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Caring For Baby Birds

Caring For Baby Birds

In the spring and summer, it is not unusual to encounter a baby bird on the ground. Although our immediate response is to help the little critter and take it home, caring for wild baby birds takes skill, knowledge, experience, patience, and a lot of time.

People trained in bird care have the best chance of recuperating the bird and allowing it to return to the wild, so don’t attempt to do it by yourself. Your veterinarian may take the bird until a carer can be located, or can give you the phone numbers to contact the closest wildlife associations

Nestlings
A nestling is a baby bird that is not fully covered with feathers and has some skin showing. If you find a nestling on the ground, try to locate its nest and return it. The parents will not reject the bird because it has “human” smell on it. If you can’t, contact your local wildlife association or your veterinarian.

Fledglings
A fledgling is a baby bird with feathers, although not yet able to fly. It is not uncommon for these birds to be found on the ground as they develop their flying abilities, but are still being fed and cared for by their parents. This process usually takes up to 2 weeks. If you don’t see the adult birds returning periodically to the fledgling, or if it is injured or showing signs of distress it may require care until it can fly and look after itself. Contact the wildlife association or your veterinarian if you are unsure if the fledgling requires help before trying to trap it.

What do I do with an injured baby bird?
If you need to rescue an injured or abandoned wild baby bird then it is crucial to keep it warm, in a dark, quiet, draft free location until immediate, qualified help is available. Do not attempt to force water into the mouth as the young bird will likely choke and the complications could prove fatal.

Who should I contact?
Please contact your local veterinarian or the following associations immediately for directions to the qualified rehabilitators nearest you.