What if I find...

Baby Birds

If you find a baby bird first search for the original nest. If you locate the nest and it is intact return the baby to the nest. If you are unable to locate the nest place it in a makeshift nest (plastic container with holes and nesting materials hung in the tree closest to where the baby was found). Observe from a distance for one hour. If the parents return the baby is OK. If they do not return then contact a local rehabilitator.

If there are domestic animals nearby then place the box higher off of the ground.


Fawns are born without a scent. A doe will leave her baby in a safe location and will return every few hours to feed it. This is called parking. The fawn will likely be lying down curled up with its legs tucked underneath its body. If you find a parked fawn, leave it be.

Under no circumstances should you ever feed or touch a fawn. If it is lying flat out, running around crying, obviously injured, or found near its deceased mother contact a local rehabilitator or veterinarian immediately.

Baby Mammals

First carefully identify whether the animal is hurt or sick. If the animal appears to be in good health try to locate the den or nest and determine whether or not it is intact. If intact place the baby in the nest or den and watch for the mother to return over the next three to four hours.

If you are unable to locate the nest or den place the baby in a shallow box near where it was found. Line with nesting materials and keep out of direct sunlight.

If the animal is sick or injured or the mother does not return contact a local rehabilitator or veterinarian immediately.


Most frequent questions and answers

Are my pets safe around wild animals?

No. If you come across an abandoned or injured animal your first step should be to secure your own pets indoors or away from the animal.

Is it safe for wildlife babies to be handled by human hands in order to return them to their nest/den?

It is a myth that wild babies cannot be handled by humans. Human scent will not prevent the mother from coming back to their baby. As always, use caution in approaching any wild animal. Once deemed safe quickly return the animal to their nest/den.

What should I do if I disturb a bunny nest while working in the yard?

If a nest has been disturbed, put it back together and cover the babies with the grass that originally covered them. Place two sticks in the shape of an “X” on top. Check back in 12 hours. If the sticks have been moved, the mother has returned. If the sticks haven’t moved then contact a local rehabber.

Is it legal for me to raise orphaned wildlife on my own?

Most states require permits or special licensing to raise wildlife. If you are unsure contact your local wildlife commission.

What can I do to promote wildlife on my own property?

You could plant blueberry, blackberry, apple or persimmon trees for long term feeding options for wildlife. In the short term, most birds like black oiled sunflower seeds that can be put in a feeder in your yard. Put out loose or eared corn for deer to feed on. Rather than throwing out apples, place them along the tree line for animals to feed on.

What should I do before mowing the yard or burning brush piles for the first time in the spring?

Thoroughly inspect your yard or any brush piles for any nests or dens. If you come across any bunny nests in the yard, stake off a safe area around the nest before mowing. Before burning a brush pile check for any bird nests that might be affected by the heat, flames, or smoke from the fire.


To save you some searching time and headaches listed below are a few of the best resources for locating a wildlife rehabilitator near you.

Humane Society

Visit the Humane Society’s How to find a wildlife rehabilitator page.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

The NCWRC has a “Have  Wildlife Problem” page that identifies how to reach a rehabber as well as more information on how to assist an injured or orphaned animal.

Best friends animal society

Visit the Best Friends Animal Society Resources page to find a rehabilitator near you.