MINOCQUA - Birds often fly into your windows or doors. There is a strange explanation for that this time of year.
The temperature changes in the fall cause fruit to freeze and thaw. That cycle ferments berries, and birds that don't know the difference may eat them and become drunk.
Amanda Walsh, a wildlife rehabilitator at the Northwoods Animal Rehabilitation Center, knows what fall weather can do to food the animals she works with often eat.
"When the frost hits, the freeze and thaw kind of ferments the fruit inside the berries," Walsh said.
The problem comes when birds eat that fruit.
"They tend to act almost drunk, disorientated, flying in circles, running into windows repetitively, things like that," Amanda Schirmer, a wildlife rehabilitator the Animal Rehabilitation Center, said.
The wildlife rehab center in Minocqua has had animals brought to them drunk.
"In the time that I have been a rehabber here, we have seen it in a couple of Northern Cardinals," Walsh said.
Rehabbers diagnose the animals by feeling their joints to see if anything is wrong and checking if they are bleeding. Birds can recover from being drunk just like humans.
"It's the same thing if you go to the bar and drink too many. It's the same feeling that they will come out of it in a short period of time," said Schirmer.
Although the idea of animals getting drunk can sound humorous to some, too much alcohol can be dangerous.
"The danger is that they do try to fly and they hit a window or hit a car and they are unable to perform the behaviors that are normal to them," said Walsh.
If you see a bird acting strange, it might have just eaten some bad fruit.
"We do get a lot of freeze-thaw activity," Walsh said.
Walsh told us the phenomenon is even more common in Minnesota. If animals in your yard are acting strange, you can call the Northwoods Rehabilitation Center.
RHINELANDER - Running the master streamer on a Rhinelander firetruck gave Nick Heise a sense of control over an exciting situation this morning. The junior firefighter got the chance to do something he s never done before: go into a burning building and put out the fire.
"You can call us crazy, but we actually like to do it," Heise said. "Fire rolling over our heads and got to play with it and learn some stuff about fire behavior."
Rhinelander firefighters were practicing controlled burns along Ohlson Lane, just behind the Home Depot. Crews lit four sets of fires, with two on the top floor and two on the ground level, then burned the whole thing down and worked on putting that out.
RHINELANDER - The city of Rhinelander took a municipal well offline after its water was found to contain excessive levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the Oneida County Health Department and the city.
Since that well is turned off, "the public water system is ok to drink," stated the health department release.
"Based on current, available information, we can conclude that the water is not considered a potential threat to health and is safe to drink," read the city's release.
Some studies have shown people with PFAS expose may be at risk of increased cholesterol levels, worsening response to vaccines, a higher risk of thyroid disease, lower fertility in women, and an elevated risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander told residents this week its municipal water is safe to drink, responding to concerns of elevated chemical levels in city water.
On Monday night, the city said it had shut down Well 7 on June 24 after a test for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) came back showing excessive levels.
But on Tuesday morning, the Oneida County Health Department couldn't offer a similar assurance about the purity of private wells in the area.
PFAS refers to a group of manmade chemicals that may cause higher cholesterol, low infant birthweights, and lower female fertility, among other health risks. The manmade chemical is found in products like food wrappers, stain-resistant fabrics, and nail polish.
RACINE - A Racine woman is accused of leaving her 3-year-old grandson in a hot vehicle while she shopped at the Dollar Tree.
A criminal complaint says police were called when someone spotted the toddler in the vehicle with the windows up Friday when temperatures were in the 90s. The complaint says first responders broke a window to rescue the boy who was "limp and very warm to the touch."
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