This harsh winter has been hard on all of us, and it's also taken a toll on our wildlife, especially waterfowl and songbirds. February is on record for the most number of injured birds a wildlife clinic in North Kingstown has taken during a winter season.
Kristin Fletcher, executive director of Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, said frozen waters have made it difficult for waterfowl to fish. The nonprofit’s clinic is taking care of emaciated and dehydrated birds, including many Canada geese. Fletcher said winter is usually the clinic's quiet season.
"So we may get - depending in what's going on - maybe 25 birds and animals per month,” she said. “And we're well over 150 for February alone."
Fletcher said the clinic is taking care of lots of songbirds in addition to several Canada geese. She thinks all that snow is making these smaller birds more visible to predators.
"So I think these hawks are coming through and there’s nowhere for them to go,” Fletcher said. “They [the songbirds] scatter. And a lot of them are hitting windows." Fletcher said as a result, raptors are doing very well this winter.
Fletcher said the clinic also took in three opossums with frost bite. It continues to receive injured birds every day. With limited clinic space, licensed volunteers are taking birds home, until they fully recover and the weather improves.
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