• Dawn Riley

Spring Babies Have Arrived, Here’s What You ShouldAnd Shouldn’t Do


File Photo

People often come across baby wildlife during the spring months, and it can be hard to determine if mom is away for the day, or has left for good. Here are some steps from Alberta Parks to take to ensure you are making the right move when you see baby wildlife in your neighbourhood.

1) The best thing to do is leave it be - Unless the animal is injured, clearly in distress, or you know for a fact the parent is dead, don’t assume the animal is orphaned. Most mothers hide their young and return periodically to feed and care for them. If the parent hasn’t returned in several hours - up to a day—then there could be cause for alarm. But don’t assume they haven’t returned just because you haven’t seen them. Mother rabbits, for example, only visit dens sites to feed their young at dusk and dawn. Many baby animals, such as deer, are odorless and camouflaged and will be nearly invisible to predators when hidden by mom.

2) For nestlings (chicks without feathers), if you can see the nest nearby, gently return it to the nest (contrary to popular belief, touching a baby bird will not cause the mother to abandon it). If you can’t find the nest, place the bird in a small box or basket and hang it from a high branch. Young chicks with feathers, called fledglings, need to learn to fly and have to leave the nest to do so. They should be left alone. If you have pets, keep them on a leash or out of the yard. Keep an eye on the fledgling and if it hasn’t left in a few hours, you may want to try to put it back in the nest –or at least under a tree for shelter.

3) If a young animal has not moved or been tended to by a parent in several hours to a day, you may want to contact a local licensed rehabilitator for advice.

If you suspect you need help with baby wildlife that has been abandoned or orphaned, please call Alberta Fish and Wildlife at 780-853-8137.