ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department oversaw an animal rescue last week. One of the city’s urban biologists responded to a call from a concerned resident about 10 quail chicks being trapped in a storm drain outside of her house.

Nick Pederson who is the Urban Biology Division Manager within the Environment Health Department said because chicks are so small, it’s easy for them to fall into storm drains, and often their siblings will follow suit. In this instance, the mother went into the drain to be with the babies and the father was chirping nearby which is what attracted the resident’s attention in the first place.

Pederson said they are able to remove the storm drain grate and enter the drain to capture the trapped animals with a butterfly net. He said the parents of the chicks took them back immediately after being reunited.

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According to Pederson, this is one of the many services the division provides to the city. “The city has an urban wildlife program and our focus is on conservation and coexistence with the species that live here. Part of that is urban birds,” Pederson said.

He said in most cases, there isn’t much that needs to be done when it comes to injured birds. “A lot of birds leave the nest before they’re capable of flight. That fledging process means they might be on the ground for a while,” Pederson said. “People might not need to do anything. But if a bird is injured or hurt, we encourage people to call local wildlife rehabbers and take those birds to them.”

In cases when birds are trapped in a drain or pool or yard, the division biologists are available to help with those rescues of baby animals or of animals like skunks, especially now that we are in what Pederson calls ‘baby season.’ “We have wildlife biologists on staff and we can assist with wildlife issues in and around people’s properties,” Pederson said.

If people come across injured or baby birds, the department has provided an online guide to help residents figure out when to leave them alone and when to bring in additional help. For more information, visit the Environment Health Department’s website.