Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 8068
Cumberland, RI 02864

Friends of the Blackstone River Environmental Center
100 New River Road
Lincoln, RI 02838

Preserve Elder Ballou Cemetery

What to do when you find birds or wildlife in distress

Now that Spring is here, wildlife is out and about, and on the move. We all enjoy watching the birds and wildlife in our yards and in the wild. Here is an article that explains what to do should you encounter an injured or abandoned animal or bird.

Baby birds in a nest

Photo courtesy of Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer


What to do when you find birds or wildlife in distress

Does nature need rescuing?

This article is re-posted with permission. Originally published in the Valley Breeze on June 18th, 2015 in the Living Edition.

SMITHFIELD ­ “There are some things we can set the yearly clock by,” said Audubon refuge manager and naturalist Kim Calcagno. Each winter, she fields scores of phone calls about weak and emaciated water birds like Canada geese, loons, grebes, and ducks. This past winter, the calls came through in the hundreds, she said.

Now, throughout spring and summer when people spot baby birds outside of their nests, Calcagno’s phone will light up again. Baby birds are often at the mercy of particularly persistent myths, said Calcagno. Some people believe, for instance, that a baby bird cannot be reunited with its parents if it¹s fallen out of a nest. But nothing could be further from the truth, she said.

“Parent birds invest a lot of time and energy in their babies, and won¹t give up on them easily,” said Calcagno. “Even if a storm destroys a nest, the parents fly around for days looking for their young. It’s easier than most people think to reunite baby birds with their parents.” Warns, Calcagno, “Most people don¹t know that raising baby birds is highly specialized and demanding. Baby birds need to be fed every 15 minutes from dawn until dusk.” The Audubon Society of Rhode Island urges people to call an expert before trying to help a bird or animal that appears to be injured or orphaned. A lot of supposed “rescue missions” carried out by non-experts may be well intentioned, but ultimately harmful to wildlife. An expert should always be consulted before intervening with wildlife.

Audubon offers expert advice on what to do:

Before intervening in any way with an animal that appears to be injured or orphaned, monitor it from a distance and make some careful observations: What type of animal is it? If you’re unsure of the species, note the size, shape, and markings on the animal. Is it an adult or a baby? Where is it located? Did you see it moving? If it’s not moving, how long has it been in the same spot? Has anyone touched the animal? What obvious injuries do you see? If known, what is the reason for the injury? Call Audubon at 401-949-5454 or the Rhode Island Wildlife Clinic at 401-294-6363 for guidance before intervening. If no one is available to answer your call, visit for helpful information or and click on the “Ask Audubon” page.

During normal hours of operation, injured animals may be brought to the Wildlife Clinic at 240 Shermantown Road in Saunderstown. Do not leave animals if the clinic is not open. Audubon is not licensed to accept injured wildlife.

Here are some answers to common questions:

A baby bird out of its nest, with no visible injuries:

If the bird doesn’t have feathers and you can reach the nest, put it back. Your touch will not cause the mother to abandon the baby. If you can¹t reach the nest, Calcagno advises tacking a small basket ­ like a pint-sized strawberry basket ­ to the tree, or as close to the nest as possible, and placing the baby bird gently in the basket. If the bird has feathers, leave it alone and monitor it. Juvenile birds that appear to be alone and incapable of flight are not necessarily injured or abandoned. A fledgling will hop around on the ground for a while before it learns to fly, and you may notice its parents coming around every 45 minutes or so to feed it. In the meantime, the best thing is to leave the bird alone and not attract the attention of predators to it.

An injured or orphaned raccoon, skunk, bat, fox, or woodchuck:

Never touch these animals. Secure all pets indoors. Keep children away. These are rabies vector species. Call the Department of Environmental Management at 401-222-3070 or your animal control officer. If a person has skin-to-fur contact with these animals, the person must be vaccinated and the animal must be euthanized.

A fawn alone in the bushes, or at the edge of the woods, calling out:

Don’t attempt to move the fawn, and monitor it from at least 40 feet away. Note how long has the fawn been calling for its mother. A mother deer will leave her fawns to go off and forage. Since her babies are born without a scent, they may remain undetected and the mother expects to find them in the same place when she returns. If the fawn is up on its feet and running around, is visibly distressed or injured, or has been calling for a half-hour or more, call the Wildlife Clinic.

A rabbit nest that seems abandoned:

It’s best to observe this nest from a distance and not draw attention to it. Chances are, that’s exactly what the mother of the young rabbits has in mind. She’ll only return to the nest briefly at dawn and at dusk. If she sat on the nest for any length of time, her presence would be a red flag to predators.

An orphaned baby squirrel, bird, or rabbit:

Do not feed the animal or bring it into your home. Call the Wildlife Clinic or Audubon immediately. Mere hours can mean the difference between a relatively healthy baby animal and one that has suffered so much that it cannot be saved.

BRWC / FOB a national role model? Read it in the BRWC 2014 Newsletter

BRWC / FOB a national role model? Check it out now along with updates on our latest projects including the Petersen Puritan Superfund Site, Blackstone River Fish Passage Project, the August Savers Clothing Drive and a look back at the events held at the new BRWC / FOB Environmental Center.  It has been an incredibly productive year. Read all about it!

We have accomplished great things, but only because of the efforts of our membership. We can always use more help and support. If you already are a member, we thank you. If not, we would appreciate your participation. You can become a member right on our website. Also, find us on facebook.

Great video explaining Stormwater and Water Cycling

Currently the City of Providence is unable to manage all of the rain it receives. Every year, stormwater carries an unhealthy amount of pollution into our waterways and causes flooding in our streets and basements. Much of Providence’s system of storm drains, catch basins and underground pipes hails back to the 19th century, when the city had far fewer buildings and much less pavement. Today, Providence has developed into a thriving city with around 180,000 inhabitants. As the city continues to grow, we need to search for new solutions that allow us to manage our stormwater while protecting our communities and environment.

View the Water Cycling video in high definition

View the Water Cycling video in standard definition

This video was sponsored by the Rhode Island Land & Water Partnership (special thanks to Meg Kerr).

2013 BRWC / FOB Newsletter

Fish in the Classroom?  How in the world did we pull that one off?  Actually, Fish in the Classroom is just one of our local river educational / restoration programs.  Read more about this and all of our other activities this year inside of the latest edition of the Blackstone River Watershed Council / Friends of the Blackstone 2013 newsletter.  Many of our programs are partnerships with the RIDEM, RI Rivers Council and other concerned groups. Our members and volunteers have been very busy this year.

We have accomplished great things, but only because of the efforts of our membership.  We can always use more help and support. If you already are a member, we thank you. If not, we would appreciate your participation. You can become a member right on our website. Also, find us on facebook.

Japanese Knotweed War

I want to thank the people who have adopted an area.
Chris, Elaine, Tom and Riverzedge.
I know some of you have been out more than once.
As soon as I can get some more of your pictures and learn how I will publish them.

Earth Day Cleanup Details

Cleanup Details:

This year for Earth Day we will be River and the Bikeway and may be able to get along the shoreline with canoes as well as on foot.  We are aiming to fill the entire dumpster supplied by Doug Vaughn.

We are also still working on the River Brigade to fight knotweed. Keith Hainley will be doing demonstrations at the Sycamore Landing area, which is a great classroom for fighting invasive.


Location to meet:

We will be meeting at the Friends of the Blackstone Environmental Center located at 100 New River Road in Manville (Lincoln)