​How to Help Wildlife


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How to Help Wildlife: "If you care, leave them there!"

If you see an animal that you think may be in need of help, before doing anything, call a wildlife rehabilitator and they will advise you to either help rescue the animal or to leave it alone.

The closest wildlife rehabilitation center to Daggerwing Nature Center is:
Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital
3000 Sportsplex Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065
954-752-9453 ~ sawgrassnaturecenter.org

For a list of additional local wildlife click here 

Baby Animals

Too often, well-meaning people pick up young animals mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring.

As young songbirds develop, they soon outgrow the limited space of a nest (particularly if there are multiple chicks) and leave the nest before they are able to fly. They move about the ground and low branches, often for several days. The adult birds continue to care for the youngsters, answering the chicks' demanding calls with regular deliveries of worms and insects. This is when people often interfere, taking healthy chicks out of the wild and placing them in a shoebox with a few crusts of bread. This deprives the growing bird of essential nutrients found in its wild diet. Resist the urge to pick up a baby bird and leave it there!

If the baby appears to be injured or orphaned, call a wildlife rehabilitator and they will instruct you how to help. For additional information on what to do if you find a baby animal, click the following links:

Baby Birds
Baby Mammals

Injured Animals

Sometimes you find an injured wild animal. Resist the urge to "take it home and help it." The best thing to do is call a rehabilitator and they will instruct you how to help. Most of the time, this will mean transporting the injured animal to a rehabilitation facility.

Florida requires a license to rehabilitate wildlife. These regulations help protect the animal as well as the public. Animals can be injured with inappropriate care. Sometimes the animal becomes imprinted and thus never is able to be returned to the wild. You should also know that federal laws prohibit the rehabilitation of some animals (like birds of prey) without a license. Even being caught with the feathers of some birds is a federal crime.

Ways to Help Wildlife

  • Never keep a wild animal as a pet! Removing even one animal from nature can cause disturbances to the population. Leave wild animals in the wild where they belong.
  • Never release a pet animal into the wild! It is illegal, and the effects can be far reaching and devastating to native wildlife populations.
  • Always keep cats indoors! Felines kill and injure an extraordinarily large number of animals every day. Even if the cat is well-fed and not hungry, it is still in the cat's nature to hunt and kill, and it will. A University of Wisconsin study conservatively estimated that in rural Wisconsin, cats kill 7.8 MILLION birds a year, and birds only comprised 20% of the total number of animals the cats killed. If you care about wildlife, keep cats indoors or on a leash.
  • Do not feed wild animals! Feeding animals by hand can have negative effects. If people hand feed or throw food to animals, they may lose their fear of people. It is important for animals to keep their natural fear of people and keep their distance for their safety and our safety. We also do not want animals to lose their foraging instincts and abilities, which can happen if they are fed by people. In addition, most of the food that we would be tempted to give wild animals (bread, chips, etc.) is not good for them! There is plenty of natural food in the environment for them to find, and their natural diet will keep them healthy, but "people food" will not. If you insist on feeding wild animals, set up feeders and purchase appropriate wildlife feed, and watch the feeder and animals from indoors, so the animals do not come into close contact with people.
  • Donate money to a rehabilitation facility, or become a volunteer with the rehabilitation facility.
  • Remind children not to approach or handle wildlife and teach them the simple philosophy: "If you care, leave them there!"

Information courtesy of the Wildlife Damage Control

Daggerwing Nature Center is not able to accept sick, injured, or orphaned animals. Please contact a rehabilitation facility and they may be able to assist you. We are also unable to accept unwanted pets. Please contact your local pet store to see if they can help you, and please keep in mind that it is illegal to release pets into the wild.