AUSTIN – It’s not uncommon during the summer months to see what appears to be abandoned fawn deer or fledgling birds in need; that’s when humans need to resist the urge to help, wildlife experts say.
Some species, including birds, deer and snakes, are normally very active this time of year and are typically seen more frequently. With the abundance of recent rainfall, increased sightings of displaced wildlife in flooded areas can also be expected, but if left alone these critters will return to their natural environment once water levels subside.
This is the time of year that young birds are out of their nests but cannot fly. If the bird’s eyes are open, it has a coat of feathers and is hopping around, it is probably fine, according to staff at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s wildlife information center. Grounded fledglings will usually be up and flying within a few days.
The fawning season is well underway, although the newborns may not be visible to the casual observer for several weeks because of excellent camouflage of their mottled coats and their mother’s care in hiding them from predators.
Deer will typically leave their fawns for hours at a time, returning only to nurse them. Fawns are often discovered lying quietly in tall grass or brushy areas. Well-meaning people sometimes pick up these fawns, thinking that they have been abandoned by their mothers and need help. This is rarely the case.
A fawn should only be picked up if it is covered in fire ants or is otherwise seriously injured. These fawns need assistance and should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.
If it is determined that a wild animal is sick or injured call the TPWD wildlife information line, (512) 389-4505, during business hours for a referral to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
After-hours callers can get the names of rehabilitators from TPWD’s dispatch line at (512) 389-4848 or by accessing the department’s web site.
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