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"Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.

We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it."

-St. Francis of Assisi


Welcome to Wildlife Rescue!


Our Mission:

Wildlife Rescue, Inc. (formally Wild Bird Rescue, Inc.) was founded in 1994. We assist Maryland residents with wildlife emergencies, rescue and rehabilitate wildlife with the goal of release back to nature. We are dedicated to helping people find humane solutions for co-existing with wildlife. We believe there is always a humane answer to any wildlife issue.


First ever Non-Lethal White-Tailed Deer Birth Control Sterilization Spay Project in the history of Maryland on private land in a residential community!


Please Don’t Kidnap That Baby!


Each year across the U.S., thousands of “orphaned” wild birds and mammals are rescued by well-meaning people when they didn’t need to be rescued at all.


In the spring and summer, people frequently find baby wild animals and assume they are orphaned. However, whether or not an animal is orphaned depends on the animal's age and species, and how their natural behaviors are perceived. People sometimes assume that an animal found alone means the animal is orphaned. They don't realize that certain animals, like deer and rabbits, commonly leave their young alone to avoid attracting predators with their own scent. While other animals like raccoons are closely supervised by their mothers, so finding a young raccoon alone does indicate that the animal is likely to be an orphan. These guidelines will help you decide whether the baby you are seeing is truly an orphan, and what if anything you should do.


When to Rescue or Not
How to Rescue a Bird or Mammal
How to Prepare A Protective Container
Rescue DON'Ts
About Cat and Dog Bites

Birds    Baby Deer (Fawns)    Rabbits    Squirrels   

Opossums    Foxes    Raccoons   


About Trapping Other Wildlife    Find a MD Rehabilitator

• It’s always best to leave what you may think is an “orphaned” animal alone unless it is in obvious distress or in an unsafe location. Quite often, its parents are close by and reluctant to return because you are there. Watch for their return from a safe distance.


• Generally, if no parent returns within one to two hours, you should call a wildlife rehabilitator or begin preparing your protective container. An exception to this rule is a nest of baby bunnies – see Rabbits and baby deer (fawns) – See Deer to learn how to check for Mom’s return.


• Call a wildlife rehabilitator for assistance before rescuing any animal. This is especially important with the rescue of a wild creature of any size or strength.


• Remember, the possibility of exposure to rabies always exists. You must protect yourself and your pet from any contact with a wild animal's saliva and other body fluids.


When to Rescue or Not

Q:  I found a fawn all alone – is he orphaned?
A:  People mistakenly assume that a fawn is orphaned if found alone. Rest assured that the mother deer is nearby. The doe will only visit and nurse her fawn a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. At four weeks old, the fawn will begin to travel with his mother. Just leave the fawn alone unless you know that the mother i
s dead. Mother deer are wary of human smells; if you have already handled the fawn, take a towel, rub it in the grass, and then wipe down the fawn to remove all human scent. Using gloves, promptly return the fawn to where he was found. However, if the fawn is lying on his side, or wandering and crying incessantly, they need help. Wounded wildlife are susceptible to maggots that get into wounds in the summer heat from flies. This is especially common with fawns that are attacked by dogs. The fawn will need to be treated for maggots immediately or it will die. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian in your area if you think the fawn has been bitten by a dog. Do not chase a fawn. In most cases this will cause too much stress and can kill the baby deer. But remember, a fawn found alone and quiet is OK!

Q:  I found a nest of baby rabbits. Are they orphaned?
A:  If the nest is intact and the babies are not injured, leave them alone! Mother rabbits only visit their young 2-3 times a day to avoid attracting predators. If the nest has been disturbed, or if you think the babies are orphaned, recover the nest with surrounding natural materials, such as grass, leaves and fur, and put an “X” of sticks or yarn over the nest to assess if the mother is returning to nurse her young. If the “X” is moved but the nest is still covered by the next day, the mother has returned to nurse them. If the “X” remains undisturbed for 24 hours, they need help.


Q:  Baby birds fell from their nest and I touched them – will the parents reject them now?
A:  It's a myth that birds abandon their chicks if a person touches them. Unlike other animals, birds are not sensitive to the human scent. Just put the baby birds back in their nest if safe to do so. If the original nest was destroyed or is too high to reach, hang a wicker or woven stick basket close to where the original nest was. Woven stick baskets make perfect substitute nests: they resemble natural nests and allow rai
n to pass through so the birds don't drown. However, make sure the basket isn't too deep - adult birds will not jump into anything they can't see out of. You should watch for an hour to make sure that the parent birds return to the new nest to feed their chicks. If they don't return, then help is needed.

Q:  There’s a bird outside that can’t fly. Is he injured?
A:  If it's summertime and the bird is almost full-sized, fully feathered, but has short tail feathers, he may be a fledgling. Often birds leave the nest several days before they are able to fly. This is normal, as birds learn to fly from the ground up. Stand back and look for parent birds who will fly over to feed their fledgling a few times per hour. For several days, the fledgling may remain on the ground but the parents will supervise and teach their young how to hunt for food- so it is very important to leave the fledgling there! Be sure to keep your companion animals indoors during this period. If there are cats or dogs in the area whom you can't control, put the fledgling in a basket and hang the basket securely from a nearby tree limb. Hopefully, this will keep the bird off the ground for the few extra days he needs before he can fly. However, if the bird appears injured and/or alone, or in imminent danger, they need help.

Q:  I see fox kits (pups) playing by themselves – but no parent is around. Are they orphaned?
A:  Often fox kits will appear unsupervised for long periods of time while both parents are out hunting for food. Observe the kits from a distance. If they seem energetic and healthy, just leave them alone. Call Wildlife Rescue, Inc. if the kits appear sickly or weak, or if you have reason to believe both parents are dead.


Q:  I found a baby opossum – is he orphaned?
A:  Baby opossums are born as embryos, barely larger than a bee. They crawl up to their mother’s pouch where they spend about 2 months attached to one of her 13 nipples. Sometimes when baby opossums get to be about 3-4 inches long, they ride around on mother’s back – if they fall off, she may not know they are missing. The general rule is if the opossum is less than 7 inches long (without the tail) he is an orphan. Over 7 inches long, he’s old enough to be on his own!


Q:  There’s a baby squirrel outside under a tree – is he orphaned?
A:  If tree work was recently done and the nest or baby fell down as a result, give the mother a chance to reclaim her young. If the baby fell from the tree uninjured, leave him where he is, leave the area and keep people and companion animals away. Monitor from a safe distance; if the baby is not retrieved by night-time, contact Wildlife Rescue, Inc. If there is a risk of predation, you can put the squirrel in a wicker basket and attach the basket securely to the tree. Do not cover the squirrel with leaves or blankets because the mother may not be able to find him. If it is chilly outside, or if the baby isn't fully furred, provide him with a heat source, such as a heating pad or a hot water bottle.

Q:  There’s a baby raccoon outside wandering around – is he orphaned?
A:  If the baby raccoon has been seen alone for more than a few hours then he has probably lost his mother, since mother raccoons closely supervise their young and don’t let them out of their sight. You can put an upside down laundry basket over the baby (with a weight on top) and monitor for a few hours. Ask around to see if anyone in the neighborhood trapped an adult raccoon or saw one hit by a car. If the mother does not return then call Wildlife Rescue, Inc.


Please note that the live trapping of "nuisance" wildlife often leads to wild animal babies being unintentionally orphaned. This is because spring and summer are when many wild animals attempt to use chimneys, attics, and outbuildings as sites in which to raise their young. It may seem like a kind solution to trap and relocate a wild animal, but a high mortality rate among relocated animals, and orphans being left behind to starve, are the all-too-frequent results. We strongly discourage the trapping of wildlife for these reasons.

www.urbanwildliferescue.org/humane will tell you lots of ways to use humane eviction without trapping and without harming the animal if an animal is in your house, attic, yard or a visiting nuisance.

Other Wildlife

If you see other wild animals in distress, especially creatures of size or strength, as well as mammals that are classified as rabies vector species, such as raccoons and foxes, call a wildlife rehabilitator immediately for assistance. Only a State-licensed and specially trained wildlife rehabilitator should handle these animals.

To Find a Maryland Rehabilitator in Your Area go to: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/rehabilitators.aspx

How to Rescue a Bird or Mammal

First, wear gloves, if possible – animals may bite or scratch to protect themselves. Also, wild animals commonly have parasites, like fleas, ticks or lice, and can carry disease.

To capture a small, immobile bird, approach it slowly with some paper towels or a soft cloth and gently pick it up. Then, carefully place the bird in your protective container.

Approach larger birds and other immobile animals with a blanket and gently cover the entire animal to keep it quiet. Carefully lift the creature and place it in a covered protective box or animal carrier. Place the box in a warm, dark, quiet place and keep children and pets away. Do not handle or bother the creature – stress kills!

Wash your hands to prevent the spread of disease or parasites to you or your pets. Don’t give the creature food or water – milk is especially deadly! Get the bird or mammal to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Timing is crucial!

How to Prepare Your Protective Container

1. Punch air holes into the top of a cardboard box large enough to hold the creature (but small enough that it cannot run or fly around inside and injure itself even further).

2. Line the bottom of the box with paper towels, a soft cloth or toilet tissue.

3. Keep orphaned babies and injured animals warm. If possible, put a hot water bottle, closed tightly to avoid leakage and wrapped in a towel, in another part of the box, to avoid direct contact with the creature. (You may also use double zip-lock plastic bags filled with warm water and covered with a cloth - use 2 in case one leaks!)

4. Once the creature is in the box, securely tape or rubber band the container shut.

5. Bring the bird or mammal to Wildlife Rescue a wildlife rehabilitator right away!

Rescue DON'Ts

Often knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Here are a few things you should NEVER do:

• DON’T give water or food (including milk, which is especially deadly!) to an injured or orphaned animal.

• DON’T leave pets or children outside when a fledgling is on the ground.

• DON’T cut a tree down without looking for wildlife to see if there’s a squirrel, bird or raccoon nest in the tree.

• DON’T allow pets or children to disturb a rabbit’s nest.

• DON’T keep a wild animal as a pet.

About Cat and Dog Bites . . .

If you suspect that an animal has been caught or bitten by a cat or dog– even if no puncture wounds are visible – the creature must be put on antibiotics right away. Bacteria in a cat’s saliva will cause infection, and, if untreated, the animal will die. Wounded wildlife are also susceptible to maggots that get into wounds in the summer heat from flies. This is especially common with fawns that are attacked by dogs. The fawn will need to be treated for maggots immediately or it will die. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian in your area.

If after reading the above you still need help in Baltimore County, MD call 410-357-5179. If you want more information on our deer birth control project call 443-824-1718

Quality of Care and Operating Efficiency

Wildlife Rescue, Inc. has received the award known as the "Best in America" Seal. This award is extended to only 5% of the charities that participate in the Combined Federal Campaigns. We take pride in receiving this award, which is not only a reflection of the quality of care we provide but also recognition of the efficiency of our administrative and fundraising activities. This efficiency is demonstrated by the fact that more than 86 cents of every dollar donated is used directly for the animals under our care.


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