What to Do With Abandoned Baby Birds
Discovering an abandoned baby bird can be a heart-wrenching experience. Whether you stumble upon a fallen nest or come across a defenseless fledgling on the ground, it is important to take immediate action to ensure the bird’s survival. Here is a guide on what to do with abandoned baby birds.
1. Assess the situation: Determine if the bird is truly abandoned. Some species leave the nest before they can fly and are still being cared for by their parents.
2. Observe from a distance: If the bird appears uninjured and you are unsure if it is abandoned, monitor the area for an hour or so to see if the parents return to tend to it.
3. Create a makeshift nest: If the bird is unattended and in danger, carefully pick it up and place it in a small container lined with soft material (such as shredded paper or cloth). Ensure there are small drainage holes in the bottom.
4. Keep the bird warm: Baby birds lack the ability to regulate their body temperature, so it is crucial to keep them warm. Use a heating pad set on low or place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel near the makeshift nest.
5. Do not feed the bird: Feeding baby birds requires specialized knowledge and equipment. It is best to leave this task to wildlife rehabilitators or experienced bird rescue organizations.
6. Locate a wildlife rehabilitator: Search for a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area who can provide proper care for the baby bird. They have the knowledge and resources to raise and release the bird once it is ready.
7. Contact the rehabilitator: Call the rehabilitator and explain the situation. They may provide instructions on how to transport the bird safely or ask you to bring it directly to their facility.
8. Transport the bird: If you need to transport the bird, place the makeshift nest in a well-ventilated, secure box. Ensure the container is warm and stable during transportation.
9. Limit human interaction: Avoid excessive handling or human contact with the baby bird. Human scent can deter the parents from accepting it back into the nest if they return.
10. Keep pets away: Keep pets, especially cats, away from the baby bird. They pose a significant threat and stress to the bird’s well-being.
11. Educate others: Share your experience with friends and family to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and assisting abandoned baby birds.
12. Prevent future abandonment: Take steps to prevent birds from abandoning their nests, such as securing nests in safe locations, trimming trees and shrubs before nesting season, and keeping pets indoors during this time.
1. Should I feed the baby bird if it is hungry?
No, it is best to leave feeding to professionals who have the knowledge and proper food for the bird’s specific needs.
2. Can I keep the baby bird as a pet?
It is illegal to keep most wild birds as pets, and they require specialized care. It is best to leave their care to professionals.
3. How long can a baby bird survive without food?
Baby birds require frequent feeding, usually every 15-20 minutes, so they cannot survive long without proper nourishment.
4. Can I return the baby bird to its nest?
If you can safely access the nest and the bird is not injured, you can try returning it. However, be cautious not to disturb the nest or harm the bird further.
5. What if I can’t find a wildlife rehabilitator?
Contact your local animal control or wildlife agency for guidance on finding a suitable rehabilitator or rescue organization.
6. Is it true that touching a baby bird will cause its parents to reject it?
This is a common myth. Most birds have a poor sense of smell and will not abandon their young due to human scent.
7. Can I raise the baby bird myself?
Raising a baby bird requires extensive knowledge and experience. It is best to leave this task to professionals to ensure the bird’s well-being and successful release into the wild.
8. How long does it take for a baby bird to fledge?
The time it takes for a baby bird to fledge varies depending on the species. It can range from a few days to several weeks.
9. Can I release the baby bird on my own once it is ready?
No, unless you have a wildlife rehabilitation license, it is illegal to release a rehabilitated bird without proper authorization.
10. What if the bird is injured?
If the bird is visibly injured, contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Do not attempt to treat the injury yourself.
11. Should I provide water for the baby bird?
Baby birds usually obtain hydration from the food they consume. However, consult a wildlife rehabilitator for specific instructions regarding water.
12. How can I prevent birds from nesting in unsafe areas?
To prevent birds from nesting in unsafe places, install birdhouses or nesting boxes in appropriate locations.