If you have a wildlife concern, please go through the links below
to get help and advice on what action to take. If you still need assistance,
please call our Wildlife Helpline at 780-914-4118.
Take a look at the information below and follow the recommended steps. For more information and clarification call our Wildlife Helpline directly at 780-914-4118. If we do not answer live, please leave us a voicemail — we deal with over 12,000 phone calls each year; 7,000 of which are coming in between May and August. Thank you for your concern for wildlife!
- Participating Vet Clinics
- Injured Wildlife
- Baby/Orphaned Wildlife
- Contaminated Wildlife
- Domestic animal
- “Nuisance” or “Problem” Wildlife
- Other Wildlife Concerns
- Trapped Wildlife
- Wildlife in Central or Southern Alberta
- Reporting Wildlife Sightings
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I have found a wild animal that I am concerned about, what do I do?
If you have found injured, orphaned, or contaminated wildlife, please go through one of the links above in regards to your concern. These will help you figure out what action to take. If you still need assistance, call our Wildlife Helpline at 780-914-4118. Your call is very important to us. When you call, you may have to leave a voicemail message. Please be patient as we deal with the animals currently in our care, or other phone calls. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
These are the main questions to answer:
- Is the animal injured or orphaned, or are you seeing natural behaviours?
- If the animal is obviously injured (i.e. visible blood or dangling limb), or if you know for certain that it is orphaned; and if you are comfortable doing so, you may rescue (collect) small animals and birds that are injured or orphaned. Please follow the instructions provided by WILDNorth Helpline staff to protect yourself and the animal.
- It is extremely important that once you have collected a wild animal you arrange to bring it to WILDNorth. If you cannot make it to one of our facilities please bring to one of our participating vet clinics as soon as possible.
We intake wildlife at our Wildlife Hospital (12515 128 Street, Edmonton). If possible, please transport wildlife to this location, and not to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Parkland County. If you need to admit wildlife outside of our hours, please see our list of Participating Veterinary Clinics that will accept wildlife on our behalf.
*It is extremely important that once you have collected a wild animal you arrange to bring it to care. Do not attempt to treat wildlife on your own. WILDNorth has the ability to provide the topmost care for wildlife. Additionally, most wild animals are protected by law, and having them in captivity without a special permit could result in prosecution.
What happens when I leave an animal at your facility?
- Animals are assessed for life-threatening injuries and are stabilized
- When stable, animals are given an initial thorough examination
- If rehabilitation is not possible, humane euthanasia is provided
- Animals are weighed and compared to normal for the species
- Injuries are evaluated and treated
- Fluid therapy is given to treat dehydration
- X-rays are done on-site at our Wildlife Hospital
- Medication and ongoing care, including wound care, physiotherapy, and sometimes alternative therapies such as acupuncture, is sought
- Consultation with our staff & volunteer veterinarians
- Animals are cage rested to minimize movement and promote healing
- Animals are moved to species-appropriate spaces as the injuries heal
- Food appropriate for the species is provided and food intake is monitored
- Animals are tube fed if necessary
- Orphaned birds or mammals are hand fed until able to eat on their own
- Animals are assessed to be sure they are able to feed and protect themselves in the wild
- Orphaned raptors are fostered into another nest to be raised by their own species. Canada Geese are also receptive foster parents.
- A suitable environment is found for the animal’s release (when appropriate, animal is returned to the area found)
A bird just hit my window, what do I do?
The most important thing to do for a bird that has flown into a window is to protect it from predators (even cats and dogs) by collecting it and placing it in a cardboard box that has a lid and ventilation holes. Keep it warm to conserve energy and keep it in a dark, quiet place so its brain is not trying to process excess stimulation.
Usually, after an hour in a box the bird will recover and begin to move around, at this point it is likely ready to be released. Take the box outside before lifting the lid. If, after an hour, the bird does not appear to be alert or if any injuries, swelling of the head or bleeding of the mouth is evident, we ask that you please bring the animal in to care at our Wildlife Hospital (12515 128 Street, Edmonton). If you need to admit wildlife outside of our hours, please see our list of Participating Veterinary Clinics that will accept wildlife on our behalf.
* Please do not attempt to give the bird food or water; if it is suffering from head trauma this can be dangerous for the bird.
** In the spring, male robins are notorious for flying repeatedly into windows. They see their own reflection and interpret that as a rival male bird in their territory. They attack in the attempt to make it go away and often people view this as the bird attempting to get into the house. Usually, this behavior only lasts for a couple of weeks in the spring. In this case, you’ll need to physically cover the window so that the robin can no longer see his reflection.
You can prevent birds from hitting windows by:
- Closing curtains/blinds on problem windows
- Ensure bird feeders are either very close, or very far from windows.
- Hanging sun-catchers or window decorations to break up the reflection of the window.
- Hanging survey tape or streamers to the outside of the window. These move easily in the wind to break up reflections.
- Using a hawk cut-out (that a WILDNorth volunteer has made) as a reflection breaker, which can be found here. It is best to put multiple reflection breakers on the outside of your windows.
- Window Alert stickers or Collidescape (or other reflective window coverings) can be purchased at several local stores like Wild Birds Unlimitedor Wildbird General Store.
- You may need to do a combination of the above methods. If these are unsuccessful, you may resort to attaching fine screening to the outside of the window for the birds to ‘bounce’ off of.
If a bird has struck your window, we encourage you to report it at https://birdmapper.org/app/
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call our wildlife helpline at 780-914-4118.
What types of wildlife can be brought to WILDNorth?
WILDNorth is permitted to treat all species of birds and most small mammals. We are unable to accept the following species but we are able to answer questions regarding them:
- Adult skunks (we are able to accept baby skunks)
- Large Carnivores – wolves, bobcat, lynx, cougars, adult bears, etc.
- Larger hooved mammals such as: adult deer, adult moose, etc. If you find a larger mammal injured, please contact Fish and Wildlife at 780-427-3574
I am concerned about Canada Geese during the nesting season. What should I do?
It is normal for Canada Geese to nest on or near construction sites, rooftops, balconies, parking lots, decks, yards, walkways, and other types of human built structures. Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, and it is illegal to tamper with a nest once it is made. The best way to avoid conflict with Canada Goose nests is to discourage geese from nesting in these areas. Once you notice a goose or pair of geese scouting out an inappropriate area, please call our Wildlife Helpline (780-914-4118) for advice on how to discourage them from nesting.
Canada Geese have adapted well to urban environments, and they are quite common within the City of Edmonton. Canada Geese begin scouting out nesting sites in March. They often nest far from water and will nest on the ground or in elevated nesting sites (tops of hay bales, man-made nesting structures, balconies or roof tops). Once they have selected a site, the female will lay one egg a day. They can lay up to 12 eggs. The mother goose will begin to incubate the eggs – the birds in the best condition are the ones nesting, and these animals are built for this long nesting period with limited food and water. It then takes about 25-30 days for the chicks to hatch. Once the chicks hatch, the mother will brood them for a day or two. After the first few days, the chicks will follow their parents on foot and leave the nest site. The adult geese know where a water source is, and will gradually lead the chicks to the water source. The adults protect their young with usually one adult in the lead and one adult behind the chicks. If the nest is above ground, the parents will fly down to the ground and begin calling to their goslings, encouraging them to jump down and join them.
Please note: Canada Geese have been known to nest in high up areas, away from predators. Goslings are very hardy creatures, and can withstand quite a long drop.
To download an poster about nesting Canada Geese, click here.
For more information about Canada Geese, click here.
For more information about Migratory Birds, click here.
I am concerned about White-tailed Prairie Hares (Jackrabbits) during breeding season (March-September). What should I do?
If you find a baby hare, leave it right there!
White-tailed Prairie Hares (aka Jackrabbits) are born fully furred with their eyes open. Hares are generally born March through September. New-born hares are able to hop around shortly after birth; they do NOT grow up in a nest. Hares are more active at night. The female can find her young at night to nurse them and teach them survival skills.
Many people who find small hares alone during the day think they are orphaned. This is generally not the case. The mother hare leaves her babies alone so as not to attract predators to them. New-born hares stay very still when approached during the day. This is a normal survival strategy. At night, they become much more active and will run, jump and vocalize.
Do not pick it up!
Baby hares do not do well in captivity. They are prey species (an animal that is eaten by other animals) and are highly prone to stress when captured. It is always better for these babies to be left in their normal surroundings. If you find a baby hare, leave it right there!
If you have already collected the baby hare and are wondering what to do with it, please put it back where you found it. Gently rub the baby hare with some grass or leaves to mask the human scent you’ve left on it. Doing this will help protect the baby hare from predators such as cats and dogs that are attracted to human scent. The mother WILL NOT reject the baby if it smells like humans.
If you have found a baby hare that is truly orphaned or has an obvious and potentially life-threatening injury, please call our Wildlife Helpline at 780-914-4118.
To download an informative poster about baby hares, open the following: Baby Hare Poster
How do I properly capture and transport an animal to your shelter?
Animals respond to capture with “flight, fight or freeze”. This means that initially they try to escape, if possible, and younger animals will “freeze” in order to avoid detection. Fight response can include bawling, screaming, pecking, scratching, clawing, biting, and flapping of wings.
- Have an appropriate container ready.
- Protect yourself by wearing thick gloves, such as leather gloves. Do not put your face near the animal. Use a towel/blanket/sheet to throw over the animal and then gently pick it up and place it in to the appropriate container.
Here are a few tips for collecting mammals and birds:
- You may need leather gloves, eye protection, an old towel or sheet, and a box/carrier/crate for transport.
- Please note that the type of box you put the wild animal in is extremely important! A bird must be able to turn around in the box without damaging any of its feathers (feather integrity is very important for birds, ex: many birds of prey depend on their tail feathers to help them hover while hunting). Damaged feathers can make the difference between spending two weeks in rehabilitation versus six months!
- Make sure that any air holes are not large enough for the animal to poke its head out of, or it will do so until it is exhausted from trying to escape. Reduce the amount of visual and auditory stimuli. Dark and quiet is best.
- Use a towel or sheet (unless you are handling a porcupine) to drape over the animal before you pick it up. Do not use a towel to collect a porcupine – please get specific instructions from staff.
- Gently scoop the animal up (there are special instructions for adult hares and raptors, and any large wild animals – talk to staff before touching these animals) and place it in a cardboard box that it fits into comfortably and that is lined with a towel or paper towel.
Containers for Transport:
Containers should have a tangle free material (sheet, towel, paper towel) on the bottom to prevent the animal from sliding around during transport and the container should be large enough to allow for good ventilation. Water and food dishes should be removed when transporting.
Please cover containers with a blanket/sheet/towel, as this helps reduces visual stimuli and reduces stress levels in animals. Please keep the environment as quiet as possible, and do not peek in on the creature.
– These work the best for most birds except ravens (they are able to pierce the box with their beaks).
– Please put holes in the box before placing the animal inside.
Plastic cat carriers
– These also work for many animals, with some exceptions. Larger birds can damage their wing and tail feathers by getting them caught in the ventilation holes (covering the holes with box board will help). These carriers work well for most small mammals except squirrels, who can chew their way through the plastic.
Plastic totes or garbage cans (with ventilation holes), or wire cages
– These work best for porcupines. Porcupines can be transported in plastic totes or metal/plastic garbage cans with ventilation holes.
– Wire cages are not recommended for most birds as they can easily damage their feathers against the wire.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our Wildlife Helpline at 780-914-4118.
My pet caught a wild animal, what should I do?
If your cat or dog has caught a wild animal, please attempt to capture it and bring the animal to our Wildlife Hospital (12515 128 Street, Edmonton). Even if you do not see any obvious injuries, wildlife caught by a cat or a dog often need to be put on a round of antibiotics.
It is extremely important that once you have collected a wild animal you arrange to bring it to WILDNorth. If you cannot make it to one of our facilities please bring to one of our participating vet clinics as soon as possible.
See “What types of wildlife can be brought to WILDNorth?” and “How do I properly capture and transport an animal to your shelter?” above for further advice.
Did you know cats are the leading cause of death for songbirds in North America? For more information about this issue and how you can help, see Cats and Birds.
Why didn't anyone answer the phone?
Thank you for calling our helpline!
Sometimes we are unable to answer live;
- We may already be on the phone with another caller
- We may be dealing with a new animal being admitted
- We may be answering messages remotely
Please leave a message with details of your concern, and we will get back to you as soon as we can! We answer messages daily between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.