Wildlife In Need Center 'overwhelmed' with birds who 'desperately need your help' as winter drags into spring

OCONOMOWOC -- Officials with the Wildlife In Need Center, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, April 18, said they've been "overwhelmed" with songbird patients as winter drags into spring. This, as a winter weather advisory was issued for all of southeast Wisconsin, with more snow falling.

*The birds and other wildlife desperately need your help, especially migratory species and ground foraging birds like robins. This is becoming a bird emergency across the state as wildlife rehabiltators are all admitting starving, hypothermic migratory birds," officials said.

Meanwhile, officials at the Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center said the weekend snowstorm has hit many early-spring migrating birds very hard -- robins can't find earthworms to eat because the ground is blanketed with snow, and small insectivores like eastern phoebes and yellow-rumped warblers are at risk of starvation because it's too cold for the insects upon which they feed to be active. The WRC has admitted storm-affected robins, phoebes, woodcock (some are window collision victims), yellow-rumped warblers, hermit thrushes, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and also many young cottontail bunnies.

And Wednesday brought another round of snow.

Here's what you can do to help: 

    The WRC offered these suggestions:

    "You can help your local "feeder birds" by keeping your regular seed and suet feeders filled. And you can help the birds that don't eat seeds like robins, yellow-rumped warblers, eastern bluebirds, hermit thrushes, and phoebes by temporarily providing foods like blueberries, raspberries, bits of chopped grapes, apples, or pears; earthworms, waxworms, (at your local fishing bait store) dried or regular mealworms (some bird-seed suppliers and pet-supply stores); crumbled suet, crumbled "peanut-butter mix (peanut butter mixed 1:2 with wheat germ or cornmeal) and crumbled hard-boiled egg yolk.

    The best way to offer these foods is spread out on a horizontal surface, such as a picnic table top, on a snow-cleared patio or deck, or on an overturned trash can lid or a plastic tray. If you put food in bowls, use wide, shallow bowls. Place the food where the birds can readily see it, ideally not far away from shrubs or trees in which the birds can take cover.

    Avoid attracting scavengers like raccoons and opossums by bringing the food in just before dark. Put it back out early in the morning.

    If you find a bird that you think needs help, if you are in Milwaukee County, give us a call at (414) 431-6204."