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• In the wild, parents often leave their babies unattended for hours while they look for food. Even if one parent has died, the other can raise the young just fine on their own. Seeing a dead adult in the same area does not mean that unattended babies were part of that family.
• Baby wild animals do not need to be protected from natural dangers such as cats, dogs, cars and people. The animals need exposure to these things in order to learn how to successfully co-exist with them.
• Baby animals will never get the same quality of care from people that they would from their natural parents. It can be very damaging and for this reason, human intervention should be the absolute last resort and should be considered only if the baby has no chance of surviving in the wild.
Baby Ducks and Geese
Ducks have been known to nest far from the water front and don’t have problems walking the family to the nearest source of water. Any attempt to help them often results in separating mom from the babies while they try to avoid capture. Geese are even more protective of their young.
Baby Birds
If the bird has skin showing or only downy feathers, put it back in the nest. If the bird has feathers, but not able to fly yet, it is called a fledgling. They may be left out of the nest, on the ground or on low branches. A bird needs to learn how to fly from its parents and cannot be cared for by humans without ruining its chance at survival in the wild.
Birds of Prey
A baby bird of prey that cannot grasp with its feet may be placed back in the nest. If it can grasp with its feet, place it on a branch near the nest site.
Rabbits often nest in the most impractical places, like the middle of a backyard surrounded by cats, dogs and kids. Baby bunnies are almost never abandoned even when you don’t see an adult nearby. Females only visit their nest at dawn and dusk. Once the young rabbit reaches chipmunk size, it is completely independent of its mother and should be left alone. Bunnies have a low tolerance for stress and if kept in captivity, they very often die.
Squirrels and Raccoons
Most raccoons and squirrels maintain more than one nest site and will carry their babies from nest to nest if one is damaged or feels unsafe. If a baby is found out of its nest and unable to climb on its own, place it in a container up off the ground and give the parent plenty of time to find and move the baby.
White-tailed Deer
A doe will leave her fawn lying quietly on its own, because the presence of an adult might attract predators. This is normal. Even if you think the baby deer is in a dangerous location, do not attempt to move it or the mother will not be able to find her baby.

When in doubt, here are some numbers you can call for more information:
Ohio Division of Wildlife – 800-945-3543
Back to the Wild (rehab center) – 419-684-9539


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The mission of the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center is to promote conservation and education of the flora, fauna, and lands of the Lake Erie Islands ecosystem.