Bay Village wildlife rehab program flooded with spring baby questions

A nestling American Robin in a Westlake backyard nest eagerly waits for its parents to bring food.

Important and Timely Advice for Kids and Adults as Wild Animal Offspring Arrive On the Scene

The phone has been ringing steadily and there’s a huge jump in animals being examined in the wildlife rehabilitation program at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. These are sure signs that spring has arrived at the Bay Village nonprofit organization. Often, the rehab staff’s best advice is, “Hands off! Let wild animals be wild!” 

“We are heading into our busiest season, when the presence of baby animals dramatically increases questions about backyard wildlife behavior,” said Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. “It is imperative that wild animals be raised in the wild and by their parents. Human intervention should only happen as a very last resort.”  

LeMonds said people too often unnecessarily interfere with wild babies because they don’t understand the natural development and behavior of the young animals and their parents. “We talk to a lot of people who assume the baby animal is orphaned when, in reality, the parent is simply away from the baby as it is supposed to be,” she said.    

LeMonds urges people to call for advice before interfering with any wild animal -- adult or baby -- for the safety and protection of both the humans and the wildlife. The Center’s rehab staff can be reached at 440-871-2900, ext. 204. “We’re often able to talk people through a variety of situations and, in many cases, avoid well-meaning but improper intervention. If it sounds like an animal legitimately needs help, we can also give advice on how to safely capture and transport an injured animal to rehab.”   

Families can learn more about spring babies and the Center’s Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program at a free program on Saturday, May 15 at 3 p.m. At “Meet An Animal: The Ins and Outs of Wildlife Rehabilitation,” you’ll hear what you should and shouldn’t do to help wildlife in need and get up-close to some of the Center’s permanent wildlife residents who started out in wildlife rehab.  

You can also access baby wildlife information on the Center’s website at You’ll find a free fact sheet, “I Found Baby Wildlife – Does It Need Help?” and answers to other Frequently Asked Questions about human interaction with wildlife under the website's Wildlife tab.  

The Kenneth A. Scott Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program provides rehab education and services at no charge to the public, relying on donations to examine approximately 1,300 injured and ill wild animals each year, with the goal of release back into the wild. Staffers also field a staggering 4,000 phone calls annually, teaching callers how to coexist with wildlife.

“We actually added the word “Education” to our program title in 2008 to emphasize our mission to teach,” LeMonds said. 

The rehab staff has been certified to perform wildlife rehabilitation by the International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council, receives continuing education, and has all of the appropriate state and federal permits required to perform wildlife rehabilitation. 

Shawn Salamone is Community Relations Manager at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 4:03 PM, 04.27.2010