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 veterinarian.  

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.

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Yuval Nir
Naperville University Commons Animal Clinic- The-vet.net
1827 Wehrli rd
Naperville , IL , 60565
(630) 544-3333
Veterinarians, Animal hospital