St. Francis Wildlife Association takes on "baby season"

By: Brittany Bedi
April 19, 2017

QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) - Cages and incubators are filling up at St. Francis Wildlife Refuge. Everything from songbirds, to owls, and various mammals are keeping staff and volunteers busy. It’s a sure sign that “baby season” in full swing.

Baby season is the time of year when most local wildlife give birth and take care of young.

In North Florida and South Georgia, it generally runs from March to October. Last year, St. Francis Wildlife cared for more than 3,000 injured animals. Staff say that they could potentially take in more animals this year.

Teresa Stevenson is a biologist and director at St. Francis Wildlife.

"Most of the animals we admit are here because they got in trouble directly or indirectly by human activities," said Stevenson.

St. Francis has several songbirds that are being fed multiple times every hour.
Those birds and the rest of the animals have detailed medical charts to track progress.

A baby bobcat is one of the newest patients.
The bobcat is just a few days old. Its eyes are not fully open yet.
It was found in a wooded area down the street from the wildlife hospital.

"They were clearing a big area in the woods, so there were tractors and machines and a lot of people,” said Stevenson. “Luckily they found this baby bobcat."

Stevenson believes the mother heard the equipment and ran, possibly grabbing other babies. St. Francis Wildlife plans to release it where the mother lives, and wait to see if she picks him up. If the mother doesn't return for the baby, St. Francis will try to bring it to another wildlife facility with a bobcat. From there, the bobcats would grow up together.

St. Francis Wildlife cares for injured and orphaned wildlife, but they want people to remember that not all unattended young are orphaned.

"If you happen to see a nest with baby birds that fell off the tree, please try to put it back,” said Stevenson. “Little birds do a lot better with their parents."

With baby season in full swing, the nonprofit is also looking for volunteers to help take care of the animals. Click HERE for contact information for St. Francis Wildlife Association.