how to care for an orphaned bird

If you think youve found an orphaned or injured wild animal, what should you do? We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service know that it’s natural to want to help. Here are a few things you should know to keep the animal safe and avoid breaking the law.

Most states require permits or licenses, training and approved facilities to rehabilitate wildlife and some species, including most birds, require federal permits as well. For the safety of the animal, yourself and your family, always call a professional.

Stop and notice your surroundings. Look for a cause of injury. Do you see any fallen nests on the ground? Was there a recent wind or strong storm that moved through? Most of the time, the best thing to do is to leave the animal alone, but you’ll know a wild animal needs help if it has a visible broken limb, is bleeding, shivering or has a deceased parent nearby.

Baby birds: Nestlings and fledglings

If you come across a baby bird, it probably doesn’t need your assistance unless it is blind or lacks feathers. These birds are still in the nesting stage and are not yet ready to leave. Placing the nestling back in the nest is the best course of action if you can find the nest nearby. If you are unable to find the nest, either relocate the nestling to a shaded area or leave it where you found it. The parents will come back. Don’t worry, your scent won’t deter the parents.

Larger birds outgrow their nests and require more space to walk around, spread their wings, and eventually learn to fly. These more mature birds are fledglings, and their more developed feathers make it easy to recognize them. They can hop and flutter on their own. Help is not needed for fledglings because their parents are still present and taking care of them. Be sure to give them plenty of space.

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Ensure Safety for the Baby Bird While Waiting

Wait a while at a safe distance if you are not sure if the baby bird you are seeing is a fledgling or a nestling, advises Luevano. “If an adult bird appears, it is not an orphan; if an hour passes and no adult bird is visible, it is appropriate to take action and get in touch with a wildlife center, veterinarian, or humane society.” ”.

Secure any roaming cats or dogs that could endanger the bird while you wait, and keep a close eye on it.

“It is important to not look away, even for a few minutes,” says Brittney Chrans, a wildlife rehabilitation technician at the California Wildlife Center. “Oftentimes, the parent swoops in very quickly, feeds the baby, and then flies away for more food; you might miss it in the blink-of-an-eye.”

According to Chrans, if the bird is a fledgling and is out in the open, you can gently guide it toward a nearby area that has hiding spots, such as bushes or shrubs, but only up to eight feet in all directions from its starting point. Chrans advises a nestling to search far and wide for its nest. Chrans advises, “If you find the nest, gently place the bird back into it.” “The mother won’t reject it if you touch it; it makes no difference.” ”.


Can a baby bird survive without its mother?

Nestlings cannot survive outside of the nest and will most likely die if they are not re-nested or brought in for care. It is best thing for the nestling to be reunited with its mother. In order to do this, the baby must be warm.

How do you keep abandoned baby birds alive?

While you’re working to get help for the animal, keep him or her warm and quiet by placing a heating pad on the lowest setting under half of the box or placing a small hot water bottle inside the box. Then put the box in a closet or another warm, dark, quiet, and safe place away from people and animals.

What can you feed abandoned baby birds?

There is a lot of information on the internet as well but one can start with using canned dog food, hard boiled eggs or moistened dry pet food carefully delivered to the baby birds. Consistency of the gruel is important so make sure the food is room temperature, mushy and soft, but not too wet.

What to do with baby birds without mother?

If you can locate the nest nearby, the best thing to do is simply place the nestling back in the nest. If you cannot locate the nest, leave the nestling where you found it or move it to a shaded area. The parents will come back.