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Michigan DNR offers advice on what to do about bird nests, babies

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offered advice for what to do if you encounter a bird nest this spring.

According to the DNR, ducks often build nests in landscaping and gardens, and if a duck is nesting near your home, you shouldn’t be concerned.

When the eggs hatch, the mother duck will lead the ducklings to water.

“Don’t worry if you do not live near water, the mother duck knows where to take her ducklings to find it,” said Holly Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications coordinator.

Vaughn said to keep pets and children away from the nest.

Geese may also nest near homes. Like ducks, geese will lead their babies to water shortly after they hatch.

The DNR warned that geese can be protective of their nests and babies. Areas with nests should be avoided, as geese may chase or hiss when someone gets near the nest.

If you must go in the area of a nest, the DNR said to carry an umbrella that can be used to gently scare the bird away.

If a bird is nesting near your home, the animals should be left alone.

According to the DNR, birds learn to fly through trial and error. If a bird is on the ground, the parents will continue to care for it.

While touching a baby bird will not cause the parents to abandon it, they may not be able to find the moved bird.

If you find a bird that is sparsely feathered that may have fallen from a nest before it was ready to fly, the DNR said to only return it to the nest if it can be done so safely.

Migratory birds, their nests and their eggs are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and it is illegal to remove them from the wild.

According to the DNR, only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are allowed to remove damaged or injured animals from the wild.

The only time an animal can be removed from the wild is when the animal is injured or it is obvious the parent is dead, the DNR said. In that case, a licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before you move the animal.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found here.


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