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Wise beyond our years

The Acorn: Blandford in a Nutshell

The Acorn is an annual printed newsletter filled with community spotlights, financial statistics, and highlights of our 50th Anniversary.

Blandford at a glance

Blandford at a Glance

Learn all about Blandford Nature Center with this insightful quick fact sheet.

Blandford Nature Center Trail Map

See all that Blandford’s grounds have to offer with this map of our trails and don’t miss highlights.

Field Guide

Blandford Nature Center has over 8 miles of trails where you can hike, bird watch, say hello to our outdoor Wildlife and Farm Animal Ambassadors, explore, or just enjoy the peaceful solace of nature! Check out our field guide to the fun things you may find while on our trails!

Trail Activities

Our Visitor Center may have limited hours, but we still encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the trails! Check out these fun family activities that can be done at Blandford or in your own backyard.


General Interest E-Newsletter

The General Interest Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter from the Development department. It highlights information regarding upcoming community programs, the Blandford Farm, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Volunteer & Land Stewardship E-Newsletter

The Volunteer Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter from our Land Stewardship and Volunteer departments. It highlights information regarding upcoming volunteer opportunities, eco-stewardship work days, land stewardship projects, and so much more.

Wildlife Affiliations

Caring for different wildlife animals requires plenty of attention and care. There are several ways community members can help with taking care of the native animals that live right in your own backyard.

Click below for contact info for wildlife organizations, tips on caring for wildlife, and general facts about animals!

Wildlife Rehabilitators

Click here for a list of other Michigan Licensed Rehabilitators

Pest or Wildlife Removal
Wildlife Vehicle Collisions

Other Animal Services

Wildlife Care Information

Baby Birds

Birds are vertebrate animals adapted for flight. Many can also run, jump, swim, and dive. Some, like penguins, have lost the ability to fly but retained their wings. Birds are found worldwide and in all habitats. The largest is the nine-foot-tall ostrich. The smallest is the two-inch-long bee hummingbird.

All birds:

  • are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone or spine.
  • are “endothermic” or warm-blooded. Endothermic animals can regulate their body temperature, allowing them to live in a various habitats.
  • are covered in feathers.
  • lay eggs and hatch their young.
  • have wings.
  • have beaks or bills.

Birds make their nests in all kinds of places, from trees, to shrubs, to nest boxes, to overhangs on your house, and even in your laundry vent. If possible, wait till the birds are able to fly before disturbing the nest, which can take a few weeks. When it comes to baby birds, there are two types of babies: precocial and altricial:

  • Precocial baby birds are born with down feathers and their eyes are open. They are able to walk and swim right away with their mother and can eat on their own. They still spend time with their parents but are less needy than altricial babies.
  • Altricial baby birds are born featherless and have their eyes closed. They require a lot of help from their parents since they cannot walk, fly, or eat on their own yet.

It is illegal to care for baby birds without proper permits from the federal government. 

Please view the graphic below to see what to do if you find a baby bird.

Check out the following websites to find out more about birds.

If you find a Nestling…

In altricial birds, the nestling phase is when a baby bird is just born or very young, and they have no to just a few feathers starting to come in. They are supposed to be in the nest, where their parents take care of them. If you find a baby in the nestling phase:

Assess the situation

If you find a nestling out of the nest, you must assess the situation. Children should always get an adult before doing anything. If the baby isn’t injured (no cuts, nothing broken, a cat didn’t get it) you can try to put it back in the nest.

If the bird is injured:

If a cat got to it, it needs to be brought to a rehabilitator immediately, as cats carry bacteria that can cause fatal infections in many wild animals. If the bird is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator for help and instructions.

If the bird is not injured:

The best chance for a baby songbird to survive is with its mother. If the baby isn’t injured, but is a little cold to the touch, you can warm it up in your hands before putting it back in the nest.

If you can’t reach the nest, or see where it is exactly in the tree, you can make a makeshift nest. Get a plastic container, like a margarine tub, poke holes in the bottom for drainage, put a warmed rag from the dryer in there, along with some twigs and leaves, and secure the nest as close as you can get to the nest, or where you think the nest is. You want to place the nest under some branches or some coverage, so it’s not completely unprotected from rain or sun, and it’s not as easily visible to predators. Then put in the bird, and if the mother is still around, she will feed birds at both nests.

The mother will take a baby bird that has been touched by a human. Most birds, except for Vultures and Condors, don’t have a good sense of smell. However, you don’t want to handle the baby bird a lot, or you may stress it out, and the longer you keep the baby from the mother, the greater chance that it will be abandoned, or die. You must leave the area, and if you’re in your backyard, go back inside your house to watch for the mother for at least an hour before going to back to bring the baby to a wildlife rehabber.

If you find a Fledgling…

The fledgling phase of a baby bird is more like a teenager phase. These birds have feathers growing in and are mostly covered in feathers and some down. These birds are found out of the nest, since they are too big to be in the nest anymore, so they hop out and are on the ground. They will hop about on the ground, getting a little bit of airtime, since they are still learning how to fly. They are also trying to learn how to feed for themselves. The parents still watch over their fledglings, and will help feed them, so often when you see a fledgling, you may hear or see a parent bird flying around in the area. The parents don’t spend all their time with the fledgling, since they don’t want to attract predators to their vulnerable young. If you see a fledgling bird:

Assess the situation

If it is hopping around and looks active and healthy, stay away and leave it alone. If you hang out in the area or try to handle the bird too much, you can attract predators to the bird. Often people will think fledglings have a broken wing or leg because of their hopping around, but unless you see them holding a wing or leg in a weird position, or blood or cuts on the bird, leave it alone.

If the bird is injured or in danger of becoming injured:

Fledglings are more vulnerable to cats and other predators, so if you have cats or dogs, try to keep them inside or away from the birds until they are able to fly, which takes a few days.

If a cat gets the bird, bring it in to a wildlife rehabber, since the bird may have an infection. If you are worried that predators may try to get the fledgling, you can get it and put it in a nearby shrub or low tree branch, but this is just a natural part of wild animal survival.

If the bird is not injured:

If the fledgling is not injured and not in immediate danger, LEAVE IT ALONE! The parents are nearby, still feeding it while it is learning how to fly.

If the fledgling is not hurt but in a dangerous spot, gently move it to a safer, nearby location away from any predators or danger.

If you find a Duckling, Gosling or Signet…

With precocial birds, people most often find Mallard ducklings in this area. A Mallard mom will lay eggs a few at a time, and fly back and forth between her nest and the water body she is living on with her mate. She doesn’t think about how she will have to walk the babies to that water body when they hatch, so she may make a nest in an area that is enclosed by fences or blocked off by roads.

The mother will not sit on the eggs to incubate them till she has laid all of them, so they’ll hatch at the same time. Mallards usually lay about 8-12 eggs, so if you find a nest with less than 8 eggs in it, she hasn’t abandoned the nest, she just isn’t done yet. Once she starts to incubate the eggs, she will only leave the nest early in the morning and late in the evening to get food and water and visit with her mate at their water body. Within 24 to 28 days, the eggs will all hatch within a 24-hour period. She will then walk the ducklings to their water body and get together with her mate.

If you find a nest that has more than 8 eggs in it, and you haven’t seen the mother come back within several hours, or you know the mother to that nest is dead, leave the nest alone, the babies are probably dead. If you find an egg out of the nest, it probably is dead. You shouldn’t try to take the eggs home with you to incubate, since it is illegal for people without the proper permits to raise wild ducks.

If you think the mother is alive and you are worried she isn’t getting enough food and water, you can buy duck pellets and take a large dish of water and put it near her, but don’t try to disturb her or bother her too often, or she may abandon the nest.

If you are worried about the mother mallard and her nest because they are surrounded by roads, you can try to help. If the nest hasn’t hatched yet, you can watch and keep an eye on the nest, so when the ducklings hatch you help them across the road. Or, a week before you think they’ll hatch, you can construct a 12-24 inch tall wire or mesh fence around the nesting site, making sure the holes are not larger than 1 inch, and the fencing area is wide enough to allow the mother to fly in and out. Then you can move the fence once the ducklings hatch. Only put up a fence if you are watching it daily so you can move it once the ducklings hatch, or they could die.

  • Once you have the ducklings all together, you can put them in a box or pet carrier, and slowly walk to the water body that the mother has been flying to. You want to make sure you are going to the water body she has been going to, since that is where she gets protection from her male. If you take her to another spot, she may walk right out and try to go to the right spot, defeating your purpose. Make sure you walk slow and keep the mother in sight. It’s great if you can grab her too, but she is usually too quick to grab, so just walk with the ducklings and make sure the mother stays nearby, and when you put the ducklings in the water, wait till the mom lands in the water and makes calls, then put the babies in and make sure they start swimming towards their mom.
  • If you see a mother and her ducklings on the move, and they’re heading towards a busy road, you can help chaperone them and make sure they cross safely. Only one or two people should be involved and no children, or you’ll scare the mother away. Move slowly and don’t move the babies anywhere without the mom in the area.
  • If you find a duckling that is separated from its mother, stay away and keep an eye on it for an hour, unless it looks injured or ill, or is in danger. The mother may be nearby and if the duckling is making noise, the mother will come back for it. If the duckling looks injured or is sick, call a wildlife rehabber to see if you can bring it in. You’ll want to put it in a box with newspaper and a warmed towel, and keep it in a dark quiet spot. You can put a small dish of water in with it, but not something too deep that it could accidentally drown in or get soaked and get a chill.
  • If it is near a road, or an animal is nearby that may be hunting it, you can pick it up and put it in a box with a warmed towel. Then, make a trip to the nearest water body, and look to see if you can find any mallards on the water. If you find some, look at the ducklings and see if they are the same size as the duckling you have. If they are the same size, you can try to get the mother mallard to take the baby. If they are not the same size, don’t try it, because larger ducklings will kill smaller ducklings. If they are the same size, you can put the duckling in the water and step back to see if the mother mallard will come over and accept it. If so, it should only take several minutes. If she doesn’t accept it, then grab it and call a rehabber to see if you can bring it in.
Baby Reptiles & Amphibians

There are over 8,240 species of reptiles and 6,500 amphibians in the world! There are 10 species of turtles, 18 species of snakes and only 2 species of lizards for a total of 30 reptile species in Michigan. There are 12 species of frogs, 12 species of salamanders and only 2 species of toads for a total of 26 amphibian species in Michigan.

All reptiles:

  • are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone or spine.
  • are “ectothermic” or cold-blooded. Ectothermic animals cannot regulate their body temperature, meaning they seek warmer or cooler habitats depending on their body temperature.
  • are covered with dry scales.
  • lay soft-shelled eggs.
  • have the presence of at least 1 permanent lung unlike their amphibian relatives.

All amphibians:

  • are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone or spine.
  • are “ectothermic” or cold-blooded. Ectothermic animals cannot regulate their body temperature, meaning they seek warmer or cooler habitats depending on their body temperature.
  • are covered with moist, permeable skin (molecules and gases can pass through).
  • spend part of their lives in water andon land.
  • lay gelatinous eggs in a moist environment.
  • have gills for part of their lives.

It is illegal to care for baby reptiles and amphibians without proper permits from the federal government. 

Please leave baby reptiles & amphibians alone if you find them as it is normal for them to receive no parental care as babies. If they are in a dangerous location (such as a highway), move them to the edge of a wetland but do not take them home.

Baby Mammals

There are over 4,000 species of mammals in the world! Michigan is home to about 65 species of mammals. Large mammals such as bears, white-tailed deer, moose and coyotes roam our state. Smaller Michigan mammals include flying squirrels, mice and bats.

All mammals:

  • are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone or spine.
  • are “endothermic” or warm-blooded. Endothermic animals can regulate their body temperature, allowing them to live in various habitats.
  • are covered in hair or fur.
  • produce milk for their young. This allows them to spend time teaching their babies survival skills.
  • have 3 inner ear bones (hammer, anvil & the stirrup) within the middle ear.

Mammal babies are born naked with their eyes shut and require a lot of care from their parents. It is illegal to capture and raise baby animals as pets without proper permits. Doing so is dangerous in the following ways:

  • Misfeeding can lead to dietary issues and health problems
  • Mammals can carry a variety of diseases
  • Baby mammals can imprint which makes it easier to be hunted or injured