Help for Injured Wildlife

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary is dedicated to preserving habitats for Tennessee Wildlife. We hold a federal permit that allows us to keep a small number of non-releasable native animals onsite that serve as wildlife ambassadors. However, we are not a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility and cannot admit, house, or transport orphaned or injured wildlife.





Seek help from a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for:

  • Any animal that has bitten by a dog or cat. Bites are susceptible to bacterial infection.
  • Any animal with a visible wound, broken bone or other trauma
  • A juvenile animal found with a dead mother
  • A fawn (baby deer) that is wandering and crying, covered in flies or ticks, or lethargic

Do not provide food or water to an orphaned animal unless instructed to do so by a licensed rehabilitator. Inappropriate or improperly administered food or water can cause irreversible harm. 

Please know that just because a juvenile animal is on its own, it is not necessarily orphaned. 

  • Owls  fledge (leave the nest) before they are fully able to fly. They will spend a few days on branches near the nest and may hop from branch to branch. Sometimes they will end up on the ground, and will usually be found at the base of a tree with the parents nearby providing food and protection. Fledglings may be partially feathered but are capable of sitting upright like an adult owl. Some may be capable of climbing the tree to safety. If they are not able to climb, you may place them on a low branch. Keep children and pets away from the owl, and be aware that adult owls can be very territorial around their nest. This site has more information about helping young owls, as well as pictures of what a fledgling owl should look like.
  • Songbirds  may also fledge (leave the nest) from their nest before they are able to fly. The parents remain nearby and continue to feed the chick. A fledgling that is fully feathered (tufts of down feathers may still be visible on the head), active, and does not appear to be injured should be left alone
  • Eastern cottontail rabbits conceal their kits in nests lined with grass and fur. The doe (mother) comes at dawn and dusk to nurse the kits. If the nest is disturbed by a pet, but the kits are uninjured, replace nesting material, place the kits in the nest, and cover them.
  • White-tailed deer also conceal their fawns until they are old enough to follow their mother. The doe visits during the night to care for and nurse their baby.
  • Squirrels and raccoons may have multiple nests, and the mother may move her young between nests, especially if one has been damaged or disturbed. If you see a baby squirrel or raccoon out of its nest, leave the area and allow the mother time to finish moving the litter. If she has not returned after two hours, contact a licensed rehabilitator
  • Animals that are normally nocturnal may be active during the day in the spring and summer. It is normal for skunks, opossums, and raccoons to forage during daylight hours because of increased calorie needs while they are pregnant or nursing. Coyotes are not strictly nocturnal and may be seen during the day throughout the year.

For assistance with orphaned or injured wildlife, please reach out to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice on safely re-nesting, containing, or transporting the animal. Some Wildlife Rehabilitators in the Middle Tennessee:

Here is the complete list of wildlife rehabilitators in Tennessee

Always use caution when attempting to capture or contain wildlife. If you are bitten or scratched by a wild animal, seek medical attention immediately.