During the spring and summer, veterinary clinics around the world are faced with a problem. People working outside, going for walks or visiting outdoor areas find a baby bird that cannot yet fly. It seems that no adult bird is there caring for the youngster, so people assume the fledgling is unable to help itself. So, they get the bird and place it in a box and take it to the nearest place they can think of to help the baby bird. Unfortunately, this generous act of kindness usually does more harm than good. Here is what you should do if you are in this situation.
Fledglings: Leave Them Alone
Most baby birds that are brought into a clinic are fledglings. What is a fledgling? They are babies that have grown to where they do not fit in their nest and just need room to move around, stretch out and flap their wings and begin learning to fly. If babies leave the nest and disperse into the surrounding area, they can avoid predators. The adult birds can keep track of the babies by using calls. Once the baby responds, the parenting adult brings the baby food.
If the baby bird can hop and flutter around on their own, let them be. This rule of thumb applies to animals including fawns, baby rabbits, raccoons and opossums.
Nestlings: Probably Need Help
A small number of baby birds found are in fact nestlings. They have few to no feathers and sometimes their eyes are not open. In this case, they were probably blown from a nest or their nest was destroyed. Without assistance from us, these birds will most likely die.
The best thing that can help these babies is to place them back in the nest, if there is one. If you see a baby bird in your yard, look for a nest within a couple yards of where you saw the nestling. If you can safely place the baby back into the nest, do so as soon as possible. If you are in a nature area, park or refuge, it will be best to leave everything alone.
Most adult birds are not 100 percent successful in raising a brood. Predators will quite frequently raid nest, usually before the eggs hatch or while the nestlings are helpless. If nests are not properly built or they are placed in an unprotected area, the nests can fail.