SHOULD I RESCUE BABY ANIMALS??
BABY DEER: leave them where they are - they have no scent so predators cannot smell them and mom is able to leave them for short periods of time in tall grassy areas while she feeds.
BABY BIRDS: If you find a nest that has fallen from a tree, put it back as close to where it was as you can. If you are unsure of which tree, put them in a small open box with some leaf litter and find coverage - a bush's branches, or affix it to a nearby tree under shade. Baby birds are VERY vocal and Mom and Dad will hear them and return - "touching the babies will cause the parents to abandon them" is an old wives tale.
Each spring brings a parade of well intentioned animal lovers to Reynolds Nature Preserve. They carry boxes, buckets, sacks and old blankets. While the visitors themselves are entirely unique, they all have one thing in common within what they tote – a baby animal that they have ‘rescued’ and are transporting to a place they feel offers its only chance of survival.
We associate being young with being helpless. Most young animals will have a time in their life when they are indeed totally helpless; many are born with their eyes closed and are entirely reliant on their parents for food, warmth and protection from predators. These are the basic big three needs of any animal, humans included. After this initial period of dependency, however, animals begin the critical phase of exploration. On this journey, they are led by wholly competent parents.
The ‘baby’ animals that we see each spring are actually not babies at all. And although they may appear helpless, most of them are not. These creatures are instead learning to be self sufficient adults. Juveniles learn from example and experience. While exploring the foreign territory that is ground, fledging (readying for flight or independence) birds learn how to find food. And because they face the risk of predators, they begin to recognize sights and sounds of danger. They do all of this with instruction from a nearby parent.
Animal parents can usually be seen in close proximity encouraging the youngster to a good food source or giving a warning call if danger is present. The human equivalent of this may be telling our children to never talk to strangers, look both ways before crossing the street, and eat their vegetables!
Just sit quietly in your backyard one afternoon this spring and listen. If you have cover such as a bush or hedge, chances are great you will hear pips and squeaks and squawks. The noise you hear is likely a fledgling learning from its parent. The adult can be seen flying in and out of the brush, bringing the youngster food and encouraging it to venture out and follow given lead.
Skilled rehabilitators may be able to provide food and treat injuries, but they can never show these young animals the subtle clues that a predator is stalking, nor can they teach them how to communicate with their own species. They will be ill-equipped and the chances for survival are miniscule at best.
So, what is the best thing you can do when you see a baby animal? Leave it alone! If you feel the need to ‘rescue’ an animal, ask yourself these questions:
Is the animal uninjured? Are there adults around? Is there cover nearby?If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, the animal is just fine and you are in for a wonderful show. Sit back, watch and witness nature unfold.
Commonly Asked Questions
MAY I BRING MY DOG?
Yes! We love your four legged family members. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and we ask that you pick up after your pet. It is, after all, your "doo-dee"...
MAY WE BRING OUR GRILL TO PICNIC?
We do not allow grills on our grounds. We have a small picnic area with 8 tables for groups of 12 or smaller on a first come first serve basis. Our Parks and Recreation Department has some fantastic facilites that offer pavilions, grills and much more. Call 770-477-3766 for details.
MAY WE FISH IN YOUR PONDS?
We do not allow fishing in our ponds, but we can recommend some great fishing holes in our community! International Park (the Beach) and Shamrock/Blalock Lakes, located just down the road in Jonesboro, all welcome anglers.
WHAT WILL WE SEE
....ARE THERE SNAKES?
While we do not have any animals kept outside in cages, you may be lucky enough to see deer, turtles, fox, hawks and so much more. Reynolds is a natural habitat that contains many residents including various species of snakes. We do not allow feeding of any resident animals and ask that all are treated with respect and viewed from a distance. ALL animals are protected by law.
MAY WE PICK THE FRUITS
AND VEGGIES IN THE GARDEN?
Our heritage garden is intended for observation only. Because we have classes on gardening and visiting school groups year round, we ask that visitors simply observe our crops, so that others may learn the benefits of getting a little dirt under our nails and practicing farm to table.