Keeping your furry family members safe during the holidays can be a difficult task. There are the ornaments, plants, presents, lights — oh, and who could forget the Christmas tree (if do you decide to put one up this year)? Let’s take a look at some simple steps that will allow your pets to join in the holiday fun this year, while avoiding any trips to the animal emergency room.

Christmas Tree Tips:

1. Place your Christmas tree in a corner, blocked off from your pet’s wanting eyes. If this doesn’t keep your dog or cat from attempting to jump onto the tree, you can place aluminum foil, a plastic drink bottle filled with knick knacks, or anything else that creates noise on the tree’s bottom limbs to warn you of an impending tree disaster.

2. Tinsel can add a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure you hang it up out of your pet’s reach. Ingesting the tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.

3. Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, they are a burning hazard. Additionally, your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire.

4. Ornaments need to be kept out of reach, too. In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths, or other parts of your pet’s body.

5. For those buying a live Christmas trees this year, keep the area free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet’s intestines if ingested.

Other Great Holiday Item Tips:

1. Did you know holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs or cats? If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, they should be kept in an area your pet cannot reach.

2. Edible tree decorations — whether they be ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings — are like time bombs waiting to happen. These goodies are just too enticing and your pet will surely tug at them, knocking down your wonderfully decorated spruce.

3. Burning candles should be placed on high shelves or mantels, out of your pet’s way — there’s no telling where a wagging tail may end up. Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.

4. To prevent any accidental electrocutions, any exposed indoor or outdoor wires should be taped to the wall or the sides of the house.

5. When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, string, plastic, or cloth could cause intestinal blockages. Scissors are another hazard, and they should be kept off floors or low tables.

Article found at PetMD website.

Closeup of guinea pig noseThey’re not pigs and they’re not from New Guinea! Read on to find out what these South American natives need to stay happy and healthy.


Larger than hamsters, but smaller than rabbits, guinea pigs can weigh a couple of pounds and generally live for five to seven years. The three most common breeds of guinea pig are the Smooth-Coated, with short, glossy fur; the Abyssinian, whose hair grows in fluffy tufts all over the body, and the Peruvian, with long, silky hair that flows to the ground.

Guinea pigs make wonderful companions. These docile members of the rodent family rarely bite and are known for squeaking with delight when their favorite humans enter the room. Guinea pigs are excellent starter pets for older children who have mastered proper handling techniques.


When you first get your pet, you’ll need to spend about $35 for a cage. Food runs about $75 a year, plus $25 annually for toys and treats, $50 for an annual veterinary check-up and $400 per year for litter and bedding material. We recommend adopting your guinea pig from a shelter or small-animal rescue group.


Guinea pigs are social animals who prefer to live in small groups. If you keep two or more females together, they will become great friends. If you want two males, it’s smart to choose two babies from the same litter. Since guinea pigs, like all rodents, multiply rapidly, keeping males and females together is not recommended.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to provide a minimum of four square feet of cage space per guinea pig—but please try to get as large a cage as possible. You’ll need a solid-bottom cage—no wire floors, please, as they can irritate your pets’ feet. Plastic-bottom “tub cages” with wire tops also make great guinea pig homes. Never use a glass aquarium, due to the poor ventilation that it provides.

Always keep the cage indoors away from drafts and extreme temperatures, as guinea pigs are very susceptible to heatstroke. They’ll prefer an environment kept at 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line the bottom of the cage with aspen or hardwood shavings or some other form of safe bedding, such as grass hay. Do not use cedar or pine chips—the oils they contain can be dangerous to your pets. (P.S. Yes, you can train a guinea pig to use a litter box—but please note that this will require lots of time and patience!)

Guinea pigs love to hide when they play, so be sure to place cardboard tubes and/or empty coffee cans with smoothed edges in the enclosure for this purpose. Plastic pipes and flower pots are good, too, and bricks and rocks for climbing will be much appreciated. All guinea pigs need a cave for sleeping and resting, so please provide a medium-sized flower pot or covered sleeping box, readily available at pet supply stores.


Commercial guinea pig pellets should make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. Nutritionally complete, they’re available at pet supply stores, and are made from plants, seeds and veggies. Feed your guinea pigs twice daily, in the morning and in the evening.

The ASPCA recommends offering small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables to your guinea pigs every day. Try grapes, cucumbers, corn, peas, carrots and pears. Half a handful of veggies and a slice of fresh fruit per pig is plenty. Always make sure to clean up any leftover fresh food before it spoils. You’ll also need to make grass hay available to your pets at all times. It’s great for the digestive system, and will also satisfy your pet’s need to gnaw.

Unlike other animals, guinea pigs cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so you’ll need to ensure that your pets get enough of this essential nutrient every day. A quarter of an orange will do, but you can also include some fruits and veggies that are high in C to their daily ration of fresh foods, such as kale, dandelion greens and strawberries.

Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Use an inverted bottle with a drinking tube, and change the water daily.

General Care

Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.

Did you know that guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously, just like those of other rodents? That’s why it is important that you provide yours with something to gnaw on at all times. Branches and twigs from untreated trees will work, as will any small piece of wood that hasn’t been treated with chemicals.

It’s crucial that you get your pets used to you—and used to being handled. Start by feeding them small treats. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick up one pig at a time, one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back.

Once you have hand-tamed your piggies, you should let them run around in a small room or enclosed area to get some additional exercise every day. You will need to carefully check the room for any openings from which the guinea pigs can escape, get lost and possibly end up hurt. These animals must be supervised when they are loose because they will chew on anything in their paths—including electrical wires.

Guinea pigs are very conscientious about grooming themselves, but brushing them on a regular basis will help keep their coat clean and remove any loose hairs. Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily in order to prevent tangles and knots from forming.

Veterinary Care

If you think one of your guinea pigs is sick, don’t delay—seek medical attention immediately. Common signs that something isn’t right include sneezing, coughing, diarrhea and lethargy. Guinea pigs are also susceptible to external parasites such as mites and lice. If you think your pet is infested, head to the vet for treatment.

Guinea Pig Supply Checklist

– Solid-bottom cage with wire cover or plastic-bottom “tub” cage (minimum four square feet of cage space per pig)
– Guinea pig pellets
– Aspen or hardwood shavings
– Grass hay
– Bricks, rocks, cardboard boxes, plastic pipes and other appropriate toys
– Medium flower pot or covered sleeping box
– Brush and comb for grooming
– Attachable water bottle with drinking tube
– Unpainted, untreated piece of wood or safe chew toy

Original Article

Regular wellness exams allow your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s general health and become aware of any health problems before they become serious illnesses. Since your pet cannot vocalize his feelings, you must rely on regular physical examinations by a veterinarian and your at-home observations to assess your pet’s health. Your veterinarian may also wish to perform diagnostic tests, including blood tests and/or x-rays, to evaluate your pet’s health.

Routine blood testing, urinalysis (urine testing) and other tests are recommended for all pets in their “senior years.” Your veterinarian may recommend routine blood testing and urinalysis for younger pets to establish baseline values, which can be used for comparison as pets age.

How often does my pet need a wellness exam?

Every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to five to seven human years, so it is important that your pet receives a wellness exam at least every year, and more often when he enters his senior years. Many aspects of your pet’s health can change in a short amount of time, so make sure your pet does not miss even one exam!

Similar to people, pets need to visit the veterinarian more often as they get older in order to prevent and treat illnesses that come with age (visitSenior Pet Care for more information). AAHA recommends that healthy dogs and cats visit the veterinarian once a year for a complete exam and laboratory testing. Healthy senior dogs and cats should receive a wellness exam and lab testing every six months. Depending on your pet’s age and health, your veterinarian will suggest an appropriate physical examination schedule to help keep your pet in tip-top shape.

What can I expect during my pet’s wellness examination?

Your veterinarian will request a complete history of your pet’s health. Don’t forget to mention any unusual behavior that you have noticed in your pet, including:

  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Eating more than usual
  • Excessive drinking of water, panting, scratching or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Your veterinarian will also want to know about your pet’s daily behavior, including his diet, how much water he drinks and his exercise routine. Your veterinarian may ask:

  • Does your pet have trouble getting up in the morning?
  • Does your pet show signs of weakness or unbalance?
  • Does your pet show an unwillingness to exercise?

Depending on where you live, your pet’s lifestyle and age, and other factors, your veterinarian may also ask about your pet’s exposure to fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites. He or she will develop an individualized treatment and/or preventative plan to address these issues.

Vital Statistics

Usually at the beginning of the exam, your veterinarian, a veterinary technician or an assistant will take your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration (breathing) rate and body weight. If your pet has lost weight since his last physical exam, he may be experiencing the early stages of metabolic disease, such as kidney disease or diabetes. If your pet has gained weight since his last exam, your veterinarian will work with you to develop an appropriate diet and exercise plan to return your pet to a healthier weight. Weight is an important consideration in your pet’s health — an extra two or three pounds could mean the difference between your pet being fit and healthy or obese.


Your veterinarian may ask if your pet has been shaking his head or scratching at his ears, and if you have noticed an odor coming from your pet’s ears. Your pet’s ear canals protect his inner ear, but can also become a home for parasites and other foreign objects. Your veterinarian will closely examine your pet’s ears to make sure they are healthy.


Eye examinations often reveal many health issues, including anemia, infections, glaucoma, cataracts, high blood pressure, jaundice, kidney problems and allergies, in addition to eye injuries and ulcers. Your veterinarian may examine your cat’s eyes to evaluate her past and present nutritional condition. Observation of the inner structures and outward appearances of the eyes will be included in an eye examination.


Your veterinarian will inspect your pet’s gums, teeth, tongue and palate (roof of the mouth) for tartar buildup, dental abnormalities, fractures, loose teeth, tumors, infection and other problems. For example, similar to people, a lack of red or pink color in your pet’s gums or lining of his lips could signal anemia. Your veterinarian will discuss the importance of regular at-home and professional teeth cleaning to prevent periodontal disease, which can cause bad breath and tooth loss.

Heart and Lungs

Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s heart and lungs for early signs of heart and respiratory disease.

Reproductive Organs

If your pet has not been spayed or neutered, your veterinarian may discuss with you the many health benefits of spaying/neutering beyond just birth control. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s reproductive system for swellings, discharges and breast lumps.


Your pet’s skin is his largest organ and a good gauge of his health. Your veterinarian will check your pet’s skin and hair for fleas, ticks, other external parasites, tumors and wounds, as well as signs of allergies, infection, warts and tumors.

From Head to Toe

Your veterinarian will feel your pet’s abdomen for abnormalities, including enlarged organs, masses or painful areas, to detect problems with the stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver and other organs. Your veterinarian will also examine your pet’s legs and feet and the condition of your pet’s joints, muscles, lymph nodes and nose.

Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing to diagnose or verify a health problem if he finds any abnormalities during your pet’s examination.


Vaccinations are one of the most important preventive measure you can take for the health of your pet. Dogs can be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, coronavirus, Bordetella, rabies, and Lyme disease. Cats can be immunized against feline panleukopenia (distemper), rabies, feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia, feline leukemia, and FIP.

How frequently you should have your pet vaccinated against certain diseases depends on many factors, so talk to your veterinarian to understand what is recommended for your pet’s unique environment and lifestyle. Visit the Healthypet article Vaccinations for more information.

Do not underestimate the importance of taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness examinations. These regular examinations will help your pet live a longer and healthier life, so do your part to care for your furry friend!

Article pulled from

As you prepare your pet’s Halloween costume for our photo contest, we want you to keep in mind the following safety tips regarding your pet during this spooky time. If you weren’t aware of our photo contest, you’ll find the details here:

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Original Article from:

Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Article by Cindy Pugh  , From : Original article:

It seems like everyone is worried about fleas in the spring and summer. While this is certainly a problem time of year, experience has proven that the fall is actually one of the worst times for fleas. A flea can jump up to 8” high and 12” laterally. All it takes is your beloved Fi Fi to walk by and they have a mobile home. Within 15 minutes of that initial free ride, the fleas begin feeding.

Feed and Breed
They feed on the blood of your pet about once every 30 minutes. Within 24 hours on your pet, they begin to breed. Between feeding and breeding, those fleas live quite the high life. Each female flea will lay 28-50 eggs per day — over 2,000 in her life time! Those eggs are sticky and after a short time, they dry and fall off your pet into the environment and can hatch within 2-5 days.

By environment, I mean your carpet, furniture, bed, lap, yard… Those eggs hatch into larva. A flea larva is basically a maggot. And, to make matters worse, their food source is the digested blood from the adult flea — flea poop!

Larva do not like light. In fact, they will burrow down in the carpet and material fibers and remain quite comfortable for the next 7-14 days while they prepare for the next stage of their life, the Pupa stage. This stage can last for up to a year, nice and cozy in your home. Presently, there is no effective means of killing this stage of a flea’s lifecycle. Protected by the cocoon the larva spins, it sits and waits for the right circumstances. Stimulation causes them to hatch. Vibration (vacuuming, walking/running or any movement), light, carbon dioxide and ideal temperatures all lead to the next generation of fleas to emerge. High temperatures (temperatures above 85 degrees) will keep the pupae in a dormant state. But when the temperatures drop and remain below 85 degrees, such as we see in the early fall, we begin to see numbers, very large numbers of fleas hatching at once. So all those fleas that fed, bred, and laid eggs all summer long, have left the next generation ready for their fall emergence.  They emerge hungry, and the cycle begins again.

That is why we see so many desperate and frustrated people in the fall claiming massive numbers of fleas on their pets. Pets that have been treated with good, reputable flea products. So what can you do to prevent this? Can your pet survive a fall without scratching itself to death? The answer is yes.

Effectively Fight Fleas
To effectively fight fleas, you need an all around assault plan. Simply putting a topical flea treatment on your pet isn’t enough. Only 5% of fleas you see are in the adult stages. The rest are in the stages you don’t see, the egg, larva and pupa stage. To only attack the adult stage will leave you with a future population of fleas that will soon infest your pet and keep your battle an on-going one. Products containing an IGR, or insect growth regulator are essential in fighting fleas. These products not only kill the adults, they also kill the eggs and larva stages. Products that you use for your pet must contain an IGR. One specialized IGR, Lufenuron, found in Program and Sentinel from Novartis Animal Health, prevents the flea from hatching from the egg stage altogether. Sort of a birth control for fleas. It’s fighting the fleas without the toxic residues of other topical products. The Lufenuron is passed in the stools of the adult flea and as mentioned above, the flea maggot or larva feeds on the flea droppings, preventing them from developing into the next stage, the pupa stage.

Remember the Inside Environment
Now for the environment. Remember I said that eggs laid on the pet fall off in the pet’s environment? Consider if you will, your pet as a salt and pepper shaker. Every where your pet goes, eggs are being shaken off. Love to sit with your pet on your lap? Or sleep in your bed? Well, the fleas on your pet have been busy. Busy breeding and laying eggs and feeding on your pet. And you guessed it; you are sleeping and sitting with, and probably on, all those eggs as a result.

So what should you use in your home? You need to use a product with that wonderful IGR in it. Vacuuming first floors and furniture will suck up some of the unwanted pests. Don’t forget to discard the vacuum bag after you do this. Remember vibration awakens the flea from its cocoon stage. Now use your indoor treatment according to label instructions. The IGR in the spray will affect any leftover eggs, larva and lay down a residue to kill any adults that emerge from the vibration process. Launder all bedding as well.

Remember the Outdoor Environment
Where do you think your pet gets it’s fleas from? Wildlife and other untreated domestic animals. Remember everywhere your pet goes, it’s like a salt and pepper shaker shaking off flea eggs. Under decks, in bushes, under the shade of your trees are favorite spots for wildlife. They don’t prefer the middle of your yard in the direct sun and neither do fleas. Focus your outdoor treatment in these areas as this is most likely where you will have your flea population lurking in its various life stages. Use a product with an IGR here too. There are a lot of excellent products out there. And some not so excellent products.

Knowing how to fight your flea problem (or prevent one) is the key to your success. Your veterinarian is the best place to start. They have researched the products and medications they carry and have the training to back up this knowledge. Fleas are not just a parasite problem, they are a medical problem. Who better than your veterinarian should instruct you on the best medication and plan for fighting fleas? They also have trained staff that can answer any questions you may have as well so don’t hesitate to contact them. You CAN beat fleas. Knowledge is your key.

    Lazuli Bunting mother and nestlings - Jim Cruce

Lazuli Bunting mother and nestlings - Jim Cruce

From Original article:

The following is a quick guide to help you make the right decision when a baby bird is found.

Many species of birds such as robins, scrub jays, crows and owls leave the nest and spend as many as 2-5 days on the ground before they can fly. This is a normal and vital part of the young birds’ development. While they are on the ground, the birds are cared for and protected by their parents and are taught vital life skills (finding food, identifying predators, flying).

Taking these birds into captivity denies them the opportunity to learn skills they will need to survive in the wild. Unless a bird is injured, it is essential to leave them outside to learn from their parents.

Before taking any baby bird out of the wild, please contact the Wildlife Care Center at 503-292-0304.

Nestlings on the Ground

If you are concerned that a bird fell from its nest too early, you may try and return the bird to its nest. If the nest has been destroyed or is unreachable, you may substitute a strawberry basket or small box lined with tissue and suspend it from a branch near to where you believe its nest is located.

Birds have a poor sense of smell and very strong parental instincts, which means they will usually continue caring for their young. However, adult birds are cautious after any type of disturbance and it may take several hours before they approach the nestling. During this period it is essential that humans not approach the nestling.

Fledglings on the Ground

Fledglings are typically fully feathered, with a short tail and wings. They are able to walk, hop and flap, and they may attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by the parents.

If you find a fledgling, it should be left alone or at the most placed in a nearby shrub. Keep people and pets away so the parents will continue to care for it until it can fly.

Placing fledglings back into nests is typically only a short-term solution, as they will quickly re-emerge. Moving fledglings to entirely new locations is also ineffective, as they are still dependent on their parents for survival and will quickly starve.

Common Questions and Concerns

Why can’t I raise the baby bird myself or bring it to the Wildlife Care Center?
Raising wild birds in captivity is always a last resort and should only occur when a young bird is known to be injured or orphaned. Although it may seem “safer” to raise young birds in captivity, birds raised without the benefit of learning from their parents only have a minimal chance of survival when released.

My neighborhood is full of cats, dogs, cars and other potential hazards
These are very real hazards and do lead to mortalities; however, all young birds face hazards regardless of whether they live on urban, suburban or wild landscapes. The best thing you can do is to try to reduce hazards wherever possible. Bringing individual baby birds into captivity will not help either its siblings or the many other birds nesting in your neighborhood.

I feel like I need to do something to help this bird
As difficult as it may be, oftentimes the best thing you can do is leave a baby bird alone and try to reduce neighborhood hazards. A baby bird may seem helpless and vulnerable, but many do survive even in the most urban of locations. While it may feel safer, removing young birds from the wild usually reduces their chance for survival.

So you want me to wait until the bird is injured to bring it to you?
Our hope is that you will be able to help reduce some of the hazards facing baby birds in your neighborhood. This is the best way to not only protect the bird you have found, but also all the wildlife in your neighborhood.

The Wildlife Care Center is a hospital, and bringing healthy baby birds to a rehabilitation facility to prevent them from being injured makes no more sense than raising healthy human children at a hospital to prevent them from becoming sick.

Special Cases


Vaux’s Swifts

Many people are surprised to hear very noisy birds chattering in their chimney in the late spring. These are almost always Vaux’s Swifts.

Vaux's Swift Nest - Paul Campbell

Vaux's Swift Nest - Paul Campbell

Swifts attach stick nests to chimney walls using saliva. Their young have Velcro-like feet that allow them to actually climb up and down the walls of the chimney. Occasionally a youngster will be found at the bottom of the chimney.

The best thing to do is to reach up and affix the bird to the wall of the chimney above the fireplace (it will grab hold) and close the flue behind it. Swifts are almost impossible to raise in captivity, so reuniting fallen swifts with their parents is essential. Learn more about Vaux’s Swifts.

Owls are some of the earliest birds to fledge. Young owlets leave the nest and begin exploring nearby branches long before they are able to fly. Sometimes a swift gust of wind or a misstep will bring them to the ground.

If you find a young owl on the ground, try placing it on the highest nearby branch you can find. They will frequently make their way back up the tree.

Killdeer are notorious for nesting in highly traveled areas. Their young are precocial and are able to walk and feed themselves at hatching.

Killdeer - Jim Cruce

Killdeer - Jim Cruce

People frequently hear young killdeer doing their high-pitched peeping and feel compelled to rescue them. In most cases, a parent is hiding nearby and will return as soon as the area is vacated.

Ducklings and Goslings
Many of our urban parks are overcrowded with waterfowl. As a result, female mallards and geese will often nest far from water and then have to lead their young back to the park when they hatch.

Ducklings and goslings are precocial, meaning they are able to walk and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. People are often temped to “rescue” goslings and ducklings when they see them traveling near busy roads with their mothers.

These well-intentioned interventions usually end badly with the mother spooking and orphaning her young, or with the young scattering and getting run over. It is far more helpful to allow them to proceed as a group and to try and stop traffic for them wherever it is safe to do so. Learn more about urban ducks.

Did You Know?

  • At least 209 bird species have been documented in the Portland metropolitan area.
  • The largest known Vaux’s Swift roost in the world occurs every fall at the Chapman School in northwest Portland. As many as 35,000 swifts congregate there for their fall migration. Learn more about the Chapman swifts.
  • Four percent of the known Peregrine Falcon nests in the state of Oregon occur within Portland City limits.
  • Our parks and greenspaces serve as valuable rest-over spots for migrating neotropical songbirds.
  • Cat predation is the number-one cause of wildlife intake and mortality at the Wildlife Care Center – it accounts for as many as forty percent of animals brought to our facility.


Common Songbird Maturation Schedule (varies by species)

Age Day Description
Hatchling 0-3 Wisps of natal down on body, eyes closed
Nestling 3 Eyes open
4 Primary feathers (also called pin feathers) pierce skin, they look like blue tubes sticking out of the skin
6 Nestling responds to alarm call of parent
7 Primary feathers unsheath
10 Bird is alert, stretches wings and legs
Fledgling 13-14 Able to flutter and hop from branch to branch, fully feathered, but has short tail and wings, leaves the nest
14-28 They do not return to the nest, but are still fed by the adults in nearby trees or on the ground if the young have not yet mastered flying