Typically we don’t see birds like this so far inland. But, this was near a pond behind the shopping centers near our house where my son occasionally explores. He loves nature and especially loves catching and releasing.
This baby bird was so precious. He wanted to keep it so bad! But I insisted we learn a little more about it before we even think about it. So google to the rescue!
Right away, as I suspected, the consensus was “leave it alone!” In the process of digging into this I learned a lot of interesting things about wildlife and our laws surrounding it.
It’s basically illegal to keep wildlife as a pet. And it’s ok to touch a baby bird if you’re careful and just trying to move it out of harms way. And there’s these volunteers all around called Wildlife Rehabilitators.
If the Animal Appears Lost or Abandoned
If you ever find a baby wild animal and it appears lost/orphaned/abandoned just leave it alone! It most likely is not abandoned. Usually it’s parents are nearby, close enough to help it but far enough to let it learn some on it’s own. Baby birds will often explore the group for days or even weeks before they’re able to fly and spend most of their time up high. This is ok!
If you think an animal is orphaned just observe it from a distance. Their parents may be able to hear their baby’s call two blocks away! Give it a day or two to reconnect with it’s parents. Their parents are always the best option.
The parents know what is best to feed their babies. It’s easy to think some birds for example eat worms. But, earth worms may make some baby birds sick because of a parasite often found in them. Some birds need seeds not worms. They also need to eat very frequently, sometimes every 15-30 minutes for 14 hours throughout the day!
When Wildlife Absolutely Needs Help
If you know for a fact that wildlife needs help then contact a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator near you right away. You’ll know if the animal needs help if it is clearly injured, bleeding, or it is a baby and one of it’s parents are dead, or if your dog or cat brought it to you, etc.
Sometimes it may be hard to tell if an animal is injured though. If it’s hard to tell then it’s probably best to leave it alone. Some animals may become aggressive and dangerous if they’re injured or threatened, or they may appear immobile when scared, and some may have rabies.
Bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and skunks may have rabies so ALWAYS stay away from them. Some animals cannot be rehabilitated like Deer and Wild Turkey. Bear, endangered animals, and other special animals may have different requirements based on your state. You can also contact:
Injured Endangered/Threatened Species
If the injured animal can be identified as an endangered or threatened species, contact the Wildlife Enforcement Division at 1-800-662-7137, or (919) 707-0040 or the US Fish and Wildlife Service at (919) 856-4786
Be sure to visit these sites below for more details. We have simply giving you a synopses of what we learned. Always refer to your states website and other relevant sites like the Humane Society. You may also learn from your local licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator which you can find on HumaneSociety.org. There may be also a local nonprofit or even a facebook page or group you could access more contact and information from.
HumaneSociety.org Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator
National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association