How many of our mothers told us that if you touch a fallen baby bird, the individual smell will drive away the parents and they’ll no longer care for this? How many individuals have discovered a nest of baby bunnies in a field, no parent in sight, presumed they had been abandoned, and took them home and tried to raise them? How many”left” baby birds have been”rescued” simply because they were discovered on the floor and could not quite fly yet? . .how many animal lovers have raised a baby raccoon for a pet, only to be badly bitten when that cute baby become an unmanageable adolescent?
How many folks realize that taking in wildlife without a special license to care for them isn’t even legal in many countries? Most do not, and generations of people have educated their kids these myths, presuming they were reality simply because good grandpa told grandma, who told father, who handed the wisdom (or lack thereof) along.
If a baby bird falls from the nest, the best thing you can do to it is to attempt and get it back in the nest. If you can’t get it into that nest, then make a makeshift nest (a cherry jar or margarine tub lined with paper towels will do) and tuck it into a safe place near where you found the bird. The parents do not care if you managed it, and will, indeed, almost definitely return to feed it until it can fledge (leave the nest). If it’s an older infant, fully feathered, hopping about on the floor, leave it alone!
“Falling from the nest” is a very normal part of how old babies learn how to fly. Its parents are nearby, watching, encouraging it to use those small wings. Unless you’re absolutely certain that the parents are dead, don’t interfere.
Wild rabbits, the greatest prey species, only return to their nests a couple of times per day to nurse their young. Those infants”abandoned” in the area aren’t abandoned in any respect. They have been left there by their mothers, to prevent leading predators to the nest.
And raccoons? Even experienced wildlife rehabilitators can’t legally raise raccoons without a special license for rabies vector species. Raccoons are considered among the most dangerous creatures to rehabilitate, and not simply because they are among the key animals to spread rabies. They also carry a sort of roundworm that’s often deadly to other animal species. . .including humans.
Thus, if you find a wild animal or bird that’s actually in need of rescue (you are sure beyond doubt that the parents are dead, or it has been hurt in some way that requires medical care ), what can you do? Many vets have a list of rehabbers local to them, or you can Google”wildlife rehabilitators” to your region.
And what do you educate the children?
As soon as you find your regional rehab center, stick together. They get no government funds, and every attempt they make comes from their own pockets. They’re sometimes on call at insane hours, and the task of caring for orphaned and injured animals is one that frequently receives no thanks, and has no downtime. After”baby season” starts, many rehabilitators get very little break, and they’re all unpaid volunteers.
Learn their schedule and appear to encourage them at these discussions.
Ask whether the centre gives tours (they won’t be able to show you animals who are to be discharged, but many have enlightening creatures as permanent residents), and make an appointment to bring the children. Although you won’t be working together with the wild animals, there are quite a few other chores that have to be performed, and lots of centers accept volunteer supplies happily. Encourage your children to listen and learn, and to genuinely care.
By becoming a household that supports your regional wildlife rehabbers, you haven’t only helped to protect this generation of crazy creatures. You have set forth on the experience of raising a new generation of educated individuals who will teach their own kids security, wisdom and respect for all life.