At a time when a lot of entertainment venues are closed, many of us are finding our kicks outdoors and you may have encountered some more wildlife than usual.
7News Anchor Diane Lee certainly did this week, and it us thinking about we should do when we find a baby animal in the wild.
As if torn from the pages of the beloved children’s novel “Are You My Mother,” a fledgling chickadee took his first flight over our Diane’s back porch this week.
At no more than 16 days old he was just as curious about Diane as she was about him, jumping on her phone and then crawling up to her shoulder.
In a cell phone video Diane said: “This is the baby bird that fell out of the tree and I was taking photos of him, I did not touch him, but he decided to hop on me and has stayed here for a good half an hour. “
In this spring of social distancing, many people find themselves growing closer than ever to nature.
“Our top three animals probably for calls right now are baby birds, baby bunnies and fawns,” said Katie Elliot, a research scientist at Clemson University.
Elliot says the first thing you should do if you come across a wild baby animal is decide whether it needs help.
“So if you see an animal and it’s bleeding, crying, injured, been caught by a cat or a dog, or if it’s in a dangerous environment that puts it at risk so by other a human or other animals, then it probably needs help. If it’s just out of a nest it may not need help,” said Elliot.
When it comes to birds, she also distinguished between a nestling and a fledgling. Shes aid if a baby bird has no or few feathers, its’ a nestling and should be put back in the nest if that nest is in tact and one you can find. If it’s a fledgling, let it be since the mother is nearby or put it in a nearby tree.
The local wildlife rehabilitation center, Izzie’s Pond, where Elliot volunteers has a 24/7 hotline to help you figure out what to do. Sometimes doing nothing is the best answer.
Elliot says whatever you do, make sure your pets aren’t nearby.
“Cat siliva is toxic to baby mammals so if your cat brings you a baby rabbit and you see a bite a scratch or puncture wound it does need help ASAP,” said Elliot.
Otherwise, Elliot says, leave healthy baby birds in a tree nearby and leave baby bunnies and fawns alone since the mothers come back to feed them at dawn and dusk but stay otherwise hidden.
The chickadee that jumped on Diane eventually made it to his tree without any need to touch it with skin.
Wildlife experts say if you have to touch a baby bird to get it back into its nest rub some grass between your hands so it has an earthy scent instead of your human scent.
Again, the best thing to do if you find wildlife that needs help is call one of the rehabilitation hotlines below.
- Izzie’s Pond: 864-372-9992, Liberty SC
- Paws Animal Wildlife Sanctuary, Laurens: (864) 715-2171
- Wildlife Rehabilitation of Greenville: (864) 233-0339
- Bunny Brigade