What to Do With a Baby Bird That Can’t Fly
Finding a baby bird that is unable to fly can be a heartwarming yet challenging situation. It is important to understand that birds often leave their nests before they are fully able to fly, and in some cases, they may fall to the ground and become stranded. If you come across a baby bird in this situation, here are some steps you can take to help it:
1. Assess the situation: Observe the bird from a distance to determine if it is truly in need of assistance. If it appears injured, weak, or is in immediate danger, it may require your intervention.
2. Protect it from predators: If the baby bird is in an open area, it may be vulnerable to predators such as cats or dogs. Create a small barrier around it using a box or a laundry basket to keep it safe until further action is taken.
3. Locate the nest: Look around for a nearby nest, as the baby bird may not be far from its home. If you find the nest, gently place the bird back in it. Contrary to popular belief, parent birds will not reject a baby that has been touched by humans.
4. Observe from a distance: If you are unable to locate the nest or the nest is too high for you to reach, keep an eye on the baby bird from a distance. The parents may still be feeding it even if they are not immediately visible.
5. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator: If the bird is injured, visibly unwell, or hasn’t been attended by its parents for an extended period, it is best to seek professional help. Look for a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area who can provide appropriate care and treatment.
6. Provide temporary shelter: While waiting for assistance, you can provide a temporary shelter for the baby bird. Use a small box lined with soft tissues or a cloth and place it in a quiet, warm, and dark area away from household pets.
7. Feeding the bird: It is crucial to avoid feeding the bird without proper guidance, as their dietary needs can be specific. Incorrect feeding can result in serious harm or even death. Allow the wildlife rehabilitator to handle this aspect of care.
8. Keep it warm: Baby birds are unable to regulate their body temperature effectively. Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel beneath the box to provide warmth. Ensure that the baby bird can move away from the heat source if it becomes too warm.
9. Maintain cleanliness: Clean the temporary shelter regularly to prevent the spread of diseases. Use gloves and dispose of any soiled materials properly.
10. Keep human interaction to a minimum: Although it is essential to provide care, it is equally important to limit human contact. Excessive handling may cause stress to the bird and hinder its chances of survival.
11. Educate others: Share your experience and knowledge with friends and family, emphasizing the importance of leaving baby birds undisturbed unless necessary. This will help raise awareness about appropriate actions towards wildlife.
12. Release the bird: Once the bird has been rehabilitated and is deemed ready for release, contact the wildlife rehabilitator to determine the best method and location for its release. Follow their instructions carefully to ensure the bird’s successful integration into its natural habitat.
1. Will the parent birds reject the baby if it has been touched by humans?
No, parent birds will not reject a baby bird that has been touched by humans.
2. How long can a baby bird survive without food?
A baby bird can typically survive for up to 24 hours without food if it is in good health.
3. Can I feed the baby bird?
Feeding a baby bird without proper guidance can be harmful. It is best to seek assistance from a wildlife rehabilitator.
4. What should I do if I can’t find the nest?
Keep an eye on the baby bird from a distance and contact a wildlife rehabilitator for further advice.
5. Can I keep the baby bird as a pet?
It is illegal and unethical to keep native wild birds as pets. They are best left in the care of professionals.
6. How can I find a wildlife rehabilitator in my area?
Contact your local animal control or wildlife rescue organization for information on licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your area.
7. How do I know if the baby bird is injured?
Look for visible signs of injury such as bleeding, broken wings, or an inability to move its legs. If in doubt, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
8. Should I give the bird water?
Baby birds can aspirate easily, so it is not recommended to give them water. Allow the wildlife rehabilitator to handle hydration.
9. Can I keep the bird indoors?
It is best to keep the baby bird in a quiet, warm, and dark area indoors until you can transfer its care to a wildlife rehabilitator.
10. Can I touch the baby bird?
It is best to minimize human contact to reduce stress on the bird. Only handle it when absolutely necessary.
11. How long does it take for a baby bird to learn to fly?
The time it takes for a baby bird to learn to fly varies depending on the species. It can range from a few days to several weeks.
12. What if I find a baby bird at night?
Keep the bird in a safe and warm place overnight and contact a wildlife rehabilitator in the morning for further instructions.