Will a mother bird reject a baby that is touched by humans?


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True or false? If a human touches a baby bird or other wild animal, the mother will reject the baby and doom it to death.

False

Most of us grew up being told that we shouldn’t touch baby birds, or other wildlife, because the mother would detect our scent and reject the baby. I suspect this was our parents’ way of keeping young, exploring hands out of places they shouldn’t be, but it was accepted as gospel. Unfortunately, it’s a myth that might prevent some folks from helping out wildlife.

With the notable exception of turkey vultures and a few others, birds have a really bad sense of smell. They have excellent eyesight and memories, however, which make up for olfactory deficits.

They probably aren’t happy with us touching their offspring, but they wouldn’t reject their baby because of our inability to keep our hands to ourselves.

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While it’s a good idea to keep our distance from bird nests, observing from afar, there is a time to get handsy, and that’s when a baby bird — or baby squirrel or other young creature — has fallen from the nest.

If possible, you should try to put the baby back into the nest, or at the very least, keep an eye out, from a distance, to make sure the parents are aware their baby has fallen and to keep predators away.

If a parent doesn’t return in a reasonable amount of time, don’t try to be a hero by raising the baby yourself. Well-intentioned though you might be, the vast majority of us don’t have the knowledge, experience and equipment to raise a baby bird. Instead, call an expert, a wildlife rehabilitator. We have several groups in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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