You peer out your kitchen window and see a baby bird hopping and fluttering in the back yard as though it can't get off the ground. You want to help, but what can you do?
Sometimes the greatest kindness is to do nothing.
"First make sure the baby needs help," says Martine Colette, founder and president of the Wildlife Waystation, a nonprofit animal rescue and rehabilitation facility.
"At the end of the season, baby birds sometimes leave the nest and flutter and hop on the ground. They are learning to fly, and their mama and papa are watching the baby. All you need to do is keep the dog or cat away."
On the other hand, very young fledglings should be returned to the nest whenever possible. "It isn't true that once you touch a baby bird, the mother will not accept it," Colette says. "The mother will accept it, so get it back into the nest.
"We should do everything in our power to keep wild baby animals in the wild, with their parents."