Hilden animal rehab centre busy in aftermath of tropical storm

Published on July 14, 2014
This bittern, a heron-like bird, is still recovering since being displaced from its habitat during tropical storm Arthur on July 5. It was one of many animals, mostly birds, that were taken to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Hilden after the storm.
Submitted photo

HILDEN – It’s taken more than a week after tropical storm Arthur, but things are finally beginning to settle at a local wildlife rehab centre.

Helene Van Doninck, owner of the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
in Hilden, told the Truro Daily News that before the storm hit on July 5, the centre had about 40 animals in its care.

After Arthur blew out of the area, there were more than 60 animals in need of care. Most of the new “clients” were birds.

“A few didn’t survive but some have been in and out already. We still have about a dozen or so that are still here and calls had been coming in right up to last weekend,” said Van Doninck.

Most of the storm-related calls, she said, were reports of downed bird nests. One call came from as far away as Yarmouth about a downed osprey nest, while one local caller saw a squirrel nest that was misplaced.

Van Doninck said some of the cases were disappointing, for example, a baby eagle nest in the Little Dyke area that was toppled upside down in the storm. One injured eagle had to be euthanized, while it’s believed another baby is missing.

Other cases are more optimistic, said Van Doninck. One heron-type of bird, a bittern, was rescued after ending up in a dry hay field in the storm, as opposed to its natural water habitat.

“It’s still here but it should be a successful release.”

Van Doninck offers some wisdom for future storms that could impact wild animals.

“Look to see if there really is a problem before intervening. If the bird is feathered, back off. It may be that the parents are around to help it.”

Also, residents should avoid trimming trees, in which birds could be nesting, during the nesting season. That time spans from May to August, she said.

“Or wait until the babies are gone, which could only be a month or so.”

As for community support for the rehab centre, Van Doninck said the busy facility is always in need of donations, including sheets, towels, food and financial contributions.



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