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Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby Birds

Lots of people ask us what to do because they have found a baby bird. If it is a healthy fledgling (fully feathered and can hop or flutter, such as the fledgling robin above) chances are the parents will care for it if you put it back where you found it and keep pets and humans away from the area.

If it is so young it has no feathers, few feathers, feathers in their sheaths, or still seems too young to hop about or fly, try first to put it back in the nest, if you can locate the nest. Or make a fake nest of a berry basket or margarine container and put it nearest where the original nest was. Watch quietly from a distance for an hour to see if the parents care for it.

If truly abandoned, or if it is injured, you need to get it to a licensed bird rehabilitator as soon as possible. It against the law to keep native baby birds. Licensed bird rehabiltators have special expertise to care for sick, injured and abandoned birds, which they care for with the goal to release them back into the wild.
To find a directory of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your state click here:

You can also call your nearest audubon society or nature center and get the names of licensed bird rehabilitators near you.

Meanwhile, while caring for a baby bird while waiting to get it to a licensed bird rehabilitator, keep it in a warm, quiet place, such as a shoebox with ventilation holes, or a box or berry basket with soft kleenex as a nest. Baby birds need to be fed about evey 20 minutes during daylight hours. Suggested emergency food can be high protein puppy chow ground to a fine meal in the blender, moistened with warm water until it is the consistency of yogurt. Others use canned dog food, or chopped mealworms. Feed with a blunt ended instrument such as a baby medical syringe, thin wood coffee stirrer, very blunt tweezers, or straw, and gently placing the food down the nestlings throat until it swallows

See here, and here, for more information about caring for baby birds


Casbah Kitten said...

What good advice! I'm one of those strange people who think starlings are beautiful and we've been amused to see young starlings following their parents around the yard, waiting for the parents to pick up the food and put it in their mouths! I hope they caught on... And our Nanking cherry bushes seem to be #1 with young robins, they simply gobble them up!

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

This information is worth revisiting every summer! Thank you for providing it.