Until I started working at PAWS Wildlife Center, I did not know that:
• Mother deer groom their young to keep them as scent-free as possible during the early days of their lives. This protects the fawns from predators while they hide in the grass when the doe is away feeding. Mom will bed down away from the baby as added protection. If you find a deer fawn, do not immediately assume she is orphaned. Most likely, the mother is nearby. Quickly and quietly leave the area. Check the spot in 24 hours and if the fawn is still there, call PAWS for more info.
• Many fledgling birds spend time on the ground learning to fly. Most are not successful the first time they try to fly from the nest. They make short flights as they build their flight muscles and skills. The parents will continue to feed and protect them as much as they can by dive-bombing anyone that presents a threat. It may take up to 1 week for some songbirds and 2 weeks for larger birds like crows to become fully flighted.
• Juvenile crows have blue eyes. Crows are quite large babies so they can be mistaken for adults. A great way to tell whether the bird is a youngster is to check the eye color. The young crow will also have bright pink gape flanges (the corners of the mouth) and short tail feathers.
• Most birds have a poor sense of smell. It is a myth that if you touch a baby bird the parents will reject him. Songbirds rely more on sight and sound as their strongest senses. You can put a nestling back into the nest, as long as the bird is not injured or sick.
I hope this information is enlightening and helps you make more informed decisions about whether a wild animal needs rescuing or not. In any case, I recommend calling PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 if you have any questions regarding wildlife.