Thursday, September 26, 2013

Birds Q&A: What to do with the little abandoned birds?

Question by Ahab: What to do with the little abandoned birds?
I have two little birds that fell off a tree. I took’em in for a little while coz’ there was a cat tryin to eat it. After a little while, I send’em out only to see that the big birds(probably their parents) were tryin to peck on em n tryin to kill them. I don’t know wat species the birds are, they can’t fly, I don’t know wat to do with them, I don’t know wat to feed them, any suggestions?

Best answer:

Answer by margecutter
Baby birds fledge (leave the nest) several days before they start to fly. They hop around on the ground, and they climb on low branches until their wings are strong enough for them to fly. The parent birds continue to feed and care for the fledglings until they are self-sufficient. If you see a baby bird on the ground, and the bird has most of his feathers, leave him alone. Do not think that he needs to be “rescued.”

If you see a baby bird on the ground, and the baby is naked or he has mostly fuzz, he is a nestling and is not ready to fledge. Try to put him back in the nest. Do not worry about your scent being on him. It won’t bother the mother. Birds do not have an acute sense of smell, and the parents will not detect your scent on the baby.

Wildlife biologists and bird banders handle baby birds all the time – they are licensed to do so – and the parent birds never abandon their babies because of this.

If you can not get the nestling back into his own nest, hang a basket (like an easter basket) on a tree limb as close to the nest as you can reach. Place paper towel in the bottom of the basket, and put some grass and leaves in with the baby bird. The parents find their babies by sound, not by sight or smell, so as long as they can hear the baby, they will come and feed him. Placing it on a high limb will keep cats and other predators from getting it, as they would if you left it on the ground.

If you find a baby bird on the ground, and it seem to have been injured by the fall – or if you find an injured adult bird – contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You should be able to find one here: or here:

Licensed wildlife rehabilitators have the specialized training to care for sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, and they have the required state and federal licenses that allow them to keep the wild animals until they are healthy enough to be released.

Do not take the animal to a vet – vets are for pets, and most vets do not have the expertise to care for wild animals; nor do most vets have the proper licenses that would allow them to keep a recuperating wild animal.

Do not attempt to keep a wild bird and care for it yourself. In the US, ALL native migratory birds – not just endangered species – are protected under federal law (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), and it is illegal to keep any protected bird unless you have the required permits. Penalties for violating this law include fines of up to $ 500 and/or up to 6 months in jail for each offense.

If you believe that these babies need to be cared for by humans, you need to turn them over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. All baby birds learn to recognize and find their own food by watching their parents. When a bird is raised in captivity, you do not just stop feeding it and let it go free – it will starve. A licensed rehabilitator will weigh the bird and assess its condition regularly. They will provide a flight cage for the bird, so it can exercise its wings and learn how to fly. They have a procedure for conditioning a bird to recognize and find its own food, so it can survive in the wild. There is also, depending on the species and the condition of the individual bird, an optimum time of the year, and time of the day, that it should be released, and a particular environment into which it should be released. You learn all this when you study to get your rehabber’s license. This is why no untrained, unlicensed person should ever attempt to care for a sick, injured or orphaned wild bird – there is so much more to it than just “what do I feed it?” That is why the federal government requires that all persons who wish to care for native wild birds be licensed.

Add your own answer in the comments!

Tags:abandoned, Birds, little


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