UCSO: If You See Young Wildlife That Looks Abandoned, It’s Probably Not

The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife are reminding the public to leave young wildlife alone - their mother may just be off somewhere looking for food. (Photo by Greg Yamada)

Each spring, Oregon is blessed with an abundance of ducklings, bear cubs, seal pups, and fawns, among other wild baby critters.

This time of year is also when the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center, along with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) begin to receive calls from concerned citizens stating they have found an abandoned baby animal and want to know what to do with it.

ODFW biologists want to get the important message out – leave young wildlife in the wild.

Many wild critters end up losing any chance of survival when they’re removed from the wild, even if it’s only for a brief time.

Birds nest in the spring and young birds may be visible on the landscape from late February through early summer. Some baby birds, called fledglings, may become separated from their parents as they learn to fly. These are sometimes mistaken as abandoned birds and brought to wildlife rehabbers. Unless obviously injured, birds should be left where they are or lifted carefully back onto a branch to avoid predators, so they have the best chance at survival.

Deer fawns are typically born between April and June. The mother spends the majority of the day away from their young to forage for food and reduce the risk of a predator finding the fawn. Some folks mistake these fawns as abandoned and remove them from the wild, severely reducing their chance at survival.

So, if you see a young critter on its own, leave it alone.