What Should I Do if I Find a Baby Bird

What Should I Do if I Find a Baby Bird?

Finding a baby bird can be a heartwarming experience, but it also comes with responsibility. Whether you stumble upon a fallen nestling or a fledgling exploring the world outside its nest, it is essential to know how to handle the situation properly. Here are some guidelines to follow if you find yourself in this situation:

1. Assess the situation: Determine if the bird is injured, in immediate danger, or truly orphaned. Sometimes, baby birds may appear abandoned but are still under the watchful eye of their parents.

2. Observe from a distance: If the bird is not in immediate danger, it is best to observe from a distance to see if the parents return to care for their offspring.

3. Keep pets away: If you have pets, ensure they are kept indoors or away from the area where the baby bird is found. This will prevent any potential harm to the bird.

4. Put it back in the nest (if possible): If the bird is a nestling and the nest is within reach, carefully place it back inside. Contrary to popular belief, birds do not reject their young based on human scent.

5. Create an improvised nest: If the original nest is damaged or unreachable, create a substitute nest using a small box or basket lined with soft materials like grass or cloth. Place it in a nearby tree or bush, as close as possible to its original location.

6. Monitor from a distance: After placing the bird in a makeshift nest, observe from a distance to see if the parents return to care for it.

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7. Call for assistance: If the bird is injured, visibly weak, or the parents do not return within a few hours, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance.

8. Do not feed the bird: Feeding a baby bird without proper knowledge can do more harm than good. Their dietary requirements are specific and require expertise to ensure their health and well-being.

9. Protect from extreme weather: If the bird is exposed to harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, you can temporarily shield it by placing an umbrella or a box with ventilation over the improvised nest.

10. Keep it warm: If the bird appears cold or chilled, you can gently warm it by placing a heating pad (set on low) or a warm water bottle wrapped in a cloth near the nest. However, ensure the bird can move away from the heat source if needed.

11. Avoid excessive handling: While it may be tempting to interact with the baby bird, it is best to limit handling to avoid unnecessary stress or injuries.

12. Educate yourself: Take the opportunity to learn more about the bird species you have found. Understanding their habits and needs will help you make informed decisions and provide the best care possible.


1. Will the parents abandon the baby bird if I touch it? No, most bird species do not have a strong sense of smell and will not abandon their young due to human scent.

2. Can I keep the baby bird as a pet? It is illegal to keep native wild birds as pets without the necessary permits. Furthermore, wild birds have specialized care requirements and are best left to be raised by their parents or experienced wildlife rehabilitators.

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3. Can I feed the baby bird? No, it is best not to feed the baby bird without proper knowledge or guidance. Their diet is specific and requires expertise to ensure their health.

4. What if the parents don’t return? If the parents do not return within a few hours, contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center for assistance.

5. Can I raise the baby bird myself? Raising a baby bird can be a complex task and requires specialized knowledge and resources. It is best left to experienced wildlife rehabilitators who can provide the necessary care.

6. How long do baby birds stay in the nest? The duration varies depending on the species. Some may stay in the nest for a few weeks, while others may leave within days of hatching.

7. Can I keep the baby bird until it learns to fly? No, it is not recommended to keep baby birds. They need to learn important skills from their parents and interact with their own species for proper development.

8. Can I release the bird once it is healthy? While it may be tempting, releasing the bird should be done under the guidance of a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure it has the best chance of survival.

9. How can I protect the baby bird from predators? Placing the improvised nest in a dense bush or tree can provide some protection. However, it is important to remember that predation is a natural part of the ecosystem.

10. Can I return the baby bird to the same location it was found? It is generally best to return the bird to its original location if it is safe and suitable for its development.

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11. Are all baby birds capable of flight? No, there are different stages of development among bird species. Nestlings are not capable of flight, while fledglings can hop and flutter but may not be able to fly long distances.

12. How long should I wait for the parents to return? It is recommended to wait at least a few hours to see if the parents return. However, if the bird is in immediate danger or injured, contact a wildlife professional sooner.