Warm temperatures increase wildlife births in Lubbock area

Updated: Nov. 1, 2016 at 6:43 PM CDT
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Gail Barnes, executive director at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (Source:...
Gail Barnes, executive director at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (Source: KCBD Video)
Barnes in the flight barn (Source: KCBD Video)
Barnes in the flight barn (Source: KCBD Video)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Rain and warmer temperatures are bringing more wildlife to the Lubbock area.

The city saw record-breaking warmth on Tuesday, and this heat is contributing to the growth of local wildlife.

Animals typically give birth in the spring, but the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center tells us they've seen a few births recently and that they've seen more animals this year than in the past 28 years since the center opened.

"The rain we got has created ample food supply and habitat," says Gail Barnes, executive director of the center. "As the weather is warm, we have more food supply."

Barnes attributes this unusual amount of wildlife to last year's rain and this season's unusual heat.

"Today, we have a baby bobcat, we have woodpecker eggs - normally we wouldn't be seeing these types of eggs or babies this time of year, because it should be cold," she says.

And this weather could impact the animals once they're released.

"It's going to have an effect, because it'll be hard to release them in the winter," she explains.

The executive director says they pick their release times carefully and do their best to keep the babies safe.

"We'll have to do what's called a soft release, where they go to places that have back-up feeding and people will provide food for them, until the spring comes and there's ample food supply for them to be able to hunt on their own," she says.

She says the weather has kept the rehab center busy this season.

"This is normally our slow time, right now," Barnes says. "It ends about in the middle of October and then we pick back up in March. We haven't stopped, yet."

"Usually we take in about 2,700 orphaned and injured native wildlife, each year," she says. "This year, we're already over 3,000 and we still have two months to go in the year."

She says they're seeing more foxes in the county, along with rodents.

"We're seeing an ample supply of rabbits, cotton-tails, jackrabbits, mice," she says.

But, she tells us there is no reason to be alarmed.

"You need to enjoy wildlife and preserve it for our future generations," she says.

Barnes also wants to remind everyone that you should not touch any of the wild animals you may encounter.

She suggests that residents stay away and call the proper authorities such as, animal control or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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