YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From fawns to ducklings, many people will find baby animals out over the next few months.
So when the mother is nowhere in sight, if your first reaction is to save the animal — that’s actually the last thing you should do.
“I think there is this misconception that if you find a baby — a young animal — and it’s by itself, that it’s abandoned or that its orphaned,” said Martin Cisine, a state wildlife officer.
Wildlife officers say the best thing to do is to step back and call.
“Contacting a license wildlife rehabilitator if you come across one of those injured animals is the best route to take,” Cisine said.
And most people do.
The Birds of Flight sanctuary in Warren will receive over 5,000 calls in the next three months. They can be reached at 330-652-3381.
Most of the time, callers will be told not to do anything at all.
“A lot of times we tell people to leave them alone and put them back,” said Heather Merritt of Birds in Flight Sanctuary. “Rabbits, especially. If you know where the nest is, put them back.”
Some situations are obvious not to interfere, but Merritt says people still try to be a hero.
“And they always tell us that birds are attacking us and we tell them yeah, because that’s their parents,” she said. “They want their baby back, so give them their baby back. It’s not that we don’t care. This is just what wildlife is — it’s wild.”
And birds grow fast. A bluebird is full grown in just 17 days.
“We have a lot of fledgling birds right now and what happens is Mom will take them out of the nest about a week before they can fly,” Merritt said. “That is when she teaches them how to forge for food and to do everything that they need to do to survive on their own. It’s a critical time that they stay with their mother.”
So only pickup that animal if you are certain its life is in danger.