PALM CITY, Fla. - Tropical Depression Debby's winds are displacing baby wild animals, according to the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center.
Experts say gusts are pushing squirrel and bird nests out of treetops. The babies are left to fend for themselves, out of their element. That is, unless a kind passerby spots them and takes action.
A few dozen of the lucky babies are nesting at the Wildlife Center in Palm City. Sometimes they're healthy; sometimes they're injured. Broken wings or feet aren't out of the question when they fall from nests, says Treasure Coast Wildlife Center Director Dan Martinelli.
Right now, the hospital is taking care of three squirrels that are so young, their eyes are still sealed shut. One is starting to get fur. The rest are bald. And all three are so small, they can each easily fit in the palm of your hand. There are young song birds, including two teenage mockingbirds, which are Florida's state bird.
Martinelli says the hospital accepts animals from across the Treasure Coast.
"Any strong afternoon thunderstorm is likely to dislodge some babies. But it's localized, so it's only in that neighborhood. An event like this that encompasses the entirety of our area is much more significant," said Martinelli.
The babies require special formula, heating pads and sometimes medical care.
If you see a baby, Martinelli says, put it back in its nest. If the nest is gone or damaged, bring it to the hospital immediately. And whatever you do, he says, don't feed it anything.
The Treasure Coast Wildlife Center (http://www.tcwh.org/) says within the next couple of days, the number of baby patients could triple. That's because forecasters were predicting Tuesday night that winds will gust through Thursday.
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