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Living with Wildlife in Westchester and Putnam

Courtesy of Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Network
of Westchester County, Inc

During the spring and summer seasons new generations of wildlife are born. These babies are often mistaken for orphans or for being injured or sick or distressed. The fact is that, in many circumstances, these babies are not in need of assistance, and are better left to the care of their parents. Here's some basic information that will help you help wildlife:

  • If you have to chase it, it probably doesn't need your help!
  • Don't make orphans! Babies are often left alone while their parents look for food. Don't take babies from their parents unless you're positive that they need your help. For, example, fledglings are often mistaken for injured birds and fawns are often mistaken for orphans. Instead observe the animal(s) for a period of time (varies with different animals) from a distance. To determine if an animal needs assistance look for things such as bleeding, broken limbs or wings, wounds, infestations, and tilted head.
  • If an animal needs help, keep it warm and in a quiet, dark place. Don't give it water or food. Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately.
  • Consider cutting down trees in fall because, in addition to birds, many mammals nest in trees in the spring and summer. Try to leave part of the trunks of dead trees standing: they provide homes for all types of wildlife.
  • Before mowing your lawn, check the ground for nesting baby rabbits, for baby birds/mammals that might have fallen out of their nests, and for fledglings. Before pruning bushes, check for bird's nests. In general, before doing any landscaping, check your property for wildlife.
  • Free-roaming cats and dogs can harm wildlife. Please keep your pets indoors and under control. Your pets will be safer, too! If you can't keep your cat indoors, you can use multiple bell collars which will alert some wild animals to your cat's presence. If your pet has caught an animal in its mouth, it'll need to be taken to a "rehabber" or a vet that treats wildlife.
  • When wildlife nests in your home, if it doesn't present an immediate threat to those in your household, give it a grace period. It'll usually leave on its own. If you need to hire a wildlife trapper, find one who gives you a written guarantee that he will, whenever possible, (1) use non-lethal methods only, (2) release the animals together (so juveniles aren't separated from their mothers) and on-site (relocated animals have low survival rates when released in unfamiliar areas), and (3) do the necessary exclusion and repair work to prevent wild animals from re-entering your home. If you patch attic and roof holes and cap your chimney, wildlife cannot nest in your home.
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