New Jerseyans share the environment with a wide variety of wild animal neighbors who rarely need our help. With a little effort we can enjoy the presence of many and use humane methods to deter those who are better off living further from our homes.

Spring is the breeding season for our indigenous wildlife and it’s important that we respect their privacy and ability to raise their young in peace.


When human help is necessary it MUST be provided by trained, licensed NJ wildlife rehabilitators—it’s the law.


Well meaning people often intervene when it’s not necessary—and in our area most frequently come upon fawns, baby rabbits and young birds. Here are some tips to help you decide whether or not the animal needs help:

• Normally left alone in same spot during day
• Mother returns at dusk to feed
• Behavior continues for 3 weeks
• Fawn then becomes strong enough to travel with doe


IF YOU FIND A FAWN THAT IS CURLED UP & QUIET IT’S FINE--LEAVE IT ALONE--MOM WILL RETURN


CONTACT A REHABILITATOR IF:

• Fawn has visible injuries
• Seems cold
• Has flies on it
• Has been crying (bleating) for more than 1 hour


• Mothers leave babies alone during day
• Damaged nests can be repaired
• Place babies in nest with light layer of grass to hide them
• Place 4-5 pieces string/yarn in crisscross pattern on top
• LEAVE—mother will not return if observed
• Disturbance of string at dusk or dawn indicates return of mother

BABY RABBITS THAT HAVE FUR, EARS ERECT, AND ARE ABLE TO HOP ABOUT ON THEIR OWN DO NOT NEED HELP—LEAVE THEM ALONE. A BABY BUNNY THAT IS 3-4 WEEKS OLD OR FITS IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND IS OLD ENOUGH TO BE ON ITS OWN. TAKE STEPS TO KEEP RESIDENT DOGS AND CATS FROM HARMING THEM.

CONTACT A REHABILITATOR IF:

•  Babies are visibly injured or have flies on them
• “String test” indicates mother has not returned to infants

• Feathered babies hopping on the ground are normal fledglings
• Fledglings are still being fed by parents
• Observe from a distance to see if parents nearby
• If bird not safe from dogs, cats, people relocate in nearby bushes or tree limb and watch from distance for parents
• If parents seen leave the area—fledgling is okay

CONTACT A REHABILITATOR IF:

• Bird is a naked nestling
• Bird cannot flutter wings or wings droop unevenly
• Bird is bleeding, weak or shivering
• You have watched from a distance for a considerable time and not seen evidence of parents