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What do I do if I find a baby bird?

Mar 19, 2015

We're coming to that time of the year when birds everywhere are finding nesting boxes and beginning to raise chicks. This also results in a lot of phone calls to us over the spring and summer months, when concerned members of the public find young birds and are concerned for their welfare. We also have a lot of individuals bringing young birds into us, so we wanted to provide a bit of information for you all on the best thing to do in these situations.

Is the bird fully-feathered?

If the young bird is fully-feathered that means it's a fledgling. Fledglings leave the nest just before they can fly and their parents continue to assist and feed them. Usually parents will be close by and won't be approaching the baby whilst you are near it. 

The best thing to do in this situation is just to monitor the bird and see if its parents attend to it. Only move the bird if it is immediate danger, and just move it to a safe place, do not try to put it in a nest. 

If the bird has few or no feathers then it is a nestling and shouldn't be out of its nest. It will not survive long and needs specialist help so please take the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator or, if unable, to your local vet. 

Is the bird injured?

If you believe that the baby bird is injured then it will need attention. Only move and take it to a specialist if you have good reason to believe it is injured, as baby birds are much more likely to survive in the wild with their parents. 

Please avoid bringing injured birds in to us. We are a domestic animal rehoming centre and as such we do not have the expertise to deal with wild animals. Moreover, we do not have a vet onsite, therefore veterinary treatment will be delayed for the animal as we will still have to the transfer it to a local vet. It is much quicker for you to transport the bird directly to a vet yourself. 

How I do transport a baby bird?

Put on gloves and carefully lift the bird and place it in a cardboard box, which has a lining such as a towel or newspaper. Please do not offer the bird food or water as this can actually cause more problems. Keep the box in a warm and dry place and take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitator or vet as soon as possible.


Leanne Manchester

Communications & Volunteer Manager

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