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May 6, 2013

This Mother's Day, Give Wild Moms a Hand

Make your backyard a safer place for wildlife families

  • Mourning doves build a strong foundation of twigs for their nests of grass, weeds, and rootlets. iStockphoto.com

  • Dad Robin steps in, helping mom feed their hungry nestlings while she takes a much-needed break! iStockphoto.com

  • For several months after leaving the den, raccoon kits stay with mom for protection and guidance. iStockphoto.com

  • Barn swallow moms tend nestlings in mud pellet nests, tucked in the eaves of barns or under bridges.

  • A tree swallow mom builds her nest safely tucked inside an abandoned woodpecker cavity in a snag. iStockphoto.com

  • Woodchuck young are dependent on mom through early summer; most disperse at the end of summer. John Hadidian/The HSUS

  • Among other natural materials, Hummingbird moms need to gather plant down to insulate their nests. iStockphoto.com

  • A chickadee mom needs soft fibers like wool, hair, fur, feathers, and moss to line her cavity nest. Sarah Ellis

  • Check for rabbit nests before mowing, and if you find one, leave grasses tall in a swath around it. iStockphoto.com

Just like human moms, wildlife moms will do almost anything to help their young thrive. For wild moms, this means creating a safe nest or den, finding food, fending off predators, and teaching their young to find food and escape danger. It's no easy job, but we can help lighten their load.

Make your yard safer

Wild animals have plenty of natural hazards to deal with—don't add to their worries.

Create your own Humane Backyard »

Keep wild families out of your house

Wildlife moms looking for safe places to raise their young sometimes make unfortunate choices—like the opossum mom denning under your deck, the raccoon mom checking out your chimney, or the house sparrow mom nesting in your stove vent. Stop problems before they start by performing preventive maintenance.

Be patient with wildlife

If you find a wild family in a place they're unwelcome, remember they're just trying to find a safe place for their young. Whether she’s a chimney swift in your fireplace or a woodchuck in your garden, look for a safe, effective, and humane solution to the problem. If you need to call in a wildlife professional for help, choose carefully to prevent separation of moms and babies or other harm.

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