It’s very common to find baby wildlife this time of year.  While you may want to spring into action and “rescue” baby squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc. when you don’t see their mom around, wildlife experts will tell you that well-meaning “rescuers” are actually “kidnappers”—taking babies away when their mother is alive and well.

The best advice from the experts is wait and observe…as this neat infographic from Colorado’s Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center explains:

Here in California, the San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program has great information on its website about what to do if you find wild critters in your neighborhood that look like they might need rescuing, whether they’re babies, injured, or just made their way into your home.

As a general rule, when you see babies without mom nearby, don’t assume that they are orphans in need of rescuing.  Keep an eye on them if you are not 100% sure that mom is really gone.

Defenders of Wildlife has these great common-sense tips to keep in mind if you find wild babies in your yard:

  • Keep your distance if you want to take a photo, or better yet, skip the photo session!
  • Keep your cats and dogs inside to make sure that the babies stay safe. It’s also a good idea to make sure that children stay away from the babies.
  • It’s OK to place a baby bird back in its nest. If you don’t see the nest you can place it in a small container in the likely tree.  It’s a myth that the mom will reject the baby bird if you touch it.
  • Avoid pruning trees and shrubs during nesting season.
  • Sick or injured babies should only be cared for by specially-trained wildlife rehabilitators.


10 thoughts on “If You Find Baby Wildlife: Important Tips

  1. Great advice – I always get anxious about baby birds at this time of year, so I am always watchful, especially with my four cats x

  2. Thanks for sharing – there are baby rabbits sometimes shivering in my front doorstep. I never really know what to do especially when it’s there for hours without a mom 😞

  3. Baby birds out of their nest breaks my heart. If they aren’t flying yet, there is no way that they can return home without someone’s help. But, I guess you need to make sure that they have fallen and that the mom isn’t trying to teach them to fly. I was privileged to witness a mother owl teaching her three chicks how to fly one year. So cute!

    1. Yes, it is really hard to know what to do about baby birds. They do sit on the ground and rest when they’re learning to fly sometimes. Saw that with a couple of baby hawks once …watched them a while and they were fine.

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