Injured or Orphaned Ducks and Geese

Injured or orphaned ducks and geese

Adults ducks and geese

If the duck or goose has a leg that is bent or otherwise misshapen, but the bird can still use the leg and is able to get away from you, the injury is probably old for treatment. Waterfowl generally are able to adapt fairly well to life with a crippled leg if they are still able to swim and fly.

If the duck or goose has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, has fishing line wrapped around it or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

Baby ducks and goslings

If the animal has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, please read this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

If you find a duckling or gosling wandering around without an adult in sight, it will need your help to survive. Pick the baby up and place it gently in a box lined with paper toweling or some soft, non-loopy, clean cloth. Birds will not abandon their babies if they are touched by a human, so don’t worry about picking the baby up. Walk around the area where you found the baby and see if you can spot the parent bird and the rest of the siblings.

If you DO see the rest of the family, get as close as you are able and put the baby down and back away. The mother should now be able to hear her baby’s peeps of alarm and come back to retrieve it.

If the adult does not return for the baby, or no family groups are around, bring the baby to Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. There it will be examined, treated if necessary, and assigned to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for care and eventual release.

If a duck or goose has decided to build a nest in your yard, please leave the nest alone. It is a violation of Federal law to harass any nesting waterfowl, as well as the fact that you are going to miss witnessing a fascinating process. The mother will abandon a nest that is moved, they will only be an inconvenience for a short period of time, approximately three weeks. After the eggs hatch, the mother will take the babies to water. Once the family is in the water, they will not return to the nest again and the nest can be removed.

If the nest is in a dangerous spot, try to watch for the eggs to hatch. Once they have hatched and the babies are dry and fluffy, they can be gathered in a box. The mother will fly off when you approach the nest, but the peeping of the babies will keep her circling close by. Walk the box of babies to a safe spot and gently tip the box to let the babies out. As long as the mother can hear the peeping, she will follow you and “rescue” her babies once you have let them out of the box and backed away.

If you see a mother crossing a dangerous street with a brood, put the babies in a box and walk across the busy street in the same direction the mother was headed. Once you and the mother are safely across the street, you can tip the box and let the babies out.

Never place ducklings or goslings in water, assuming they will be able to swim. They most likely will drown because until their young feathers are preened and conditioned for water, they are not able to swim or they may become hypothermic without their mother’s aide. 

It is illegal to raise a wild animal, even if you are planning on releasing it.
Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Deer

Injured or orphaned deer

Adult deer

Most injured deer are the victims of collisions with vehicles. Unfortunately, there are few medical options for injured adult deer. They are severely traumatized by being captured and their fear can result in further trauma or death.

If the deer is down and unable to get up, the most humane option is to have the deer destroyed to prevent prolonged suffering. Contact your local DNR conservation officer, police department, or sheriff's department and report the exact location of the deer.

If you observe an injured deer that is able to move and walk, call a wildlife expert to help evaluate the situation. You may provide assistance to the animal by establishing a feeding station containing cracked corn, apples, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa. Provide protection so the animal may rest by keeping dogs and humans away from the injured deer.  There may be a local ordinance that prohibits the feeding of wild animals. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible.

Fawns

If the fawn has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, is attempting to move away but is falling over, or crying or whimpering for more than one hour, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

If you have found a fawn alone, the doe may only be off browsing for food. Fawns do not travel with the doe for the first few weeks of life. The doe will leave her fawn nestled in a safe place to await her return. Leave the fawn alone at this point and keep all children, pets, other humans away from the area. You may want to check the roads and roadsides in the area you found the fawn to see if there is a dead nursing doe. If none is found, you will want to observe the fawn from a distance. The doe may be hesitant to return if you are near by. Be patient. The doe may not attend to her fawn for several hours depending on the activity in the area. If the fawn has been left unattended for more than 6 hours, call Wildlife Exam Department for further advice during Animal Humane Society business hours.

If you are reasonably sure the mother is dead, the orphaned fawn will need immediate care. Carefully place the fawn in a warm, darkened enclosure with adequate ventilation. Provide the fawn with warm bedding that has no strings or loops to entangle the fawn’s legs. If you use a carrying kennel you must cover the inside of the wire door with cardboard to prevent leg injuries. Never place the fawn in a wire cage where its legs could be entangled. When you transport the fawn, the container should not be tall enough for the fawn to stand up. He will be safer in a nestled position.

Do not attempt to feed the fawn until its physical condition is assessed. Never feed cows’ milk to a fawn.

Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

 Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Bats

Injured or orphaned bats

If the bat has an obvious injury, is bleeding, looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over or circling, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured and you have a nuisance situation, or are looking for more information please review the following solutions.

Minnesota has seven species of bats, three of which roost in trees and migrate South during cold weather. The others roost in caves, abandoned mines and buildings, where they hibernate during the winter. In summer all species of bats eat flying insects on the wing at night and sleep in roosts during the day. Wing span ranges from eight inches to sixteen inches and all Minnesota bats weigh one ounce or less.

Bats are generally timid and do not attack people, but they may bite if handled. It is very important to protect yourself when you come into contact with a bat as they can carry rabies; wear thick gloves or use a cloth such as a towel when handling them. If you are bitten, please immediately contact the MN Department of Health or your doctor for more information on what you need to do.

A bat that is found on the ground outside is probably sick or injured, and may be captured by scooping it into a container like a box, a grocery bag or pail, and covering the top, still making sure the bat has oxygen.

A bat that is discovered inside a building may be shooed out an open door while flying or captured when roosting and placed outside.

If the bat had unprotected contact with you or another person, was in a room with a sleeping individual or in a room with an unsupervised child, it needs to be brought in for rabies testing.

Bats can make use of very small holes, but they do not chew or make their own openings. Excluding bats completely from a building may be accomplished by closing up openings in walls, eaves, and roofs after you are sure all of the bats are gone. This should not be done in the spring because newborn bats will be trapped. Bat exclusions should be performed ONLY during the months of August and September.

Never place a bat outside when the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. During winter, bats in hibernation go for long periods without eating. The fat reserves they store prior to hibernation may be only slightly more than what is needed to survive the winter. Therefore, it is critical that a bat found in winter be transferred to a licensed rehabilitator or to a wildlife rehabilitation facility as soon as possible.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Rabbits

Injured or orphaned rabbits

Adult rabbits

If the rabbit has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over or circling, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care infromation.

Baby rabbits

If the rabbit or bunny has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, please review the information below to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

Rabbits are a prey species which means they serve as a food source for other animals. This is important to remember as they can stress extremely easily and are very frightened when approached or handled. The mother’s only defense against predators is to not draw any attention to her nest of babies. This is why the infants are only fed twice daily, at dawn and dusk. The mother briefly visits the nest to feed and clean her babies but otherwise stays away and watches over them from a distance; therefore it is very rare to witness this feeding process. When the babies are about the size of a tennis ball at 4 weeks of age, they are completely on their own. 

If you think the baby bunnies in a nest are orphaned please read carefully and follow these instructions FIRST before removing them from their home.

Every year hundreds of bunnies are taken from their mother’s care unnecessarily. If you have already removed the babies; place them back into the same nest site and rebuild the nest to the best of your ability using the original nesting material.

  1. Check the bunnies for any injuries, parasites (such as maggots or many adult flies present), temperature (if they feel cold), or look very thin; these bunnies need immediate help
  2. If they look healthy and are warm, gently place a few small sticks in a recognizable pattern (we recommend a star or X pattern) over the top of the nest. Check the sticks the next morning to see if they have moved. The mother gently lies over the nest to feed so you are looking for slight movements of the sticks.
  3. If the sticks have moved and the babies still look healthy; the mother is taking care of her babies. Please leave them alone from here on out unless there is cause for concern. The mother needs her space to successfully raise her babies. Keep all pets and children away!
  4. If the sticks look as though they have not moved and/or the bunnies are chilled or parasites are present, you can assume the bunnies are orphaned and in need of professional help.

Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. It is against the law to try and raise these bunnies yourself. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

If you find tennis ball size or larger juvenile rabbits in your yard, unless they are obviously injured or feel cold, please leave them alone. They are on their own and do not need help but will “freeze” in fear, allowing people to approach them. Do not handle them unless absolutely necessary as it will only cause more stress and draw dangerous attention to these vulnerable juveniles. If they are in an unsafe location or a window well they can be gently relocated to a nearby safe spot under some brush or covering as long as they are healthy.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Emergency Care

Emergency care of a wild animal

If you can walk up to a wild animal without it running or flying away, this animal may need your help. This applies to both adult and young animals. If the animal has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, sits still with eyes closed, the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. If the animal is not injured, review to the species information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

If the animal is injured or sick:

  • Prepare a container — Use a cat carrier or cardboard box with air holes for ventilation. For small birds and animals you can use a paper bag with holes for ventilation. Place a light sheet or towel on the bottom. Do not use grass clippings; even dry grass contains moisture and will make the animal cold. Make sure the container is closed and secure.
  • Protect yourself — Use gloves and goggles to protect yourself from getting scratched or bitten. Place a light sheet or towel over the animal and gently pick it up. Place the animal in the prepared container. Please seek professional advice before attempting to capture a large or potentially dangerous wild animal.
  • Provide a heat source — A heat source can be a heating pad on low, activated hand warmers, hot water bottles, or plastic water bottles filled with warm water. Be sure to protect the animal from touching the heat source by wrapping the heat source in a towel. Create enough space to allow the animal to move away from the heat source if needed.
  • Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place — Do not give the animal food or water. Keep children and pets away. Do not handle the animal.
  • Note exactly where you found the animal — This will be important for the release of the animal. If there is an empty nest, bring it with the animal as it may help us to identify the species.
  • Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible — Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible. See contact information for AHS Wildlife professionals below.
  • Wash your hands after contact with the animal — Wash anything that the animal was in contact with - towels, clothes, and carrier - to prevent the spread of disease and parasites to you and your pets.
  • Do not attempt to keep the animal — It is against the law to keep wild animals without the proper permits, even if you plan to release them. Wild animals NEVER make good pets. Injured animals need to be given proper medical attention. Orphaned wild animals have specific nutritional, behavioral, and social requirements that need to be met so this animal can have a successful release to the wild.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Songbirds

Injured or orphaned songbirds

Baby birds

If the bird has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information. 

If the animal is not injured, review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

The most common injuries inflicted on birds are cat or dog attacks, hitting windows, hit by a car, and being removed from a nest by predators. Tree removal and storm damage can also displace birds. The most common reasons nests are abandoned are because the parents or young have been attacked. Nests can also be abandoned if one parent dies, if young are sick or the ill may be pushed out of the nest. Nests will be abandoned if they are moved from their original location. The last baby to leave a nest can be abandoned by parents who are busy feeding the ones already out of the nest. Baby birds who have just left the nest can easily find themselves in trouble because their flying and food finding skills take time to develop.

If you've found a baby bird, please know that most perching baby birds are fed insects by their parents, regardless of what they eat as an adult. Bird rehabilitators have a complicated bird formula that tries to imitate the nutrient value of insects. It is best to get the baby to a professional so this formula can be fed to the baby. You can offer birds lukewarm water dripped off the end of your finger onto the corner of the bird’s bill. If the bird is thirsty it will swallow, if not it will shake the water off. A baby bird leaves the nest about two weeks after hatching. It grows so rapidly that missed feedings can cause it to die overnight if it didn’t get enough to eat during the day. Birds eat dawn to dusk and rest at night. Getting the bird help as soon as possible increases the chances that the bird will grow to an adult and be able to take its place in the wild.

If you can walk up to a bird without it running or flying away, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

Adult birds

If the bird has been injured by a cat, has an obvious injury to its wing or leg, has something dirty, oily, or sticky in its feathers, or was hit by a car, it needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If not, please review the following tips:

If you have a bird that just flew into a window and is lying stunned on the ground, the injured bird should be picked up gently and placed inside a cardboard box, carrier, or large grocery bag with adequate ventilation. Place a layer of paper toweling on the bottom of the container. Place the bag in the house or garage in a warm, dark, quiet place and leave it alone for 30 minutes. Keep all children and pets away. After the 30 minutes is up, take the bird in the container outside and open the container. Never open the container in the house or garage. The bird should have regained its composure within 30 minutes and fly out of the open container after a few minutes.  If the bird doesn’t fly out and away after a few minutes, re-cover the container and transport the bird to AHS's Golden Valley location as soon as possible to receive professional care.

If you frequently experience birds flying into your window
The bird is probably seeing its own reflection and is trying to drive the “intruder” away. This bird behavior is seen primarily when the birds are busy establishing territories. Putting a non-reflective paper, like newspaper, on the OUTSIDE of the window for a few days will deter the collisions. Some people put streams of colored crepe paper on the OUTSIDE of the window to move in the summer breezes and deter the birds from seeing their reflections and attacking the glass.

If an adult wild bird gets into your house
Try to shut the bird into one room. Cover mirrors, windows or other reflective surfaces. Turn out all the lights, ceiling fans, etc. If the room has a window that you can open, do so and remove the screen so the bird can find his way out. If the room doesn’t have a window that can be opened to the outside, make the room as dark as possible. Then get a towel and a small flashlight. Go into the room, and by turning the flashlight on and off, locate where the bird is sitting. Once you know where it is, gently toss the towel over it, scoop up the bird in the towel and take it outside. If you are unable to make the room dark, wait until nighttime to catch the bird. Chasing a bird all around the room will just terrify the bird and perhaps lead to an injury.

If a bird is stuck in your chimney or fireplace
You will probably have to contact a chimney sweep for help in removing it. Any bird that has been stuck in a chimney, fireplace or furnace should not be released until it is cleaned and examined by a rehabilitator. 

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley facility aides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Wildlife Resources

Wildlife resources

At Animal Humane Society, every animal has a story, domestic or wild.

Together, with Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release, Inc. (WRR), we accept and treat injured and orphaned wild animals at our Golden Valley site. We are the only humane society in Minnesota to hold a permit with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which allows us to have specially trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators on staff. These technicians provide care and comfort to injured and orphaned wildlife.

Our wildlife placement services are utilized by private citizens and several community law enforcement agencies. Having a wildlife placement service available provides animal control and community service officers with the resources necessary to respond to calls from residents about injured and orphaned wildlife.

Injured or orphaned wildlife

For immediate information on what to do if you have found injured or orphaned wild animals, please review our wildlife resource library. For additional assistance call our Wildlife Exam Department at (763) 489-2223.

Nuisance wildlife

Please review our nuisance wildlife library for tips on how to deter specific nuisance wildlife from your property. Animal Humane Society does not trap and remove nuisance animals.

Wildlife supplies

You can make a difference in a wild animal’s life by contributing items on our wishlist.

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