Search
Social
Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.
Navigation

I found a baby bird on the ground, what should I do?

At some point, nearly everyone who spends time outdoors finds a baby bird, usually one that is unable to fly well and seems lost or abandoned. Our first impulse is to adopt the helpless creature, but this often does more harm than good, and in most cases, the young bird doesn't need our help at all. The first thing to do is to figure out if it's a nestling or a fledgling. If it's sparsely feathered and not capable of hopping, walking, flitting, or gripping tightly to your finger, it's a nestling. If so, the nest is almost certainly nearby.

If you can find the nest (it may be well hidden), put the bird back as quickly as possible. Don't worry - parent birds do not recognize their young by smell! If the bird is feathered and capable of hopping or flitting, and its toes can tightly grip your finger or a twig, it's a fledgling.

Fledglings are generally adorable, fluffy, with a tiny stub of a tail. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that the bird has been abandoned and needs you. But fledglings need a special diet, and they need to learn about behavior and vocalizations from their parents things we can't provide.

Fortunately, the vast majority of "abandoned" baby birds are perfectly healthy fledglings. Their parents are nearby and watching out for them. The parents may be attending to four or five young scattered in different directions, but they will most likely return to care for the one you have found shortly after you leave.

When fledglings leave their nest, they rarely return, so even if you see the nest it's not a good idea to put the bird back in as it will hop right back out. Usually there is no reason to intervene at all beyond putting the bird on a nearby perch out of harm's way. Fledglings produce sounds that their parents recognize, and one of them will return and care for it after you leave. If you have found both parents dead or are otherwise absolutely certain that the bird was orphaned, then your best course of action is to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator.

*******************************************************************************************

Baby Mammals

If you find a baby mammal on the ground, it may not be injured or orphaned. In the first few days and weeks of a baby animal’s life, they are often left alone while parents are off searching for food to feed them. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day,sometimes for long periods. The young need to remain hidden, or at least quiet, to survive. Some animals watch their young from a distance as to not draw attention to them.If a baby has wandered out to an exposed area for a long period of time and there is threat of predators (humans & pets) place the animal back into a hidden, bushy or cove red area, we ll away from trails or human & pet  interference in a location where you know the parents are nearby. Parents will not reject their baby just because it was handled  by humans.

If any animal is injured, please contact a wildlife rehabilatator immediately... 

Squirrels

In the case of squirrels, if a baby has fallen from the nest, watch to see if the mother retrieves her baby. If you can reach the nest, return the baby for her. The best thing to do is try to put the squirrel back.  Leave the area and watch for parents to return. Watch from a distance to see if the parent returns. If the parents do not return after 1·4 hours, call a wildlife rehabilatator.

Opossum

If the opossum is less than 9 inches long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and it is without it’s mother, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for the possibility to bring it in.

Raccoons

If you find a nest of baby raccoons, leave it alone and watch from a distance . The mother may be gone the entire night. Raccoons are nocturnal, feeding and eating at night.

Deer

A fawn (baby deer) may be curled up on the ground and appears approachable. The mother is likely nearby and watching you. If you know the baby has bee n orphaned, call a wildlife rehabilatator for assistance . Do not attempt to capture or transport the fawn yourself.

Rabbits

Rabbits have a nest that is a shallow dug out on the ground. If you find a nest, leave it alone. Rabbit mothers will often not leave babies in the same place so if you find individual babies, leave them alone. Rabbit mothers leave the nest from dawn to dusk and many times people think they are abandoned.

Bats, Skunks, Fox etc.

Please call a wildlife rehabilatator...