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Wild animals of all shapes and sizes are born during the spring and summer. In your own backyard, you may come across baby birds, rabbits, fawns, raccoons and other young wildlife as they make they make their way into the world. The pleasure of seeing these young creatures can come with a sense of protectiveness—of wanting to help them survive. But spotting a baby animal by himself doesn't necessarily mean he's an orphan. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone, sometimes for long periods, throughout the day.

When to call a local wildlife rehabilitator (find help locally at wildliferehabber.org) or other professional for assistance:

  • A wild animal presented to you by a cat or dog
  • An obvious broken limb or wing
  • Bleeding
  • Shivering
  • A dead parent nearby.

Make the animal more comfortable for transport or until help arrives:

  • Punch holes, from the inside out, into a box or container.
  • Line the box with an old T-shirt or other soft cloth.
  • Put on gloves.
  • Cover the animal with a towel or pillowcase, then gently place him in the container.
  • Do not give him food or water.
  • Place the container in a warm, dark, quiet place until you can transport the animal.
  • Transport the animal as soon as possible. Keep the carrier out of the sun and away from direct cooling or heat. Keep the radio off and talking to a minimum.
  • Never handle an adult animal. Even small animals can injure you.

A fledgling, a bird who has "graduated" from the nest but cannot fly yet, spends 3-5 days on the ground hopping around, learning where to hide and what to eat. During this time, cats and dogs must be kept away. If you see a fledgling in a dangerous spot, move him to safety, then move away quickly. If you are sure that a parent has not fed the fledgling for two hours, he may be orphaned; call a wildlife rehabilitator.


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