Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff in your Colville office get a lot of questions from the public. One that has been heard lately is what to do if you find an
abandoned baby animal?
Every spring dozens of calls come in from people who want to “help” fawns or other baby animals they find alone in the forest. But just because young animals are alone
does not mean they need help. Most fawns are not abandoned; their mothers are usually grazing nearby and will return a couple times a day to feed their babies. Fawns are born without scent, so if they remain still, they do not attract carnivores.
If you come across a baby bird on the ground, it’s best not to interfere. If the bird is fully or partially feathered, chances are it doesn't need your help. Fledglings (partially feathered birds) typically leave the nest for the ground or low branches for a few days before they can fly. Their parents are nearby and continue to care for them.
Baby birds with sparse or no feathers have likely fallen or been pushed from a nearby nest. You can help by wearing gloves and returning the chick to the nest.
Nests of baby rabbits are rarely abandoned. Mother cottontails return to the nest to feed their young only at dawn and dusk to avoid attracting predators to the nest.
If you have been observing a baby animal and the mother has not returned for several days, do not move it yourself. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can find one in your area on our website at wdfw.wa.gov.
If you have a question for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-563-5495. One question will be answered per