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Care of Orphaned Wildlife
Before you try to rescue an orphaned wildlife baby, it is important to be sure that your help is needed. Here are important tips for determining if a wild baby does need your help, and how to help.
- Most birds have a poor sense of smell. Replace an infant bird back in the nest if you can find the nest and reach it safely.
- Bird nests that have fallen can be wired back in the tree as close to the original site as possible.
- Fledgling birds are learning to self-feed and fly, and are usually on the ground for long periods of time with parents nearby. Children and pets should be kept away from fledglings. Do Not pick them up!
- Young animals will explore away from their nest or den. If you see a young animal on the ground moving and crying, observe them quietly from a safe distance (for less than an hour) to see if a parent retrieves them.
- Wild babies only need help if they are cold, injured, dehydrated or emaciated. However, mother squirrels will rarely retrieve a baby that has fallen from the nest.
- If you find a nest of baby bunnies pour a ring of baking flour around the outside of the nest and wait 10-12 hours to see if there are footprints in the flour. If you do not see footprints contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
- If you find a fawn, do not approach it or attempt to touch it. Does’ will leave their fawns in a safe hideaway during the day and will not return until night. If a dog or person scares the fawn, it will usually run and hide in a different location. When the mother returns at night, she will call out to the fawn until she locates it. Fawns may lie in the same location for several days. As long as the doe feels it is safe, she will not move her fawn. Please contact us before doing anything with what you believe is an injured or abandoned fawn.
What To Do If You Find a Baby Animal or Bird
- Warm the baby by cupping it in your hands until you can put it in a safe container with a heat source such as a heating pad on low or a hot water bottle. Be sure that there is a part of the container where the baby can get off of the heat source. Put a small, thin blanket, polar fleece or towel with no loose loops or strings between the baby and the heat source. Roll a hand towel into a doughnut shape to create a nest and place the baby in the center of the ring with a small piece of polar fleece both below and above the baby so that he feels as though he is still in the safety of his nest. Make sure the container has air holes for the baby to breathe.
- Do Not Attempt to Feed or Give Liquids of Any Kind to the Baby! Do not ever give cows’ milk to any baby – this can cause diarrhea and Aspiration Pneumonia if done incorrectly!!
- Keep the baby in a quiet, dark, warm and safe location to avoid further stress.
- Call an experienced Wildlife Rehabilitator Immediately!
Cheryl at Nottingham +1 (517) 488-7451 or +1 (517) 351-7304
Carolyn Tropp +1 (517) 927-7578 – Specializing in ducks and geese
Wildside Rehabilitation Center +1 (517) 663-6153 – Specializing in raptors and opossums