Spring brings baby wildlife and a reminder to let them be
LANSING — Baby bunnies are nestled in their nests, fawns will soon find their way through the forest, and songbird and waterfowl nests are popping up all over. In fact, recently we shared tips on what to do if you find a duck or goose nesting in your yard.
Remember that it’s not unusual to come across baby wildlife in springtime. Many wild mothers leave babies unattended and hidden to protect them from predators, but almost always are nearby and return periodically to care for their young when they feel it’s safe.
Even most young birds found on the ground are under the watchful eyes of parents.
“The best thing you can do to help young wildlife is to simply leave them alone,” said Hannah Schauer, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “Many wildlife, such as deer and rabbits, will leave young unattended as a survival strategy. Even though it may appear that a rabbit’s nest or a fawn is abandoned, they rarely are.”
Your best decision is to leave a young animal in the wild where the mother can care for it and teach it how to survive.
On the rare occasion you come across an animal that is injured or truly abandoned, keep in mind that, in Michigan, it’s illegal to keep the animal unless you’re a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Under the current “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, some wildlife rehabilitators may have had to suspend services; call ahead to see whether they are able to assist at this time.
Additional information on what to do if you find a baby animal is available at Michigan.gov/Wildlife. Questions? Contact Hannah Schauer, 517-388-9678.