Here's what you should do if you find seemingly abandoned baby animals in nature, be they wild birds, deer fawns, a bison calf or whatever.
Remember those folks that found an "abandoned" bison calf in Yellowstone and put it in their vehicle? That was a bad move. They shouldn't have messed with it. Unfortunately, many people just let their emotions get the better of them when they see wild birds and other animals that they think need our help.
These are understandable human reactions to seemingly abandoned baby animals. We want to help. But most wild animals aren't abandoned and they don't need any human assistance or interference to survive.
However, sometimes folks do find wild birds or other animals that are legitimately injured. In that case, you may want to step in and help the animal. Unless you are experienced and very familiar with wild animals it is almost always best to call folks who are trained to work with critters.
Wild animals are dangerous creatures and can cause serious injuries when not handled properly. Especially avoid contact with wild animals that appear sick or diseased.
The Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah has the following advice on what to do if you see a wild bird that appears in distress:
1) Observe: Adult Bird: Look for obvious injury. Is the bird acting tame? Baby Bird: Is nest nearby? Are siblings nearby? Can you see or hear parents around?
2) Survey: Is the area safe? Is the bird in its habitat? Are other birds around?
3) Respond: If the bird is in immediate danger. If the bird has obvious serious injury. If you are not sure. If you still have concerns.
4) Who to call: Police Dispatch (NOT 911) or a Wildlife Rehabilitator/Wildlife Organization.
Please use caution and common sense when approaching a wild animal in distress. Rationally assess the situation and if you determine that the animal does need assistance, call a Wildlife Rehabilitator, your state DNR or Police Dispatch. Let them handle it.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.