I Found A Baby Bird! What Should I Do?
If you find a wild baby bird that has fallen out of the nest, put it back in the nest. If you are unable to locate or reach the nest, put it in a basket or flower pot in the general vicinity. The parents will most likely return and care for it once you have left the area. You can observe from a distance to see if the parents do indeed return. The parents will not return to care for it if you are too close. It is also important to keep your dogs and cats away from that area.
When the baby bird is fledging (learning to fly) it spends much of its time on the ground. Just as human babies need to learn to walk, baby birds need to learn to fly. All too often we find these fledglings who are learning to fly, and “rescue” them. The truth of the matter is the parents were most likely watching helplessly as the well-meaning "rescuer" picks the baby bird up and leaves with it. The fledging process is all part of nature, and it is important that we do not interfere with it. The youngster typically spends a week or two on the ground learning survival skills and perfecting its flying. If the bird appears injured, or the parents have not returned to care for it within an hour or so, then it should be taken to the closest avian veterinarian or licensed wildlife rehabilitator. We cannot stress enough that all observations must be done from a distance. The parents perceive humans as danger and in most cases will not return while a human is present.
Wild birds are protected by law, and therefore must be taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or avian veterinarian. Many times, people try to care for these birds on their own. Young birds are quite fragile, and even well-meaning people can injure or kill a baby bird just trying to care for it. Here are a few things that you can do to protect the bird until you can get it to the appropriate caregiver:
- Keep it warm. Place the bird in a box or container with air holes. Place the container on a heating pad wrapped in a towel. The heating pad should be set on low so the bird won’t overheat.
- Keep a cover on the container or box so the bird won’t get out.
- Keep household pets away from the bird.
- Keep the bird in a quiet, dark place to help prevent the bird from becoming overly stressed. Try not to handle it.
- Do Not Feed The Bird: Feeding the wrong food can cause more harm than good. Also, an incorrect feeding technique can cause the bird to aspirate resulting in death.
- Take the bird to a rehabilitation facility or avian veterinarian as soon as possible, preferably within one hour.
- Wear gloves when handling wild baby birds since they are usually infested with mites and lice.
- Wash anything the bird has come in contact with to prevent the spread of parasites or disease to you, your family members or other pets.
The majority of baby birds hatch in spring and early summer. Please use caution when trimming tree branches or removing trees during this time, as it is possible that a baby bird may live in the tree.