Mother bunnies only feed their kits once or twice a day, so it’s most likely she will return. If a bunny is out of the nest, place it back in the nest. If you can’t find the nest, put the babies in a box, keep them warm and call a licensed rehabilitator.
Don't give wildlife food or water
One critical piece of advice from Flint Creek is to refrain from giving food or water to orphaned wildlife.
“The leading cause of death of orphaned wildlife admitted to Flint Creek Wildlife is because well-intentioned members of the public fed the animals before they brought the animals to us,” the group’s website stated.
People who aren’t experts do not have the knowledge, equipment or food necessary to properly care for these creatures, Flint Creek explained.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center urges interveners to interact as little as possible with wildlife unless it truly needs assistance.
"It's always best for parents to raise their young in a natural environment," the website states. "Unlike humans, songbirds and other young wild animals are not constantly supervised by their parents. They spend much of their time alone or with siblings. Because they learn how to find food and shelter, recognize their parents and avoid predators, people should leave them alone when possible."
If you do wind up handling a wild animal, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and clean any container you want to reuse with bleach. Wild animals have diseases that humans and their pets can catch.
Also, it’s important to be cautious when intervening with wildlife because of state and federal laws that protect them, the nature organizations advise. Act quickly if you shelter an injured or orphaned wild animal because it’s illegal to hold them for more than 24 hours, according to Willowbrook.
So find a wildlife rehabilitator or call a rehabilitation facility, such as Willowbrook or Flint Creek, as quickly as possible. Please note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor's stay-at-home order, some rehabilitators and wildlife centers may have reduced hours or fewer services available. So call first to find out the current status of services.
Lead image courtesy of Paul Dacko
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