Elk NetworkLeave Newborn Wildlife Alone

General | May 13, 2019

When visiting the great outdoors in the spring and early summer, even if you are only venturing as far as your own backyard, there is something important to keep in mind: when it comes to taking care of wildlife babies, no one does it better than wildlife moms.

If you see a baby bird hopping on the ground or a tiny deer fawn curled up in the shade of an aspen, leave it alone. Don’t assume the young animal has been abandoned. In almost every situation, the mother is very close by, and may even be watching you watch her baby.

Animal parents will periodically leave their young in order to search for food or to divert attention away from their vulnerable offspring, especially if they sense danger. Young wild animals, like deer fawns, know instinctively to remain still and in the places their mothers left them. Does will return every three to four hours to nurse and care for their young. In the meantime, a fawn’s protective coloring and lack of movement helps hide its location from predators.

Adult birds will often continue to feed their young even if they fall out of the nest. In fact, as chicks grow, mom and dad will actually “encourage” them out of the nest for some supervised flight training.

 (Video source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)