[Baby squirrels are among the more than 2,900 injured and orphaned animals cared for by the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn. The nonprofit agency is hosting a dinner fundraiser April 6 with proceeds to aid in carrying out its mission.]
About the size of your palm, baby bunnies are still very small when they leave the nest, but they can hop, their eyes are open and their ears are away from their head.
At this size, they can be seen hopping around in the yard. Simply encourage them to scurry away, as they do not need their mother, or our help, unless they are injured.
Cottontails are also one of the most difficult animals to rehabilitate, so Fox Valley Wildlife Center encourages the public to take every effort to make sure the animals are truly in need before bringing them in.
Songbirds are another baby wild animal that the public brings in for care, as their nests sometimes blow down or baby birds fall out.
Hatchling or nestling songbirds can be returned to their nest.
Touching them does not discourage the mother from caring for them, that is a myth.
If the nest is too high, or can not be located, one may be hand crafted. Take an old margarine, or cool whip container, poke a few tiny holes in the bottom for drainage, and fill with grass and leaves.
Place the babies inside and tack the artificial nest to the tree nearest where the baby was found.
Fledgling songbirds, however, are no longer supposed to be in a nest, and can simply be left alone.
These baby birds now have feathers instead of a full body of down and are learning to fly by hopping around on the ground.
Fledglings will hunker down and hide in grass from predators during the two to three weeks it takes them to learn to fly.
In either case, whether you have found a nestling and returned it to its nest, or made a nest for it, or found a fledgling on the ground, the parents should still be feeding their young during these stages.
Watch from a window. If two hours pass and an adult has not flow to the baby, or at any time the baby seems cold, lethargic, or covered in bugs, the Fox Valley Wildlife Center recommends them to be brought in for care.
More information is available by calling the center at 630-365-3800 or by visiting fvwc.org.