02 May 2012
Spring has sprung and our fields and hedgerows are teaming with wildlife.
At this time of year it is common to find seemingly abandoned young animals on paths when we are out walking so we have a few tips on what to do if you come across something.
Firstly, sometimes seemingly lost babies aren’t lost at all, just getting to know the world outside their nest or burrow and it may be best to leave them alone. If a baby bird is feathered and hopping around, it can actually be detrimental to its health to be moved away from home. As long as he isn’t in immediate danger (for example in a busy road or in the sight of a hungry cat) just leave him as his mother is quite possibly looking out for him.
If however, the chick is still covered in fluffy down, he is probably too young to be out by himself and it may be helpful to look around for a nest. If there is one nearby and you can safely reach it, try replacing the chick without causing any disturbance to any birds inside.
Sometimes wild birds will have obvious injuries from falling or from attacks by predators. Common injuries may include broken wings or legs. Such problems should be reasonably obvious, if a bird is unable to walk fly, or indeed if there is any blood present on its body.
In cases like this, it may be advisable to telephone a vet or the USPCA for advice on what to do.
For safety reasons, some animals are best left to professionals to deal with. Injured swans for example, can be very aggressive and can inflict a lot of damage on untrained, well-meaning individuals. Similarly, carnivorous animals such as foxes or badgers shouldn’t be approached as they will be sore and afraid and can lash out. Animals like this should be dealt with by the USPCA.
Should you come across a lost or injured farm animal whilst walking, try and find a farm house and let the farmer know where you saw it. This is especially true if you find a newborn calf, as his mother is probably not far away. Cows are very protective of their offspring and have been known to attack passers by if they feel threatened so it is always best to let a farmer know your concerns, rather than take on a situation by yourself.
As ever, if you have any concerns while out and about this spring, give your vet a call and they will be able to help or to direct you to the right agency.