What to Do When You Find a Baby Animal

It’s spring! The first Robin appeared at my feeder this week. The squirrels seem to spend their days in endless chase, pursuing each other through the boughs of the pine.  The Blue Jays are building a nest in the arborvitae. Soon nests and dens will be full of tiny creatures.  A little wobbly on their pins, some will teeter a bit too close to the edge and wind up on the lawn. Worried children will drag Nurse Mom or Doctor Dad to the rescue. Unfortunately, in the animal kingdom, misguided attempts to help can often hurt. Generally, if you find a baby animal or bird, it’s best to leave it alone and let its mom find it.

Here’s a quick primer on what to do if you find a baby animal:

  • Rabbit. Leave it alone if it’s in a nest or is about the size of a tennis ball and eating grass. Step in if the nest has been abandoned or destroyed.
  • Squirrel. Babies often fall out of nests without injury. Leave it alone unless it’s following people or it’s been attacked by another animal.
  • Bird. Leave it alone if it’s mostly covered with feathers or is hard to catch or the parents are caring for it. Step in if it’s injured or sitting in the open sleeping. Return it to its nest if you can.