Dealing with Orphaned or Injured Wildlife

Wildlife is very active during the late spring and summer, and it’s common to come across baby fawns, moose calves, fox, raccoons and other young wildlife in fields, woodland areas, and even backyards.

If you care, leave them there.

If you encounter wildlife anywhere in the Maine outdoors, remember this motto: If you care, leave them there. Wild animals and birds do not make good pets, and it’s against the law to possess them without the proper state and federal permits.

Picking up young wildlife might seem like the right thing to do; but in most cases, wildlife has a much better chance at survival when not disrupted by humans. Direct contact with wildlife can also expose you to a variety of diseases, and it can lead to an animal being euthanized in order to test for rabies.

Is it an orphan?

It is common to see a young animal alone in the outdoors, and when you do, you may worry that it has been abandoned by its mother. It probably hasn’t. The mother-young bond in mammals and birds is very strong; and most likely, mom is just searching for food to sustain her young. The best thing you can do if you come across a healthy young animal or bird is leave it alone; and if you have pets, put them inside or on a leash so they don’t disturb the young wildlings.

When you encounter specific species, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Fawns: It is always best to leave fawns alone, and you should never attempt to feed them under any circumstances. The nutrient profile of a mother’s milk enables a doe to leave her fawn for many hours while she feeds on her own to sustain the demands of nursing. Until the fawn is strong enough to keep up and come along, an adult doe may hide her fawn in the forest floor leaves, returning two or three times a day to nurse. During this time, the fawn is protected from predators by its camouflaged coat and its lack of scent. Repeated visits to a fawn can draw the attention of predators, and could discourage the mother from returning.

Moose calves: Treat moose calves as you would fawns, but also be aware that approaching or handling a moose calf is likely to elicit a defensive response from a mother moose if it is nearby.

Squirrels or Raccoons: If a nest of squirrels or raccoons must be disturbed (for example, if a tree has been cut down or fallen), leave the young in the den part of the tree and move them nearby to a protected place. The mother will most likely come back and transport them to a new location.

Birds: The same is true for a bird’s nest. Put the nest and nestlings into a nearby tree, supported in a basket or another container that has drainage. The mother is probably right around the corner, and will return to feed and care for her young until they can fly on their own.

If you have observed a young wild animal alone for more than 48 hours and believe it truly may be orphaned, please contact a MDIFW regional biologist or game warden to alert them.  

What if the animal appears injured?

If you encounter an injured deer, bear, moose, or turkey, please contact a MDIFW biologist or game warden. For all other species, please contact local licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Find a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator:

County Name Address Phone Facility Other Info
Cumberland Karen Hawkins 963 South High Street Bridgton, ME 04009 207-647-3734 Same as Mailing Address All wildlife. No birds. Cedar shingled farmhouse on right side of road, bottom of small hill. 2.5 miles from Rt. 107 or Rt. 117 toward Denmark. Does not transport.
Cumberland Martha (Kappy) Sprenger P.O. Box 187 Bridgton, ME 04009 207-647-5593 253 Highland Road, Fire Lane 137 Bridgton ME Has Federal Permit. Specializes in fish eating birds and chicks. Accepts all birds and small/medium mammals. 1.2 miles from Rte. 302.
Cumberland Curt Johnson 56 Game Farm Road Gray ME 04039 207-657-4977 Same as Mailing Address
Cumberland Pamela Richardson 6 Worcester Dr Raymond ME 04071 207-428-3348 or 207-838-8967 Same as Mailing Address Aquatic mammals, small mammals and reptiles. No Federal Permit
Cumberland Kristine Beaudoin 20 Longhill Road Sebago ME 04029 207-807-1986 Same as Mailing Address No federal permit.
Cumberland David & Joshua Sparks 46 Rousseau Road Windham ME 04062 207-892-8905 Same as Mailing Address Has federal permit. All birds. One half mile from the River Road on Windham/Westbrook line.
Hancock Ann Rivers PO Box 207 Mount Desert ME 04660 207-288-4960 Kitteridge Brook Road Mount Desert Has Federal Permit. Acadia Wildlife Foundation is located three miles south of Town Hill Center. Care for all birds (including turkeys), turtles, and all small mammals except raccoons. Specialize in bats; large mammals (deer); have facilities for species requiring water.
Hancock Heather Grierson P.O. Box 84 Mt. Desert ME 04660 207-667-3244 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Small mammals with the exception of raccoons, and some birds.
Kennebec Don Cote 1787 North Belfast Ave Vassalboro ME 04989 207-445-4326 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Birds, small/medium mammals, turtles, raccoons. Adjacent to Three- Mile Pond rest area/boat launch. Gray house & garage.
Knox Margo B. Maloney D.V.M. 22 Atlantic Highway Thomaston ME 04861 207-557-5669 mobile triage unit
Lincoln Bridget Green PO Box 88, 605 Bath Road Wiscasset ME 04578 207-882-7951 or 207-631-0874 Fire Road 608 No Federal Permit. Small mammals, raccoons. No birds. Approx. 2 miles from downtown. Follow Rt. 1 South behind Green's gas station. Gray home back in the woods.
Lincoln Anna Hunt 485 Chewonki Neck Road Wiscasset ME 04578 207-882-7323 Chewonki Foundation. Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit
Other Cathie Gregg PO Box 97 Madison NH 03849 603-367-9453 Elaine Connors Center for Wildlife Route 41 on Silver Lake Has Federal Permit. Turn at Elaine Connors Center for Wildlife sign.
Other Lisa Smith 170 Possum Hollow Road Newark DE 19711 302-737-9543 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Aquatic birds, sea birds, small aquatic & terrestrial mammals. Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc.
Oxford Katrina Carstensen 47 Mountain View Drive Otisfield ME 04270 207-583-2105 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Small/medium sized mammals and deer. 
Oxford Matthew E Holden D.V.M. 136 Western Avenue South Paris ME 04281 207-743-9271 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Oxford Hills Veterinary Hospital - Full Service Veterinary Hospital.
Penobscot William Arthurs Jr. 2762 Lee Road Lee ME 04455 207-403-0921 Same as Mailing Address Has 3 buildings, and is set up for anything with fur. Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge.
Sagadahoc Deborah L Bryan 49 Deer Run Road Bowdoin ME 04287 207-607-0110 Same as Mailing Address No federal permit. Small mammals and deer. Take left on 201 North to Rt. 125 East, go past Lewis Hill Road, go up small hill, Deer Run Road is first paved road on the left. Home is fourth driveway on right #49.
Waldo Laura Graham 418 N. Palermo Road Freedom ME 04941 207-382-6761 Avian Haven 418 N. Palermo Road Freedom, ME 04941 Avian Haven has a Federal Permit.
Waldo Diane Winn 418 N. Palermo Road Freedom ME 04941 207-382-6761 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. All birds including turkeys and reptiles. Has several flight cages. No mammals. Avian Haven is located on Palermo Rd. in Freedom. 1.5 miles north from S. Freedom Rd. or 2 miles south from Rt. 137. Gray-green cape.
Waldo Marc Payne 418 N. Palermo Road Freedom ME 04941 207-382-6761 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. All birds including turkeys and reptiles. No mammals. Avian Haven is located on Palermo Rd. in Freedom. 1.5 miles north from S. Freedom Rd. or 2 miles south from Rte 137. Gray-green cape.
York Sara Kern 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 Same as Mailing Address Sarah will care for animals exclusively at The Center for Wildlife.
York Kristen Lamb P.O. Box 620 Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 The Center for Wildlife 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick, ME 03902
York Bethany Brown 238 River Road Limington ME 04049 207-702-1405 Same as Mailing Address medium mammals (porcupine, raccoons, fox, etc.) and reptiles.
York Annie Huyler 252 Haines Meadow Road (413) 320-7431 Buxton, Maine No Federal permit. Small mammals only.
Penobscot Rachel Parsons 623 Meadow Road Hampden, ME 04444 207-838-0268 Same as Mailing Address No Federal Permit. Small and medium mammals.
Kennebec Peter Davis D.V.M. 220 Western Avenue Augusta, ME 04330 207-622-6181 Same as Mailing Address Has Federal Permit. Full service veterinary hospital available for initial care and subsequent transfer.
Waldo Kimberly A. Chavez 418 North Palermo Road Freedom, ME 04941 207-382-6761 Avian Haven 418 North Palermo Road Freedom, ME 04941 Avian Haven does have a federal permit.
York Shantelle Spanswick 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick, ME 03902 207-361-1400 The Center for Wildlife 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick, ME 03902
Waldo Sandra Stone 240 Swanville Road Frankfort, ME 04438 207-223-4213 or 207-592-9000 Same as Mailing Address No Federal Permit All mammals, no birds. Green barn on the Swanville Road about two miles from Swan Lake Park towards Frankfort.
York Katie Brodeur 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 Same as Mailing Address Katie will care for animals exclusively at the Wildlife Center.
York Michele Chabot 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 Same as Mailing Address Michele will care for the animals exclusively at The Center for Wildlife.
York Karyn Lesinski 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 Same as Mailing Address
York Addie Miller 385 Mountain Road Cape Neddick ME 03902 207-361-1400 Same as Mailing Address Addie will care for animals exclusively at the Wildlife Center.
York Elizabeth Peck 238 River Road, Limington, ME 04049 207-351-6752 Same as Mailing Address Elizabeth is to care for animals exclusively at The Saco River Wildlife Center.
Androscoggin Jennifer Marchigiani 850 Garfield Road, Auburn, ME 04210 207-212-1039 Same as Mailing Address NO FEDERAL PERMIT Small mammals. Prefers orphaned young over injured wildlife. Will transport.
York Alaina LeBlanc 141 High Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043 207-251-0443 Same as Mailing Address
York James Martell 238 River Road, Limington, ME 04049 207-702-1405 Same as Mailing Address James is to care for animals exclusively at The Saco River Wildlife Center.
Cumberland Wendy Clark 31 Woods Mill Road Baldwin, ME 04024 207-595-2140 Same as Mailing Address No Federal Permit. Small mammals only.
Cumberland Cynthea Bridges 29 River Road Baldwin, ME 04024 207-331-7909 Same as Mailing Address No Federal Permit. Small mammals only.
Cumberland Jessica Jackson 207-807-2585 Casco, Maine No Federal Permit. Can take mammals size up to and including raccoon and fox. Specializes in predators.
Oxford Jacqueline Fanning 207-583-6266 11 Baldpate Mountain Drive, Waterford, ME No Federal Permit. Can take small mammals up to the size of a fox.
York Tracey Stump-Clark 39 Devreux Rd Parsonsfield ME, 04024 207-891-3363 Same as Mailling Address No Federal Permit. Small rodents only (squirrels, mice, Voles, Chipmunks).
York Kathi Reed 49 Deer Run, Bowdoin, ME 04287 207-720-0074 Saco River Wildlife - 238 River Road Limington, ME 04049 Medium mammals (porcupine, raccoons, fox, etc.) and reptiles.