Peeking at young-of-the-year wildlife
Yes, I know the tales about not getting too close to a litter of rabbits, or a nest of bluebirds, or a camouflaged fawn.
But we’ve learned to love seeing little animals grow up and comparing them to what we know they will become, so why can’t we just peek?
Most of us do anyway and we shouldn’t feel guilty as long as we exercise some caution for the animal and ourselves.
We’ve been tempted by the eagle nest cams at Decorah, Iowa, too many times to let looking go until the young animals are fully grown.
In many cases we can begin to fulfill our desire to enjoy nature in its first few days without mucking up an animal’s development process.
Just use some common sense, stay back a reasonable distance, remain quiet and calm and don’t stay long. And don’t return repeatedly. Get a look, take a photograph, and leave only your boot impressions at the site.
Of course, there are some situations where we might put ourselves in danger. Black bears, squirrels, wolves, young rattlesnakes being born, owls and hawks are a few that come to mind.
Repeated visits could cause a bird to leave a ground nest, so once is probably enough.
Getting close enough to touch an animal would be a definite no-no. They probably don’t feel like we guess they do anyway.
Trying to lend help, feed or provide water should be left to a trained person if the animals appear to need care.
Finally, avoid damaging the environment where the animal is spending its first few days. Leave all the protective cover and vegetation as it is. There is a reason why the adult chose the site.