does the humane society take birds

How to tell if baby animals are orphaned, injured or perfectly fine—and what to do if they need your help

Its common to see baby wild animals outside during spring as a new generation makes its way into the world. Sometimes you’ll even see these babies alone, with no parent in sight. For animal lovers, the instinct to help can be difficult to ignore. But unless the animal is truly orphaned or injured, there is no need to rescue them—and in fact, your “help” might actually hurt. These tips can help you decide whether to take action.

We are so happy that you have chosen to adopt a bird or small mammal from Animal Humane Society! This page provides you with resources and advice to help ensure that your pet’s transition from the shelter to your home is as stress-free as possible.

Signs that a wild animal needs your help

  • Your dog or cat brought the animal to you.
  • A bird is on the ground, almost completely without feathers.
  • The animal is shivering.
  • There’s a dead parent nearby.
  • The animal is crying and wandering all day long.
  • The animal is obviously injured; one of its limbs is broken. There’s evidence of bleeding. There’s an obvious asymmetry: Do both wings or pairs of legs appear similar? Do both eyes appear clear?

Seek assistance for the animal if you notice any of these symptoms. For advice, you should ideally get in touch with a nearby wildlife center or wildlife rehabilitator. If required, carefully capture the animal and transfer it to the proper location for treatment while adhering to the rehabber’s instructions.

Tips for birds, rabbits, squirrels and other species

An animal’s age, species, and behavior will determine whether it is orphaned and in need of your assistance. Certain species’ babies are left alone throughout the day and depend on camouflage for protection, while other species’ babies are closely watched by their parents. Read on for descriptions of what’s normal for each species.

Regardless of the size of your outdoor area, you can make it a refuge for nearby wildlife. You can change things in your own backyard by meeting basic needs like food, water, and shelter.

If young birds appear injured or in immediate danger, get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator. Place featherless or almost featherless baby birds back in their nest if you can do so without endangering yourself, if they have fallen from their nest and seem unharmed. (The myth that birds will flee from their young if someone touches them is untrue.) ).

Fully feathered birds: Place a small, shallow wicker basket near the original nest’s location if it was destroyed or is too high to access. Garden stores and supermarket floral departments sell woven stick baskets that are a good option because they mimic natural nests and let rain through to prevent bird drowning. Making sure the basket is not too deep is important because adult birds will not jump into anything they cannot see out of. To ensure that the parent birds return to the new nest to feed their chicks, place the fallen babies in the new nest and observe from a distance for an hour. Watch closely, because parent birds can be quite stealthy. If they do not return at all, get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

Birds that are almost entirely without feathers: You must put these birds back in their original nest because they will get too cold in a temporary one. Take them to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if that isn’t feasible. Prior to calling a rehabilitator, attempt to reunite baby birds with their parents, keeping in mind that birds thrive when raised by other birds or by their own parents.

Adolescent birds that have left the nest and have a fully feathered body may be considered fledglings if their tail feathers are sparse or nonexistent. They may be hopping on the ground because they are unable to fly. This is normal; birds learn to fly from the ground up! Before they learn to fly, fledglings may stay on the ground for several days or even a week under the watchful eye of their parents, feeding them several times an hour. If a parent bird flies over to the fledglings, which usually happens a few times an hour, you can determine if they are being fed. You can also look for white-grey feces near the fledgling. Fecal material indicates that the birds are receiving care because birds defecate after being fed. As soon as the fledglings are old enough to fly, make sure to keep dogs on a leash and cats inside. For confirmation that the parents aren’t coming back to feed the young, get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

A common misconception is that a fawn, or baby deer, found by itself is an orphan. The fawn is safe if they are lying down quietly and calmly; their mother is probably not far away. To prevent drawing attention from predators, a doe tends to her fawn just a few times per day. Leave the fawn alone unless you are positive that the mother has passed away.

Mother deer still want their babies back despite their aversion to the smell of humans. The mother deer won’t appear until you have left, so if you have already handled the fawn, hurry back to the precise location where you found them.

The fawn most likely needs assistance if they are wandering around all day, crying uncontrollably, or lying on their side. If this is the case, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Fox kits frequently show up unattended for extended periods of time while their parents are out food-hunting. Until their parents determine they are old enough to go hunting, they will play like puppies around the den site. Then they will suddenly disappear. Watch the kits from a distance, and if they appear healthy and active, leave them alone. Get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator if they seem ill or frail or if you have reason to think their parents are deceased.

Neater than bees, baby opossums are born as embryos and nurse in their mother’s pouch for approximately two months. When they begin to ride around on their mother’s back at the age of three to four inches, they may fall off without the mother noticing. Generally speaking, an opossum is old enough to be on its own if it is longer than seven inches (not including the tail). They are orphaned if they are shorter than seven inches (not including the tail), in which case you should get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

Rabbits that are at least four inches long, have erect ears and open eyes, and can hop well are self-sufficient and ought to be left on their own. Additionally, healthy young rabbits in a nest should be left alone. They may appear abandoned because their mother isn’t around, but they are probably okay because mother rabbits only see their dependent young a few times a day to prevent drawing attention from predators. If the nest has been disturbed, cover it gently with any nearby natural materials (leaf, fur, or grass) and proceed as follows:

  • Keep all pets out of the area.
  • Don’t touch the babies—the mother might leave her young if they smell foreign.
  • To determine whether the mother is returning to tend to her young, create a tic-tac-toe pattern over the nest using yarn, sticks, or string. Check back 24 hours later.
  • If the nest is still covered in leaves, grass, or fur despite the removal of the yarn, sticks, or string, the mother has come back to tend to the young.
  • For 24 hours, if the pattern doesn’t change, get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

A young raccoon is most likely an orphan if it has been left alone for longer than a few hours. Raccoon mothers rarely let their young out of their sight. Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, the mother should go outside at night to retrieve her baby. Place an upside-down laundry basket over the infant and place a small weight on top to prevent them from pushing their way out. Keep an eye on them until well into the night. Another option is to place the cub in a pet carrier and shut the door. Use an angled stick to prop it closed rather than latching it. The mother will run in front of the carrier when she gets back, push over the stick, and the door will open.

In case the mother fails to return, get in touch with a certified wildlife rehabilitator. In an ignorant attempt to stop raccoons from consuming trash and other “nuisance” problems, people frequently set traps in the spring and summer. Sadly, this strategy results in mothers who are killed or trapped, leaving their starving children behind. If you see someone in your neighborhood setting traps, gently encourage them to switch to more humane and efficient techniques.

A baby skunk may be orphaned if you witness a group of baby skunks running around, nose to tail, without their mother in sight. Because skunks have poor vision, the babies may quickly lose sight of their mother if something frightens them and they flee.

Keep an eye on things to see if the mother returns to her young. Put on gloves and carefully cover the babies with a plastic laundry basket with lattice sides if they are moving so that the mother can locate them more easily. Avoid placing any weight above the laundry basket.

The mother will flip up the basket and get her babies if she goes back to them. You should raise the basket to let them out if she is having difficulty doing this. Due to their acute nearsightedness, skunks can be startled into spraying by sudden movements. You can avoid getting sprayed if you speak softly and move slowly. If the mother doesn’t stamp her front feet, you can safely move forward because skunks warn potential predators by doing so. Reach out to a certified wildlife rehabilitator if, by dawn, the mother has not returned to collect her young.

A nearly full-sized squirrel with a fluffy, full tail that can run, jump, and climb is an independent squirrel. But if a young squirrel keeps coming up to people and following them, their mother has most likely left. Here, you ought to get in touch with a rehabilitator because the infant is in need of care and is extremely hungry. There are certain situations in which you may need to step in:

  • A baby squirrel falls from a nest.
  • A nest falls from a tree.
  • A felled tree contains an intact nest.

Give the mother squirrel an opportunity to retrieve her young and move them to a new nest if the baby and/or nest fell from the tree today and are in a safe location (away from the road or pets). If the infant is unharmed, leave them alone, avoid the area, keep people and animals away, and keep an eye on them from a safe distance.

If there are too many hazards in the area, like dogs or cats that roam freely, attach a basket to a tree so the mother squirrel has a safer way to bring the young one back. Just make sure it has tiny holes for drainage—a berry basket works great for this. Then put the baby inside. If the mother doesn’t show up, call a rehabilitator.

Put the infant in a shoebox with something warm underneath if it’s cold outside or if they aren’t completely furred (like a heating pad on a low setting or a hot water bottle) To prevent the baby from overheating, place a flannel shirt between them and the heating source. If you cover them, the mother might not be able to locate them.

In the event that the babies are not found by dusk, do the following:

  • Gather the squirrels while wearing thick gloves, then ensconce them in a thick, supple cloth—a cloth diaper, a fleece hat, or a scarf—for protection.
  • One of the following should be placed under the cloth: a heating pad on the lowest setting, a hot water bottle with hot water changed every 30 minutes, or a chemical hand warmer inside a sock. To prevent the babies from overheating, place the heating pad inside two pillowcases if it isn’t covered. ).
  • Contact a wildlife rehabilitator after putting the young squirrels, cloth, and warmer inside a tiny cardboard box or carrier.


Where can I put my cat if I don’t want it anymore?

Get help from shelters and rescue groups. As a last resort, you may be able to surrender your pet to a local shelter or rescue organization. Each agency will have a different process for surrendering a pet to their care; learn more by visiting their website or by calling ahead.

What to do with a dog you can’t take care of?

You can start by asking friends and family members if they would be interested in adopting your pet. You also may wish to check with local pet adoption agencies or re-homing services. You may also wish to contact your local Humane Society for additional tips on securing a long-term home for your pet.

How do I surrender my dog in Minnesota?

If you have an animal who requires immediate placement, please contact the following shelters: Animal Humane Society: 952-435-7738. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control: 612-673-6222.