Wild Babies of the Month: June
Wild baby arrivals begin to slow down in June, as hot and dry weather arrives in Central Oregon. Goldfinches will have their first hatchlings this month, as well as Douglas Squirrels, one of our smaller tree squirrel species that reside primarily in the mountains, also known as pine squirrels or chickarees. While Douglas Squirrels might get a later start than our other small mammals, they will still have time to raise a second litter in October! Another Central Oregonian who raises a second set of wild babies, the Song Sparrow, will be hatching their second nest of the season this month.
Pygmy rabbits, a scarce and vulnerable sagebrush-dependent species, are avidly digging burrows in which to raise their young. These small lagomorphs are federally endangered in the state of Washington, and a conservation focus here in Oregon. They are unique in that they dig a “natal burrow” separate from their residential burrow, but like other rabbits, they only visit their young once or twice a day to nurse. This helps reduce the chance of a predator finding the nest!
Another important mammal in our ecosystem is having wild babies this month–the bat! Although we may not have the large, charismatically fox-faced fruit bats, did you know that there are 15 species of bats native to Oregon? All of these bats feed on insects like mosquitoes, spiders, beetles, and moths. Some nest in caves, but surprisingly many nest in our plentiful lava rock and other rock formations. They form maternity or nursery colonies and even help nurse each other’s young while mothers are foraging. Hoary bats and Silver-haired bats often bear twins! Please try not to disturb these small families whenever possible. Call Think Wild’s Wildlife Hotline for guidance if you do find yourself in conflict with our native pest-controllers, at 541.241.8680.
Written by: Lindsay Magill