Springtime Wildlife in Washington State
Western Washington has a population explosion of wildlife babies born every spring usually beginning in April and lasting until the end of June.
We all love to watch the new baby birds leaving their nests for the first time; baby bunnies, raccoons, squirrels, or opossums exploring away from their mothers and especially the beautiful fawns we see sometimes standing or lying on the sides of the road.
Unlike humans, wildlife mothers leave their nests for several hours at a time. There are usually two reasons for this. The first is to search for food and the second is to teach their babies survival instincts.
Please watch from a distance and do not disturb the babies. The mother invariably returns to care for her young, even when a nest has been “destroyed”. If you see a “destroyed” nest, you can place the babies in a shallow box near the original nest and do not disturb them. The most important thing you can do is to keep dogs, cats and children away from them. If you return in 24 hours and they still appear healthy, the mother is nearby and still caring for them.
One of the most common small animals left to themselves are baby bunnies; because the mother will only feed their babies once or twice per day.
Remember, disturb them as little as possible, and place the box as close as possible to the original nest. When you do see an injured baby, place it in a secure container. Line the box with grass, tissue, and newspaper or paper towel and put it in a dark, warm, and quiet place while you call for assistance. It is important that you not offer food or water!
One of the most common young babies that we see and believe have been abandoned are baby deer (fawns). A fawn very often appears to be abandoned, but it’s mom is almost always very close by watching. One of the warmest spots for a fawn to lie is on the side of the road. They can stay there for up to 15 hours at a time. A defense mechanism for deer is to freeze. So if you try to approach a baby fawn, it may not respond to your presence. You may be surprised to discover mom is very close and waiting for you to leave.
If you discover that you have a furry or feathered family growing up close by your home it can be one of the most wonderful experiences to observe. The key to their health is keeping yourself, children, dogs and cats away from the nesting area.
If you have any questions about our local wildlife you can call the West Sound Wildlife Shelter (WSWS) at 206-855-9057 or you can visit their website at http://www.westsoundwildlife.org. You may also give us a call.