June 12, 2013 —
A year ago, I received a phone message from a homeowner in reference to an eagle that seemed to be stuck in a bush near his home. I called the homeowner back and, after a few minutes of conversation, it was determined that the eagle was in less peril than was first thought. It turned out to be a fledgling young eagle that just picked the wrong landing spot; it extricated itself to find a more suitable perch.
All over the region, young animals of all types are making their first appearance into the world. In some cases, these young seem to wind up in perilous or awkward situations and question arises on whether to intervene or not. The answer to this situation in most cases is to let the young animal be. That young bird on the ground may have just fledged out of the nest and is likely getting ready to find a more secure perch. The young fawn, seemingly by itself, may have a mother watching from a distance; deer frequently put a little distance between them and their fawns so as not to attract attention to the fawns until they get some strength in their legs and are able to travel easily.
There are cases where an animal may have to be moved out of harm’s way. A young turtle, for example, can be placed on the side of the road, but put it on the side of the road it was pointed so it does not try to re-cross the roadway after you leave. If an animal appears injured, contact your state wildlife agency, or a local wildlife rehabilitator. Be aware of your own safety and size up any hazards before doing anything along a road. Most of the time, young critters find their own way out of trouble and should be left alone.
Some more information about young wildlife can be found on the NYSDEC web page at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6956.html .