What Do I Do if I Find A Baby…..

Living With Wildlife Take 1

Bird– the first thing to note if a baby has fallen from its nest is; is it fledgling or a nestling?  A fledgling has some feathers and can perch and hop, a nestling has some tiny feathers with fluff or nothing.  They usually can cry pretty loud, so let them cry and see if you can hear the parents answer. That way you will know which way to go.    If you determine this little bird is a nestling then try and locate the nest. If you can put it back, then definitely do so. There is a myth that you can’t touch wildlife or the mother will reject it. NOT TRUE. Wildlife mothers are some of the best, bravest mothers and definitely don’t care if their baby stinks a little. With that said, if you cannot find the nest or cannot reach the nest, you can create a little makeshift nest and the mother will find that baby and feed it. Watch from a distance as baby cries and mama and papa feed. It’s always such a good feeling. If you do end up making a nest, look up on the internet what kind of bird you have and how to make a nest. Make sure your nest is safe from predators. If you end up needing to rescue your little bird, make sure it’s in a cardboard box nice and dry and dark. Keep it warm and call a rescue center. 

If it’s a fledgling, possibly you will be scolded by the parents, especially the Black Phoebes, (they finish their flight training on the ground). If it is a fledgling, keep your distance as well as your pets distance, that’s the best way you can help, by protecting them. If you see that they are hopping into the busy street or some danger, go ahead and pick them up and take them back to their nest spot.  You can keep tabs from afar, but do not interfere with the flight training. The parents are watching somewhere, or will return shortly. 

Deer- a baby deer is called a fawn. The way you know it’s a fawn is it has spots. No spots? Not a baby no matter how small it is. If you see a fawn in the grass all alone looking abandoned, fear not, that baby is under strict instructions to stay put. So make sure to leave it alone and keep your dog away.  Now, if you observe this baby for more than 48 hours and it looks like it’s mama is not coming back then please call the Sonoma Fawn Rescue 707-931-4550 and get advice. Another sign if a fawn is distressed is its little ears curl at the tips. If you see curled tips be sure to note when you speak to the fawn rescue. 

Squirrel-Well, this is where it gets tricky. Mama Squirrels have been known to disown babies because of the … stink of we humans, but it’s not a given. So, what do we do if we see a baby squirrel? Let it cry, let it cry! Give it some hours, maybe all day if it’s warm enough. If it cries its little heart out and still no mama, scoop that baby up and get it warm. There are lots of suggestions online on how to make a nest box and get a baby squirrel warm.  Squirrels can aspirate really easily. I absolutely recommend not nursing them at home unless you have been trained. You can also try and put it back in it’s nest and see what happens, please wear gloves or use a towel. Call for help. 

HARE- Mama’s have between 2-4 babies per litter, baby hares are called leverets. They are born fully furred and eyes open. They too, like the fawns, have been given strict orders to stay in place and do not move whilst mom forages. If you come upon these babies after 48 hours and still no mom, scoop them up, get them warm, and call your local rehab.

BATS- Baby bats are called pups. They are born in June usually and take a few weeks to wean. It is of utmost importance to not do  exclusion during this time or the babies will all die. Wildlife Exclusion is when we have wildlife living in our house and we need to get them out and make sure they don’t get back in. When I say exclusion for bats, I am referring to making a one way door to get rid of bats in your attic or wall. Please wait until after mid August or even better, September to exclude them. If you find a little bat on the ground it may need help getting flight. With gloves you can hang it from a tree to help with take off! Read up on that one… 

ELK- Don’t even look at them… stay away from any elk in general, especially the calves. Whoo… that was a close one.

Foxes- IF you are lucky enough to have foxes denning under your deck or your house, fear not. Just enjoy. Yes, there may be an extra dropping or two, but they will repay you kindly by being the best rodent control you’ll ever have. They do not bother cats so don’t worry about that either. Their cubs/kits usually can eat solid food and go explore with parents around 4-6 weeks. So, in a couple months everyone will move out and all is good. Here in Mendocino we only have grey foxes, some of the oldest species of fox. Even though they have some rust on them, they are our beloved greys. 

Here are some extra tips for helping keep our wild babies safe:

  1. Try and do tree work in the winter
  2. Try and keep cats and dogs on leashes or with bells (bells don’t work so great, but it’s something)
  3. Be aware of your backyard and who lives there

Wildlife has been there with us from the beginning. It’s where we come from, it is our first teacher. Enjoy the spring! Maybe make a journal of who lives with you.