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Springtime Surprises: How to Care for Baby Wildlife in Your Yard

Springtime in Klahanie often brings a flurry of local wildlife activity, including the arrival of newborn animals. Encountering baby animals in your yard while doing yard work can be a delightful surprise. Still, knowing how to properly respond is important to ensure their safety and well-being. Here's an informative guide on what to do if you find baby birds, bunnies, or other wildlife in your yard: 

 


Baby Birds 

 

Fledglings (adolescent birds) 


If you find a bird with a fully feathered body but short or non-existent tail feathers, it's likely a fledgling learning to fly. These birds may be seen hopping on the ground and are usually supervised by their parents. 

 


Nestlings (very young birds) 

 

If you find a nestling fallen from its nest, you can try to gently place it back in the nest if it's safe to do so. If the nest is destroyed or unreachable, you can create a makeshift nest using a small container lined with tissue and place it near the original nest location. Do not attempt to feed or water them, as improper feeding can be harmful. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible for further instructions. 


 

Baby Deer (Fawns) 


Alone but Calm: If a fawn is found alone lying down calmly, it's likely their mother is nearby, as does only visit their fawns a few times a day. Leave the fawn alone unless you're sure the mother is no longer living.  

 

Wandering or Crying: If a fawn is wandering around crying incessantly or lying on its side, it may need help. In such cases, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. If a wildlife rehabilitator is not immediately available, cover the fawn with a towel or sheet and gently place it in a cardboard box to calm it.




Baby Coyotes (Pups) 

 

It's rare to find a coyote pup alone as they are usually under the watchful eye of their parents. Observing from a distance is best if you come across a lone pup. Often, the parents are nearby and will return. Do not attempt to feed or touch the pup. 

 

Safety Precautions: Coyotes are very protective of their young, so keeping your distance is important to avoid potential confrontations with adult coyotes. If you encounter an aggressive coyote or a pup that seems injured or distressed, contact local wildlife authorities or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. 


 

Baby Rabbits 


Rabbits at least four inches long, with open eyes and erect ears, are independent. If you find a nest, it's best to leave it undisturbed, as mother rabbits visit only a few times daily. If the nest is disturbed, you can cover it lightly with natural materials and check for signs of the mother's return.  

 



Baby Raccoons 


If a baby raccoon is alone for more than a few hours, it might be orphaned. You can cover the baby with an inverted laundry basket and monitor it. If the mother does not return by night (raccoons are nocturnal), contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  


If a wildlife rehabilitator is not immediately available, cover the raccoon with a towel or sheet and gently place it in a cardboard box to calm it.

 


Baby Squirrels 


If a baby squirrel is following people, it may be hungry and need care. If a baby falls from a nest, give the mother a chance to reclaim it. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if the baby is not retrieved by dusk.  


If it's cold or the squirrel is not fully furred, place the box on a heating pad set to low, with a towel between the pad and the box. Do not cover the squirrel, as the mother needs to be able to find it if she returns. 



General Advice 


Transporting: If you need to transport the animal to a rehabilitator, keep the box covered and in a quiet area of your vehicle. Do not check on the animal frequently, as this can cause additional stress. 


Safety: Always wear gloves to protect yourself from potential bites, scratches, and diseases when handling wild animals. 

 

Contact Professionals: If you're unsure or an animal needs help, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. The PAWS Wildlife Center in the greater Seattle area can be reached at 425.412.4040. 


Remember, the goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of these young animals while allowing them to remain as wild and independent as possible. Following these guidelines can help support local wildlife in our community.

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