What to do when you find a wild baby bird?
First thing to do is to assess the situation. Is the baby bird hurt or sick? Is she bleeding? Is she unable to flutter her wings? Are the wings drooping or uneven? Is she weak or shivering? Was the bird attacked by a dog or cat or other animals? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to call an avian/wildlife veterinarian.
Procedures for rescuing a wild baby bird
- Gently pick the baby bird up and put it in a container (shoe/tissue box).
- Note exactly where you found the baby bird. This is very important for release.
- Keep the bird’s container in a dark, warm, quiet place.
- If you do not have previous experience in hand rearing a baby bird, do not attempt to give food or water because they might end up into the lungs.
- Take the baby bird to an avian/wildlife vet without delay.
- When you transport the baby bird to the vet keep the bird in the container. Don’t let him loose in your car. Don’t attempt to hold him. Just leave him alone to minimize stress.
- If the baby bird is just separated from its mom and you know where she is, just put the baby back in close proximity, so the mom can hear it. If you don’t see the mom or she doesn’t claim the baby within an hour, then rescue the baby bird by following the procedures mentioned above.
- If the baby bird you found isn’t hurt or sick, and it is not feathered put the baby back in the nest and leave it alone.
- Observe the nest from a distance. After an hour or so, if the parents are visiting the nest, the baby will be fine. If not, rescue the bird by following the procedures mentioned above.
- If the baby bird is feathered, it’s called a fledgling. It is normal behavior for a fledgling to hop around on the ground. Don’t worry, the parents are still feeding it during this time.
- If the bird is safe from cats, dogs, or other animals and people, leave the area, as the baby is okay even though you don’t see mom around. If there are nearby threats, put the baby bird in the bushes.
- Then watch the fledgling from a distance. If the parents are nearby and you see occasional feeding behaviors going on, the baby will be fine. If not, rescue the bird by following the procedures mentioned above.
- A wild baby bird’s best chance for survival is with its mom. It’s important — if a baby bird is truly orphaned or injured — to intervene. However, in most cases, baby birds are mistakenly identified as orphans and inadvertently kidnapped from their mothers.
- If you have removed a healthy baby bird, please return it to the area where you found it. The parents will gladly take the baby back. They have spent lots of time and energy caring for this baby. They will not abandon it. They will resume care of their offspring.
- If the baby bird is weak, sick, or visibly injured, then thank you for taking the time to rescue him or her. You have probably just saved a life.