So what do you do if you find a young wildlife species? Its important to determine if the animal might be injured, orphaned, or OK. A fledgling bird, a young squirrel, or an "abandoned" fawn may not really need our help. They may simply be struggling to learn how to use their newly formed and awkward bodies as they explore the great big world around them. Here are a few things to consider when determining if a young animal may be injured or orphaned:
- If you have to chase it, it doesn't need your help.
- A fawn curled up in the lawn is not abandoned but left alone for short periods of time so the mother may forage to maintain her strength between bouts of nursing.
- A young bird that is fully feathered and hopping on the ground or clambering in the bushes is likely a fledgling, not an orphan.
- Many small mammals like rabbits and raccoons nurse their young for short periods of time, but then leave the nest to avoid attracting attention from predators.
- An animal brought home by your pet cat or dog.
- Signs of bleeding or other trauma.
- A featherless or nearly-featherless bird on the ground.