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.
The extension service's website features a page called "Professional Services" that lists licensed rehabilitators by county as well as Illinois Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists by region.
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.
On April 3, Flint Creek posted on its Facebook page that two baby birds were brought in by someone who fed the birds and, as a result, both were suffering from aspiration pneumonia. “Despite antibiotics and other supportive care, one died yesterday and the other is in critical condition,” the post stated.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center urges interveners to interact as little as possible with the wildlife they may be sheltering until a rehabilitator can care for it or it can be transported to a wildlife center.
“Adult wild animals view humans as predators and are easily stressed by human contact,” Willowbrook’s website stated. “They’re not comforted by our presence or voices. What seems like a subdued — even friendly — animal can recover quickly and become dangerous when cornered in a box.
“Additionally, baby ducks, geese, crows, raptors and some songbirds easily become imprinted on humans when exposed to our voices and appearance. Imprinted wild animals end up confused about their identities and cannot be released once grown. Sadly, imprinting frequently ends in euthanasia.”
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.
Lead image courtesy of Paul Dacko
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