What to Do if You Find a Baby Bird
Discovering a baby bird in need of assistance can be a heartwarming experience. Whether it has fallen from its nest, is injured, or seemingly abandoned, it is important to take the right steps to ensure its well-being. Here are some guidelines to follow if you find yourself in this situation.
1. Observe from a distance: Before intervening, take a moment to assess the situation. Watch the bird from a safe distance to determine if it truly needs help. Sometimes, baby birds are just learning to fly and their parents are nearby, keeping a watchful eye.
2. Assess for immediate danger: If the bird is in immediate danger, such as being in the path of a moving vehicle or a predator, it is crucial to act quickly. Safely move the bird to a nearby safe location, such as a bush or a tree.
3. Protect yourself: It is important to remember that wild birds can carry diseases and parasites. Use gloves or a towel to handle the bird if necessary, and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
4. Look for the nest: If possible, try to locate the bird’s nest. Baby birds are often unable to fly and may have fallen out accidentally. Placing the bird back in its nest will increase its chances of survival.
5. Create a makeshift nest: If the nest cannot be found or accessed, create a substitute using a small box or a container lined with soft materials like tissues or grass. Ensure there are small drainage holes for rainwater to escape.
6. Keep the bird warm: Baby birds are particularly vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. Place a heating pad or a warm water bottle wrapped in cloth beneath the makeshift nest to keep the bird warm. Avoid direct contact with the bird to prevent overheating.
7. Do not feed the bird: Feeding baby birds without proper knowledge can cause more harm than good. Different species have different dietary needs, and improper feeding may lead to illness or death. Instead, focus on reuniting the bird with its parents or contacting a local wildlife rehabilitator.
8. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator: If the bird is injured or seems unwell, it is best to seek professional help. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or a bird rescue organization for guidance on how to proceed.
9. Keep pets away: Ensure that family pets, such as cats or dogs, are kept indoors or away from the area where the baby bird is located. Even well-meaning pets can unintentionally harm or stress the bird further.
10. Monitor from a distance: If the bird appears healthy and uninjured, monitor it from a distance to see if its parents return. Parent birds often continue to care for their young even outside the nest.
11. Give it time: It is essential to give the bird time to be reunited with its parents or receive proper care from a professional. Rushing to intervene may disrupt the natural process and hinder the bird’s chances of survival.
12. Educate others: Spread awareness about the importance of leaving baby birds alone unless they are in immediate danger or injured. Educate others about the appropriate steps to take to ensure the well-being of these vulnerable creatures.
1. Can I keep the baby bird as a pet?
No, it is illegal to keep wild birds as pets without proper permits and licenses.
2. How long can baby birds survive without their parents?
It depends on the species, but most baby birds require frequent feeding and care from their parents for several weeks.
3. What should I do if I can’t find the bird’s nest?
Create a makeshift nest using a small box or container lined with soft materials, and follow the guidelines mentioned above.
4. Can I feed the baby bird worms or bread?
No, it is best to leave feeding to the bird’s parents or a professional rehabilitator who can provide the appropriate diet.
5. Should I provide water for the baby bird?
No, baby birds receive hydration from the food they consume. Providing water directly may cause aspiration or drowning.
6. How long should I wait for the parents to return?
Monitor the bird for at least one to two hours before seeking professional help.
7. What if the bird is injured?
Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator for guidance on how to handle the situation.
8. Can I raise the bird myself?
Raising a wild bird requires specialized knowledge and experience. It is best to leave it to professionals who can provide appropriate care.
9. Should I release the bird once it is ready to fly?
If the bird has received proper care and is able to fly, it should be released in a safe, suitable habitat.
10. Can I keep the bird if it cannot be released?
If the bird cannot be released due to permanent injuries or other reasons, it should be given to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or bird sanctuary.
11. How can I find a local wildlife rehabilitator?
Contact your local animal control or wildlife agency for information on nearby rehabilitators.
12. Can I provide any medical treatment to the bird myself?
No, attempting to treat the bird without proper knowledge and training can do more harm than good. Seek professional help for any medical concerns.