Even though it kills me, I usually let things take their course, but I did move the baby turtle closer to the edge of the bank going down to the pond.
The robin is another story. Yesterday afternoon it was just sitting in the grass on the side of our house. Its mother or father was in a nearby tree yelling at my daughter and her friend, because they are, to a bird, fierce predators. I worried about that poor little thing all day, so last night, in the pouring rain, I had a brilliant plan to put it in a basket on top of a stepladder so that the eight billion domesticated cats that live around us wouldn’t eat it. This plan was ill-advised, to say the least, and the baby bird just hopped right out. I reluctantly decided the best I could do was to tuck the little one into a nice patch of tall clover in our flower bed (um…yes, I do need to do some weeding in there), and hope for the best.
This morning the baby bird was still there, and its mother or father was very close by, chastising me while I tried to take some pictures (I used my zoom so I didn’t have to get too close).
I am going to leave it alone, and assume that the parent is the best one to care for it. I found this information at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources which made me feel much better (emphasis is mine):
Often, young robins fly out of the nest before they are able to fly back! Their parents will continue to feed them and they will get the strength they need to fly back within a day or two. Should you find a young bird in your yard that appears abandoned, think twice before “rescuing” it. If you can find and reach the nest, then it’s okay to put the bird back. Its parents will not abandon it. It is myth that birds will abandon their young because of human smell. Robins and most other birds have a very poor sense of smell. If you can’t find or reach the nest, then check the health of the bird. A baby bird that is completely covered with feathers and can hop away from you does not need your help. It is much better off in the wild than it will be in your house. Sometimes other animals eat these young birds. This is a natural process and is in no way unusual or cruel. Often, humans “rescuing” baby birds cause them to suffer much more than if they had been left where found.
UPDATE 5/19/12: The baby bird is no longer in our yard and his mother or father is no longer chirping, so he either made it back to the nest or something ate him. I prefer to believe he is cuddled up safe with his brothers and sisters in his nice, warm nest.