Welcome to Payton’s Wildlife Tips!
Today I want to talk to you about how to tell if an animal is orphaned or not. We will discuss two specific species that we deal with the most. Even when we have the best intentions it’s an awful feeling finding out we orphaned an animal that didn’t need to be removed from his habitat or loving parents. We strive to avoid these issues by education.
When people see young wildlife all alone they think it’s without parents and want to “rescue it”, but most of the time the animal is perfectly healthy and safe. Before doing anything with the animal make sure to call the Think Wild hotline number at 541-241-8680. They can give you expert advice on what to do and what to check for in hopes of keeping them in the wild.
Young birds are getting older and also anxious to be out and about. At this time birds such as Robins, Starlings and Jays (among others) fledge and leave the nest. These birds are called fledglings and cannot fly yet but are getting close. Most will stay in the lower branches in trees as their parents continue care for them. Sometimes a fledgling will hop down from the branches and people will find them on the ground and think they are orphaned. As long as the bird is not injured they can be left in the wild with some minimal help.
When you find a fledgling bird on the ground or in a dangerous area try to put it in a low branch in a nearby tree or hidden in a bush that way predators cannot get to it. You may have to put it back into the tree or bush multiple times for it to stay. In nature these birds use fallen trees, brush and bushes to hop back into trees for safety. Us humans like clean yards and try to be fire defensible so we often remove things that these birds would use to get back to safety. After placing the fledgling into a safe area we encourage you to remove yourself or pets so the parents feels comfortable returning. If the bird is a cavity nesting bird, injured, sick, or too young to be out of the nest (like having no feathers) the bird may need further professional assistance.
Another animal we hear often about being “orphaned” are fawns. Fawns will often stay in the same spot for several days without the mothers being seen and this can be perfectly normal! Mothers will leave their fawns in a safe place while they go to forage for food. They usually will not come around to feed unless there is no one around or when it’s getting dark. Most of the time if a fawn is truly orphaned it will look distressed and do things such as pace or cry out for their mother. If this is happening or it’s injured it may need professional help.
For any animals that you think may be orphaned, with exceptions, our policy is to stop, watch and wait. This way if an animal is safe and being cared for we don’t have to put it through all the stress of transporting when it only needed an extra eye. We covered the two most common cases. There are plenty of other animals that experience unneeded intervention such as: rabbits, raccoons, skunks, possums, squirrels, and more. They all have specific instructions in order to keep them in the wild or reunited with parents. It’s always best to seek professional help for guidance.
Thank you for reading Payton’s Wildlife Tips and be looking forward to the next! For more topics and information go to thinkwildco.org.
Payton is a true wildlife lover, and is volunteering her time to help spread the education message about the small and easy things we can do everyday to help wildlife. Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.