can you raise a baby bird

When you come across a helpless-looking baby bird out of its nest, it’s hard to resist the overpowering urge to come to the rescue.

Many birds that people try to rescue are still being cared for by their parents (even if you cant see them) and should be left alone.

Heres a primer on when to take action for songbirds (baby ducks or geese require a different approach); when in doubt, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Assess the Bird for Injury

The first thing to do when you find a baby songbird is to figure out if its injured. Baby birds can naturally look weak, but if you see blood or other obvious damage, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

If you know that a cat has attacked a bird, you should also contact a rehabilitator because cats can spread fatal bacterial infections from even small scratches.

Caring for a Wild Baby Bird Long-Term

  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/d/da/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-17. jpg/v4-460px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-17. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/d/da/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-17. jpg/aid853691-v4-728px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-17. 1 Choose whether to try releasing the bird. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons</a> </p> </p></div>”} It is crucial to make a decision right away about whether or not you will try to release the bird back into the wild. It is likely something you would like it to become tame if you intend to keep it as a pet for the duration of its life, but if you intend to release it, this tameness may hinder its survival. [27] Treat the bird like any other pet if you intend to keep it. It is best to refrain from handling the bird unless it is absolutely necessary if you intend to release it. This also entails keeping kids and pets away from the bird. It is advisable to give these birds to experts who can provide them with lifelong care, as a lone baby bird under two weeks old will always form an attachment and see their caregiver as its mother. If you have several baby birds, you might be able to prevent them from bonding with you by avoiding them as much as possible. Their chances of surviving in the wild will be significantly increased by this. Give the bird plenty of time outside, or at least somewhere it can see and hear the outside world, if you intend to release it. This will help it learn more about its environment. [28] .
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/a/a5/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-18. jpg/v4-460px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-18. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/a/a5/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-18. jpg/aid853691-v4-728px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-18. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons</a> </p> </p></div>”} 2 Provide food and water. It is crucial to identify the species of bird you are dealing with before attempting to feed it, as different species have different needs for food and water. You can feed your bird by putting tiny amounts of food on the end of a drinking straw once you’ve determined what kind of food it needs. Try cutting the straw at the end so that it has a scoop-like shape. [29] You can feed a bird moistened dog kibble, seeds, or meal worms, depending on the species of bird you are dealing with. If in doubt, find out from a veterinarian what your bird’s ideal diet would be. Never feed a bird bread or milk. Rather than drinking, a lot of birds obtain their water from the food they consume. [30] The bird will be able to feed itself completely when it is between six and ten weeks old, but at four weeks, you can start giving it a small amount of food in the cage to help it get used to the idea.
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/e/e6/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-19. jpg/v4-460px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-19. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/e/e6/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-19. jpg/aid853691-v4-728px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-19. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons</a> </p> </p></div>”} 3 Get a cage. The bird needs to be placed in a cage once it can escape its box. Make sure your bird has enough space in its cage by getting the biggest one you can. [31] Make an effort to provide your bird with sunlight by keeping the cage outside for a portion of the day or by positioning it close to a window. If you are unable to provide exposure to daylight, consider using a sun lamp that is artificial. Provide your bird toys to play with, such as plastic wiffle balls. Perches are also important. Make sure the bird has enough time outside its cage to get comfortable flying. The bird will learn to fly on its own without any guidance, but it will take some time to become an expert flyer. [32] .
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/0/06/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-20. jpg/v4-460px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-20. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/0/06/Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-20. jpg/aid853691-v4-728px-Raise-Baby-Birds-Step-20. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons</a> </p> </p></div>”} 4 Release the bird. You may think about returning your bird to the wild once it can fly and feed itself. Allow the bird to decide for itself whether or not to permanently leave the nest. In order to accomplish this, take the cage outside and open it, letting the bird come and go as it pleases. It might make a few trips back to the cage or it might depart straight away.
  • Advertisement

Determine the Bird’s Age

Baby birds go through three stages:

  • Hatchling (usually 0-3 days old). It may have strands of down on its body, but it hasn’t opened its eyes yet. It’s not ready to leave the nest.
  • Nestling (usually 3-13 days old). Its eyes are open, and because its wing feathers haven’t yet broken through their protective sheaths, they might appear like tubes. It’s also not ready to leave the nest.
  • Fledgling (13-14 days old or older). This bird is fully feathered. It may not be a great flyer due to its short wings and tail, but it can still walk, hop, and flutter. It has left the nest, but its parents might still be there, looking after it.


Is it OK to take care of a baby bird?

In most cases, it is best not to interfere. The natural parents do a much better job at raising their young than we could ever do. A featherless baby bird must be fed every 15 to 20 minutes from sunrise to 10 p.m. – a significant time commitment for any foster parent.

How do you take care of an abandoned baby bird?

If you think you’ve found a sick or wounded fledgling or nestling, call a rehabber, state wildlife agency, or veterinarian immediately. If it’s after hours, take the baby to a safe and warm location, Furr says, such as a closed box with air holes and a heating pad beneath it.