Six opossum joeys found without their mother and an ovenbird strikes store windows

October 21, 2021

An ovenbird and six Virginia opossums were among the fifty-four animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a clapper rail, a red-eyed vireo, a common ground dove, an eastern screech owl, a striped mud turtle and a marsh rabbit.

Opossum Joeys Found Without Their Mother

A woman called the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for assistance after discovering six opossum joeys scattered in the grass when she took her dogs out to the back yard. Initially she was hesitant to pick up the joeys and asked if we could send someone to help. When a hospital volunteer couldn’t respond immediately, she gathered the babies and placed them in a box. 

This opossum admission was unusual because the mother opossum was not with her babies. The joeys were too underdeveloped (naked and eyes closed) to survive outside of their mother’s pouch. How the young joeys ended up scattered around the yard is unclear. 

The joeys were injured and showed signs of trauma when admitted with lacerations and bruising on their heads and bodies.

Due to the young age and severity of injuries, the only option was humane euthanasia. Making these decisions is incredibly difficult yet staff knew that it was the only viable option for the delicate opossum babies. 

Typically, opossums are injured or killed after a dog attack or a vehicle strike. Dog attacks are preventable if pet owners monitor their dogs when they are outdoors. Please, ensure your beloved pets’ well-being and the health and safety of local wildlife by monitoring pets when they are outside. 

Opossums are nocturnal meaning they are most active at night. Striking an animal with your car may be avoidable if you obey speed limits and stay focused while driving at night, especially if you are in an area where wildlife is present.

If you see a dead opossum on the side of the road, please check to ensure it isn’t a mother with live babies. It is very common to find an injured or dead female opossum with live babies in her pouch. Place the mother with her joeys in a box and bring her to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. Staff will remove the babies from the mother and make sure no babies are over looked. 

If you have questions or concerns regarding native wildlife, call the wildlife hospital for information and guidance.

Ovenbird Collides Into Store Windows

The ovenbird was found at an outdoor mall in Ft. Myers. The bird was struggling and unable to fly after colliding with two store windows.

Ovenbirds are one of many species of migratory birds passing through our area during fall migration. This ovenbird was one of six migratory birds admitted last week after being injured from window strikes.

A physical exam showed the ovenbird’s mentation was dull and there was a slight droop to its left wing. The ovenbird received arnica tincture to reduce inflammation and was placed on oxygen in an animal intensive care unit to rest.

Ovenbird resting in our animal ICU

The following day the ovenbird showed signs of improvement and the wing droop was no longer evident. Staff test flew the ovenbird in an indoor flight space and the ovenbird got some height, but tired quickly. Further medical care is being provided as the ovenbird continues to recover in the bird room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

Colliding with windows is a leading cause of bird mortality in the United States. Large expanses of glass cause hazardous situations for birds. Reflective glass fools birds into thinking there is an open flyway. 

Migratory birds face so many dangers and preventing collisions with windows is something every homeowner and business can do that could potentially save millions of birds’ lives every year.

Visit for further information on techniques that will eliminate the reflectiveness of windows and solutions that will prevent birds from colliding with windows.

Recent Releases

A painted bunting, two gopher tortoises, a sanderling, four grey squirrels, three eastern cottontails, two Florida box turtles and a Cooper’s hawk were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Volunteers help in many different capacities and are vital to the success of our work.

Contact our volunteer office to dedicate one four-hour shift a week to help in the wildlife hospital.

Call 239.403.4212 or email James Kintz at

We need you to take action and get involved! Your volunteer time, donations, and memberships truly help us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.