how old is this baby bird

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.

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.

Give Fledglings Room to Grow

The best thing to do if you come across a fledgling is to leave it alone. Even though a fledgling bird may appear awkward, this is a normal stage, and its parents are probably nearby, watching over it and hunting for food. You can place the bird in a neighboring bush or tree if it is in immediate danger.

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Since the heads of baby birds are still developing, you can tell which one is a baby by looking for a bill that is significantly larger than its head. It won’t be able to fly yet, so expect it to prance around on the ground. When the bird is very young, it might remain motionless and open its bill to make a food demand. Additionally, look for feathers that are short, fluffy, and have a dull color. Continue reading for advice on handling a baby bird that has fallen from its nest!