Sunday, May 4, 2008

If You Find A Baby Bird

Is the bird injured (bleeding, broken bones, puncture wounds, been in a cat’s mouth, open wounds, etc.)?

If YES, take the bird to your nearest wildlife veterinarian or rehabilitator.

If NO, see below.

Is the bird fully feathered?

If YES, any fully feathered baby bird found on the ground, seemingly unable to fly, is probably just fledging. If it appears to be uninjured, leave the area, and do your best to keep pets and children away from the bird. The parent(s) will not feed the youngster while people are around.

If NO, attempt to find the nest. An uninjured bird found on the ground with little or no feathers needs to be returned to the nest. Look around in trees and bushes to see if you can locate the nest. Correct identification of the nestling or of the parents will help locate the nest (i.e. bluebirds are box or cavity nesters, morning doves build basket nests on horizontal branches or in a tree fork).

Can you find the nest?

If YES, simply put the bird back. However, make sure the young are warm to the touch. If the baby is not, you can simply warm the bird in your hands before returning it to the nest. Returning a young cold bird to the nest will sometimes encourage the parent to push the baby out of the nest, as it is trying to remove a cold object away from other warm eggs and/ or young.

If the nest is unreachable, construct a substitute nest of a similar size and shape (margarine tubs with drain holes punched in the bottom and filled with grass make fine substitute nests) and securely attach it as close as possible to the original nest site. Contrary to popular belief, the parents will not be frightened off by your "scent" and will return to feed the baby if it calls for food. If you want to be sure the parent(s) will continue to feed the baby, watch the baby from a safe distance, preferably indoors. Do not be alarmed if you don’t see the parent return. Typically wild animals will not return to the nest if you are visible and/ or in the area.

If NO, you can’t find the nest, construct a substitute nest in the place where the nestling was found. Watch from indoors to see if a parent returns (be patient, it may not happen immediately). If a parent for more than half a day does not visit the nest, contact a licensed songbird rehabilitator for advice.

Please give baby birds the best possible chance for survival and leave them in the wild where they belong! Never attempt to treat or raise a baby bird on your own. Despite your best efforts, most hand-raised birds will die.

The best baby bird rehabilitation is prevention. Educate your friends, family, neighbors and yourselves about the fledging process. It is normal for birds at fledging to be on the ground unable to fly! Birds need several days up to four weeks, depending on their species, to learn how to fly and forage for food. One or more parent will feed them during this period. Know where nesting sites are located and keep cats and dogs indoors around the time you think the birds will fledge to avoid predation. Ask neighbors to take responsibility for their pets as well.

NOTE: Raising a wild bird in captivity is illegal unless you have both state and federal permits. For information on how you can become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, contact your state wildlife agency.

Information Provided By: The Wildlife Center of Virginia

3 comments:

soteriagal said...

I found a baby sparrow a few years ago, still had no quills or feathers. I couldn't locate the nest and thought I'd at least put it in a warm dark spot for his 'final' hours. But he began calling for food and I was compelled to begin feeding it. [The mom in me I guess]. To make the story short, I was able to hand raise him to adulthood and enjoyed the experience very much. Still have all the pix and videos I took of him. That is the first time a baby bird I have rescued actually survived. I'm sure it was a God thing!

Anonymous said...

i found a bird too...
it is 3/4 feathered blind
seems injured, can't more about much.
i think it fell from the nest above the building.
the nest is unreachable , too high.
half an hour past... no parent came to it..
i brought it back home.
placed it in a shoe box...
a small water container was placed near it.
covered it with some newspaper
noticed that it pant when breathing
then the panting goes on... worsen

After 2 hrs, it died.
real sad about its death..
guess i shouldn't bring it back
=(

Donna said...

If you can't find a nest or return a bird to one, you could build some kind of protection around it and watch for the parents to return to feed it. The bird will call and the parents will be looking for it. I have seen this work especially if it's soon time for the bird to fledge and the weather is not too cold. If the bird is injured, the parents will know and nature will take its course.

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