There are creatures in nature that are cute as a baby. Baby sparrows are not one of them. And yet, I imagine that more than a few of you out there are saying “Awww. Wook at da wittle bitty baby in da picture”.
Okay, I will admit. This baby sparrow is so ugly that it is cute. This is a baby sparrow I found in my mother’s holly bushes. And I left it in my mother’s holly bushes.
According to scientists, baby animals (humans among them) are cute as a survival tactic. I know the only reason my kids have survived this long is because they look cute. Otherwise, when the oldest one tore through my newly planted shade bed on his bike, he would have been a dead boy, or at least a seriously maimed boy. But I digress.
Being cute helps a defenseless animal get more love and attention from its parents while helping to keep predators from eating it. Then we humans come along and muck up the whole darn process. Because we have laws about leaving children alone without supervision, we somehow anthropomorphize that onto the animal kingdom. Then on top of that, those little baby animals are just so darn cute!
When mama deer runs out to the grocery (i.e. your garden), there is no Fawn Welfare Services that has her arrested for neglect. Mama deer and baby deer have developed a system over hundreds of generations so that the baby is just fine without the mother for a few hours, even days. The same goes for almost all animals.
And every year, hundreds of well meaning people find “abandoned” baby animals in their yard and feel them must “rescue” them. You may know this, but in case you don’t… You are not rescuing them. You are most likely killing them. Even animal resuce groups have a hard time raising animals. I know they are cute. But leave them alone.
We grow our gardens to bring nature into our lives. By bringing the plant kingdom into our lives, we are by default inviting the animal kingdom as well. Coo at baby birds, take pictures of baby rabbits and be amazed at baby deer. But leave them where they are. Do not touch, Do not transport. You are not qualified to take care of them. Leave it to the animal’s mother to care for her babies. She has probably wanted to kill them too, but gosh darn it, they are just so damn cute.”