On the Wild Side - Spring Time and Baby Animals

Spring brings new growth, warmer weather, new live and growth; Squirrels, pronghorn antelope, birds, and most wildlife are born at this time.   Some misconceptions surrounding these newly born wild animals occur when people encounter baby animals, they often believe they were abandoned or that they need help, but generally, that is not the case.  Parent animals intentionally leave their young alone, especially in the newborn stages.  Camouflage is one of the best resources for many newborn animals, and they often use camouflage until they are older and strong enough to flee from predators.  Camouflage is one of nature's ways of protecting baby animals.

Many young animals, such as deer fawns are born nearly scent-free as a means of avoiding being discovered by predators.  A person's touch alters that, leaving a scent, and could actually alert a predator.  The safety of young animals is one of the major reasons why people should not touch, pet or hold them.

Many people think that baby animals are orphaned when they are alone.  The truth is most adult wild animals do not stay with their young 24/7.  The young are left in a nest, or a place where the adults feel is safest.  For baby pronghorns born on

F. E. Warren, this could be a very public place which the adult antelope considers predator free such as close to a building or a well-traveled road.  The mother is generally close by and attending the baby from a distance.  Taking a fledgling bird, pronghorn fawn, or any other young animal from the wild and out of the care of its parent does not help the baby animal and can actually lead to its early death.  Never assume an animal is orphaned, and don't remove it from the wild, this includes your backyard.  Bunnies are rarely orphaned and the mother rabbit only visits the den sites at dusk and dawn to feed the young bunnies.  

For birds, leave fledgling baby birds alone.  It is natural for baby birds to be awkward while learning to fly.  If you see one on the ground, leave it alone and keep your distance.  It is a good bet that the mother bird, and father bird too, know where the baby is and they will continue to feed it for several days while it is on the ground and out of the nest before it "gets its wings" and learns how to fly.  However, if you are concerned that a young animal has been abandoned, please call the 90th Civil Engineer Environmental Element at 773-4356 or the LE desk at 773-3501, so that it can be monitored.

Keep domestic animals, such as dogs or cats away from all wildlife, especially in the spring, when young animals are most vulnerable.  Cats are a major cause of injury and death of many birds, so it’s important to keep pets away from fledgling birds.  Additionally, it is against Base rules to allow pets to roam free on base.

Enjoy this wonderful time of year of new birth and young life, but remember to do it from a distance.  


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