FAQ about Wildlife

Distressed Small Birds


A young bird fell from its nest – What can I do?
Birds will not abandon their chicks if you touch them – they have a poor sense of smell. If possible put the bird back in its nest. If the nest is destroyed or you can not reach it, place the bird in a wicker or woven stick basket with good drainage and place it in the highest branch near the original nest. If the adult birds don’t return in 24 hours or more, then assume the young birds are orphaned and contact one of the volunteers listed below.

There’s a bird outside that can’t fly – is it an orphan?
If the bird is almost full sized, fully feathered but has a short tail or fleshy gape it may be a fledgling. Birds leave the nest before they are able to fly. While they are on the ground, the adult birds will continue to feed and look after their young. During this time, keep pets indoors and leave the young bird there

How can I tell if a bird needs help?
1. It is unable to stand or perch with both legs.
2. A wing appears to be constantly hanging down or is being held out to the side of its body.
3. The bird was attacked by a cat and there is a noticeable puncture wound.

Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator



Distressed Hawks and Owls (Raptors)


A young hawk or owl found on the ground may not be orphaned. Do not take it to a rehabilitator unless the parents have not been seen for more than 24 hours.

Hawks and owls are capable of inflicting a very nasty wound with their sharp talons or in some cases their beak. Do not try to handle one of these birds unless you are wearing heavy gloves and/or have help from someone with experience.

From the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website

For assistance with injured raptors contact expert raptor rehabilitators go to A PLACE CALLED HOPE website Rehabilitation and Education Center for Birds of Prey
phone: 203-804-3453  or  203-214-2846 or 860-575-9791

List of Wildlife Rehabilitators


Distressed Small Mammals


Squirrels – I’ve found a baby squirrel alone.  What should I do?
Occasionally young squirrels fall from their nest onto the ground. If the baby is fully furred, eyes open and alert, it may have recently left the nest as it become increasingly independent and learns to forage on its won.  If the eyes are closed, try reuniting them with the adult by placing them in a basket or box and hanging it securely in or near the original nesting tree, before bringing these animals to a rehabilitator. Wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the young squirrels. If they are not retrieved within 24 hours contact a rehabilitator.  If a cat or other predator has taken the baby from the nest, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator

Rabbits – I’ve uncovered a nest of baby bunnies and the mother isn’t around.  What should I do?
Baby Bunnies have a very low survival rate when removed from the nest.  It is likely the mother is nearby, so cover the nest with vegetation and leave the bunnies in place.  Rabbits tend to hide their young and visit them just a few times in a 24-hour period to prevent predators from finding the nest. If a nest of rabbits is disturbed, place the young rabbits back in the nest, cover them with leaf litter and place an X of string over the nest. Check it 12 -24 hours later to see if the string has been moved. If the female rabbit has returned to feed her young she will move the leaf litter and then push it back over the young so the string will no longer be in the shape of an X. If she does not return contact a rehabilitator.


  • Young rabbits leave the nest and are able to eat on their own within 3-4 weeks even though they are extremely small.
  • If their eyes are open and they are eating solid foods they are not orphans! If this is the case they should not be moved or brought to a rehabilitator.

Cat Wounds – Cat wounds can become easily infected. Any animal with a noticeable puncture wound from a cat should be treated by a rehabilitator.

From the State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website

Wildlife Rehabilitators in Connecticut

C.W.R.A – The Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitation Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by rehabilitators with the goal of improving the care of distressed wildlife in Connecticut. 

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