When spring arrives for real, a lot of things happens all at once.
The weather warms up, plants spring to life, and babies of every kind start arriving.
Baby birds are especially abundant, even in densely populated areas like cities and big suburbs!
One of the best parts of spring is the merry cheeping of lots of newborn birds celebrating the day by loudly demanding food. You can help make the world more hospitable for them by tidying up the bird bath and filling up the feeder!
However, spring also comes with a hazard.
During these months, it’s pretty common for people to stumble on a baby bird who has accidentally found himself far from home.
What exactly are you supposed to do if you find a baby bird? There’s lots of conflicting information out there about the right steps to take.
Well, we’re here to clear up the confusion. If you happen to find a baby bird this spring or summer, we know exactly what you should do.
Scroll through below to learn more.
Now that spring is well and truly here, quite a few posts have been circulating on social media about what you should do if you find a baby bird outside of the nest.
This post, from the RSPCA Wildlife Facebook page, has been shared widely, along with many other very similar posts.
It explains clearly that the first step in helping a baby bird is always the same: leave the bird alone and watch it for half an hour.
Of course, there are major exceptions to this rule. Read on to learn more.
The RSPCA explains in their post:
Remember not all baby birds found on the ground need to be rescued…
We receive many baby birds each year from well meaning members of the public that probably didn’t need rescuing and they will always do better in the wild.
They explain that lots of baby birds are actually “fledglings” that are learning the basics of flying and hopping.
After a fledgling leaves the nest, the parents will keep an eye out from nearby and will frequently visit in order to deliver tidbits and encouragement.
It’s the bird-world equivalent of taking the training wheels off the bike; this is when young birds learn to fly and fend for themselves.
There are definitely situations in which fledglings must get more assistance and aid.
The RSPCA and other similar organizations recommend watching the abandoned bird for half an hour to see if parents visit.
If the parents don’t visit in this time, look for a nest. (Gently lifting the bird back into the nest will not make Mom and Dad abandon him, contrary to popular belief.)
If there’s no nest and the parents aren’t coming back, you can make a small nest and wire it securely to the tree.
Just make sure the materials are breathable and won’t harm the baby.
If there are cats or other predators in the area, you definitely want to get the bird out of harm’s way quickly and safely.
If the bird has already been injured by a cat or other predator, but is still alive, move him out of harm’s way and call a veterinarian immediately.
Even if the wounds are only minor, the bird will need antibiotics to avoid catching a bad infection from the injury.
If you find a hatchling bird, you will also need to act fast.
Hatchlings are technically still embryos; they are birds who have only emerged from the egg in the past couple of days.
The little guy above grew up to be a healthy, happy adult bird, because someone saved him when he was no longer than a battery.
If you find a hatchling on the ground and the bird is still alive, place it back in the nest.
If there is no nest nearby, it will need to be placed in an incubator to stay warm, and will need to be fed by hand until it starts growing and developing feathers.
Unless you are qualified to carry out this care, hatchlings have the best chance of survival if they are brought to the attention of an expert.
Any birds that are still inside of a nest are safe and should not be disturbed, even if the nest is on the ground.
Lots of birds actually nest on the ground and have selected safe spots.
If you know the nest was formerly in a tree and it’s now on the ground, that’s when you may want to intervene and wire it securely to a branch.
Remember, if the birds are on the ground, there’s a good chance the parents already know and will bring them food, so observe for a while first to make sure they are actually in trouble before intervening.
If you find a baby bird out on his lonesome this spring, just remember to watch and wait.
If you have any questions at all about how to proceed, contact a local wildlife rescue organization and have someone talk you through the process.
If the bird is injured, you will want to make sure that someone can come to the site and take care of the bird immediately, or that someone can talk you through transporting the bird to a safe place. Remember, it’s always better to ask!
If you have ever rescued a baby bird, let us know in the comments below and be sure to SHARE this guide with friends and family!