IDNR: Stay safe by leaving baby birds and other
It is against the law to keep wildlife as pets
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[May 29, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD - With summer’s arrival,
the Illinois Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to
leave baby birds and wild animals alone. During the breeding season,
well-meaning people often rescue birds and animals they believe have
been orphaned or abandoned. In nearly all cases, the birds and
animals are unnecessarily taken from the wild. Often, parents are
still feeding their young but will not show themselves if people are
The Illinois Wildlife Code provides legal protection for Illinois
wildlife. It is against the law to keep wild animals as pets, or to
raise wild animals believed to be abandoned. If you have questions,
contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area. To learn
more about wildlife conflicts and how you can keep yourself, your
pets and wildlife safe, visit the Living with Wildlife in Illinois
All wild birds except the non-native rock pigeon, European starling
and English House sparrow also are federally protected. This
includes protection of eggs, nests, and feathers. The IDNR works
with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect and manage birds
Before you take any action, consider these facts:
- Birds often leave the nest before they can fly. These birds,
known as “fledglings,” will live on the ground for a few days
while they grow flight feathers. Their parents will continue to
feed them. Keep children and pets away.
- Do not attempt to rescue fawns. Fawns stay very still to
conceal themselves until they are old enough to keep up with
their mother. Does will not stand near the fawns, because that
would alert predators to their presence. Leave fawns alone and
the mother will return once you leave the area.
- It is illegal to feed wild deer. When deer congregate, it
can facilitate the spread of disease.
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- Wild birds and animals can become habituated to people when
they are provided food. Do not leave pet food outside at night,
clean up under bird feeders and secure garbage can lids to keep
raccoons and other wildlife out. Nuisance animals can become
dangerous to people.
- Handling wild animals can result in the handler being
bitten. According to the Centers for Disease Control, wild
animals that bite a person must be euthanized immediately to be
tested for rabies.
The IDNR urges everyone to enjoy wildlife by observing, but not
interfering. Keep yourself, your children and your pets safe. Leave
wildlife in the wild.
[Text received; ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT
OF NATURAL RESOURCES]