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Found a baby bird

Do they really need your help ?

Before approaching or touching the bird and stressing it in any way, take the time to observe to see if it can care for itself or if the birds parent are tending to it.

Many times people spot a baby bird, they fail to see that the parents are nearby ready and willing to feed and protect their offspring. It may take a several hours or longer for parent birds to return to their baby so patience is essential.

Before picking it up Identify what bird you are dealing with.

If you are unsure exactly what species it is take a photo and ask advice from a veterinarian, rehabilitator or post the photo on a facebook birdwatching site 

Figure out whether the bird is a nestling or a fledgling:

A nestling: doesn't have any feathers and is normally covered in fluffy down.

A fledgling:  has most of its feathers already, they are able to walk, hop and flap, and they may attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by its parents.

Below are signs the bird is in need of help

if the baby bird has bloody wounds, wet feathers, problems with walking, drooping wings, or feathers that are extremely ruffled

or the bird is lying on his or her side or back or scooting along the ground on his or her belly

If the bird’s body or head tilting to one side

If there blood around the baby birds nostrils

If he or she cold to the touch and/or noticeably shivering

If the bird is out in the wide open, nowhere near trees or bushes

or there are other animals such as dogs or cats hanging around the baby bird.

Please remove it from the area and place in a small box or container filled with tissues,a tea towel or something similar and either take directly to your local veterinarian or contact Wildcare Helpline or one of our experienced Rehabilitators.

If there are no obvious injuries

Then the chances are it either doesn't live in a nest or has simply fallen from its nest and needs to be returned.

In summer baby birds fall out of nest when learning to fly they can remain several weeks practicing on the ground and are very clever at hiding from predators.

NOT ALL BIRDS ARE BORN IN A NEST!



Some birds simply nest on the ground

The first step is to figure out whether the bird is a nestling or a fledgling:

A nestling: does not have any feathers or covered in fluffy down it may have the start of feathers appearing to grow.

Eyes may be closed and normally it is not standing.

A fledgling:  has most of its feathers already, they are able to walk, hop and flap, and they may attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by its parents.

Its a Nestling what now


So the bird is naked (none or few feathers), look in immediate area for its nest you can safely do so pop the chick back in the nest.

If you can't find a nest make a temporary one by using a basket, ice-cream container, small bucket or similar and half fill it with leaves and small twigs .

If the nest is on the ground put that in the container and hang it in the tree or attach it in the fork of the tree.

Birds have a poor sense of smell so the chick will not be rejected by its parents if you pick it up.

Observe for signs of parents this may take an hour or more as they may be afraid and wondering where the nest is or where the babies have gone, if the chic is making noise thats a good thing as mum or dad will come down to investigate and hopefully feed their young.

If they do feed then you know the chick will be ok so leave it in the tree. 

If after several hours the parent birds are nowhere to be found bring the baby bird inside place in a small cardboard box keep it covered and place in a quite area of your home.

Do not keep opening the box as this will stress the bird.

Call or take it to your nearest veterinarian or  simply call the Wildcare helpline or a licensed rehabilitator. and they will put you in contact with someone who can help.


Its a fledgling what now?

If the baby is feathered and able to walk and flap its wings but may be in immediate danger (on a road or near a predator), move it to a higher branch or a bush as close as possible to where you first found it.

Confine cats and dogs. 

Withdraw to a good distance stand or sit very still and simply watch the bird, if you have binoculars use them.

Allow the parents, if they are present, to attend to their baby. 

Resist the temptation to carry out a friendly abduction. 

A baby bird’s best chance for survival is always with its own parents.

 If you are sure the parent birds are nowhere to be found, it’s time to step in and help.

Place the fledgling in a container filled with tissues, tea towel or old clothes then put in a cardboard box and place in a quiet area, Please do not offer food or water.

Take it to your nearest veterinarian or  simply call the Wildcare helpline or a licensed rehabilitator. and they will put you in contact with someone who can help.

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