhibit hall is open Tuesday ? Friday, Noon ? 5pm, and 10am ? 5pm on Saturday and Sunday during the school year. During the summer the exhibit hall is open Tuesday ? Sunday, 10am ? 5pm.

The museum is closed on Mondays.


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