See a baby wild animal? Observe from a distance  

LANSING — Each spring brings a new generation of wildlife, and while you’re enjoying the sights of the season, be sure to give wildlife plenty of space to raise their young while you watch from a distance.

Young animals are often left alone, but the parents are never far. This is especially true for rabbits and fawns.

"One survival strategy wild mammal moms use is hiding their young while they are elsewhere, but don’t worry; they will return periodically to nurse and care for the babies," said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. "This tactic helps young animals stay safer from predators while mom goes elsewhere to avoid drawing attention to where they’re hidden."

Eventually, the youngsters will be strong and fast enough to venture out on their own or accompany their mother.

"As we get later into spring and into the summer you might see fledgling birds hopping around on the ground, and this is completely normal," Schauer said. "These fluffy youngsters are getting old enough to start trying to fly and need more space than the nest has. Their parents aren't far and will continue to feed and care for them."

Never remove an animal from the wild. Young animals are rarely abandoned and their best chance for survival is to remain in the wild.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal in Michigan.

Learn more about what to do if you find a baby animal and get a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators at Michigan.gov/Wildlife or contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.