HMNer, Kate Guenther, has launched a new educational website to assist nature educators and wildlife rehabilitators to quickly and easily look up what wildlife plant foods eastern US birds and mammals eat. Check it out at www.wildfoods4wildlife.com and also check out the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/wildfoods4wildlife/
Kate saw the need for this project when she was on staff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. She wanted to increase the amount of wild plant foods the wildlife patients temporarily in the hospital had in their diets. Though volunteer foragers were able and eager to assist by bringing wild foods, it was difficult for the staff rehabilitators to quickly and easily know which patients to give which foods to.
Before this project, some of the best resources to list wildlife plant foods were in books from the 1950’s- hardly modern, online access. The idea was born to bring these resources to the web for quick field and clinic access for educators and rehabilitators—and anyone interested in knowing what wild foods our wildlife mammals and birds eat.
This new website uses data from three main sources: two wonderful books particularly: Marcy Scott Rule’s Songbird Diet Index and Martin, Zim and Nelson’s American Wildlife & Plants, A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. The other significant source of the data comes from the US Forest Service’s website database: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/AboutFEIS/about.html.
Hopefully Virginia Master Naturalists will find the new website to be a good field tool when educating the public about plants, habitat and the critters who live there. Enjoy!
– Kate Guenther, Cohort I, November 2017
Below, Kate is wrapping up three days of tabling and talks at the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s 2017 Call of the Wild conference where she introduced her project to wildlife rehabilitators from around the state and beyond.