The Easter season heralds the birth of spring. Soon the
grass will turn green and the trees will grow their fresh leaves. Nature is
waking up and all the little creatures are busy with courtship and nesting. Many
newborn animals are found by people who assume they are orphans in need of help
and, in good faith, try to rescue them.
Just because a young bird or a rabbit do not appear to have
their parents around does not mean they are orphans. Many of them are still
being taken care of by their parents, but with a less frequent manner. These
babies will do just fine if left alone.
On occasion a newborn squirrel or nestling (a baby bird)
will fall of the nest and can use a little help. It is ok to place them back in
the nest if you can and the parents will likely take care of them. The same is
true for newborn cottontail bunnies (it is normal for the mother to feed them
once or twice a day and be gone for most of the day). Fledglings (feathered baby
birds) and cottontail bunnies that can run and are found on the ground are
probably ok. They are in the process of becoming independent and will normally
spend most of the day without their parent's immediate presence. These animals
should be left alone.
When it is clear that the parents are injured or gone, or
in case the young animal is injured, you might offer help. The best thing is to
call the wild life rescue facility in your area. The rescuers will advise you as
to what to do and sometimes will take the orphan in. If you are not able to
contact the wildlife rehabilitators, you can seek temporary help from the area
It is not a good idea to try and take care of the orphan by
yourself for a long term, as you will do more harm than good. Even if you
succeed, the animal will not adequately adapt to life in the wild. It is ok to
provide those animals with temporary shelter, food and heat until they can be
transferred to the rehabilitation facility.
As you walk in your yard and care for the lawn, the trees
and the bushes, please pay attention not to damage the rabbit nests on the
ground and bird nests in trees and bushes. Spring will come and go and so will
this year's generation of our back yard wildlife.