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: I Found a Baby Bird – Now What? (PDF) is a flow chart that can help you decide whether a baby bird needs rescue. If the youngster seems healthy and is in no immediate danger, a family reunion should be attempted, for example, by placing the bird in a substitute nest, as suggested in the flow chart. Unfortunately, there is no all-purpose strategy for substitute nesting, as different kinds of birds prefer different types and locations of nests. For example, parent birds from a cavity-nesting or ground-nesting species are unlikely to tend offspring placed in a substitute nest hanging from a tree branch. For further consultation, Avian Have may be contacted directly at 207-382-6761.
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:
|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||4 Wilderness Way, York, ME 03909||207-351-6752||Same as Mailing Address||Wilderness Way Wildlife can take small and medium mammals.|
|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.|
|Oxford||Jody Giddings||Newry, ME||207-446-7400||Same as Mailing Address||Sandy River Wildlife can take small and medium mammals, bats, amphibians and reptiles, small raptors, passerines and other small birds.|