The first baby owls, skunks, and opossums of the year arrived in March along with phone calls about rabbit, squirrel, and bird nests. Baby bobcats and coyotes are already being spotted in wild dens. As these dedicated parents tend to their young and try to find enough food, they are seen more often by humans and are at a higher risk to come into conflict. In addition to orphans or unthrifty juveniles, adult victims of vehicles strikes, dog incidents, and poisonings are a regular occurrence at the Wildlife Center during the busy baby season.
As we head into the busier time of year for wildlife, there are a number of things that you can to do help:
Check for nests. Before trimming trees or mowing the yard, perform a thorough check for any nests that might be in the area. Postpone tree-trimming until nests are empty. Rabbits nest in shallow depressions in the ground; their nests are sometimes found when mowing lawns and fields. Young rabbits grow up quickly and will leave their nests within three weeks. In the meantime, mow around the nest, providing a few feet of safety.
Ask: ‘Is this animal truly orphaned?’ Many times, young wild animals are found alone, leading would-be human rescuers to believe that these young animals have been orphaned or abandoned. Some animal parents do not supervise their children all day long. Baby rabbits and young deer fawns, for example, are left alone during the day. In other cases, a young animal may have been separated from its parents or mother, and just needs assistance with reuniting. If you’re unsure if the animal you found truly needs assistance, please call first! You only want to rescue an animal in distress, not kidnap a perfectly healthy baby.
Don’t feed them anything! If you do find an orphaned or injured young animal, please don’t feed it. Wild animals have special diets, each unique to their species. Feeding food that humans eat or domestics animals eat can cause serious problems in wildlife. Feeding techniques for young animals can be tricky as well.
In every case, it’s best to first contact The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator nearest you. If you have questions about wildlife, please don’t hesitate to contact the Wildlife Center at 760-789-2324 and one of our volunteers can assist you with understanding the best option for the situation. For non-emergency inquiries, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.