Baby animals are everywhere this time of year: A flock of ducklings even temporarily halted traffic at an IndyCar practice when they ran onto a track recently. If you encounter a baby animal, please follow these tips:
• Wait and watch for signs of distress. Most baby animals don’t need humans’ help — their parents are often nearby but may be out of sight. For instance, mother deer often only attend to their fawns at dusk and dawn.
• Baby birds with a half-inch or more of tail feathers are on the ground because they are learning to fly. If they are in an unsafe location, place the bird on the lowest limb of a small tree or shrub.
• If you find a nest dismantled and featherless baby birds on the ground, make a new nest from a berry basket or other small container with holes punched in the bottom and filled with shredded tissue. Hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest and watch for parents to return.
• Never raise baby wildlife in your home. It’s illegal in most places and unfair to the animal, who needs to be with and learn from his family. If you see a baby animal who is obviously injured or orphaned, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
The writer is a wildlife biologist, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals