© RSPCA 2009. All rights reserved.

Between April and July each year, around 20,000 fledglings are passed to the RSPCA. Many are perfectly healthy, but instead of being fed by their parents and learning to fend for themselves in the wild, they suffer stress from being handled by humans.

Birds in danger should be placed out of harm a short distance away and left completely alone for an hour or so. The parents are likely to be nearby waiting for the person to go. Wild animals can suffer greatly through being handled and this should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Extra precautions, particularly for gardeners, include making sure they don’t disturb nests while pruning. It could scare the fledglings into abandoning the nest. Any nests knocked on the ground should be placed close by and as high as possible away from predators.

Deer alert
If you come across a young deer, remember they are also very resilient in the wild but very difficult to rehabilitate once removed from their natural habitat - they often die from stress.

If you see a fawn, the chances are it is waiting for its mother. Roe deer give birth in May and June and fallow deer mostly have their young in June. Fawns can walk within an hour of being born and follow their mother unless she intends travelling long distances for food. In this case the mother will lead the fawn to a quiet covered area where it will stay well hidden until her return.

For more wildlife advice visit the online advice centre.