Bird says feed the babies

What to do if you find a baby bird, injured or orphaned wildlife

What to do if you find a baby bird, injured or orphaned wildlife

It’s natural to want to help

If you think you've found an orphaned or injured wild animal, what should you do? We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service know that it’s natural to want to help. Here are a few things you should know to keep the animal safe and avoid breaking the law.

Most states require permits or licenses, training and approved facilities to rehabilitate wildlife and some species, including most birds, require federal permits as well. For the safety of the animal, yourself and your family, always call a professional.

Survey the scene

Stop and notice your surroundings. Look for a cause of injury. Do you see any fallen nests on the ground? Was there a recent wind or strong storm that moved through? Most of the time, the best thing to do is to leave the animal alone, but you’ll know a wild animal needs help if it has a visible broken limb, is bleeding, shivering or has a deceased parent nearby.

Baby birds: Nestlings and fledglings

If you find a baby bird, it likely does not need your help unless it is featherless or has its eyes closed. These birds are nestlings and aren’t ready to leave the nest yet. If you can locate the nest nearby, the best thing to do is simply place the nestling back in the nest. If you cannot locate the nest, leave the nestling where you found it or move it to a shaded area. The parents will come back. Don’t worry, your scent won’t deter the parents. 

As birds get bigger, they outgrow the nest and need room to move around, flap their wings and learn to fly. These more developed birds are fledglings and they can easily be identified by their more developed feathers. They can hop and flutter on their own. Fledglings don’t need help – their parents are nearby and still caring for them. Be sure to give them plenty of space.

Finding a licensed rehabilitator

If an animal truly needs help, you’ll need to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Finding a location that can handle the species you’ve found is key. Always call ahead and make arrangements before transporting an animal. 

Many state conservation agencies keep a list of licensed rehabilitators on their websites. Try doing a web search for “wildlife rehabilitator near me” and you should find some resources. If you’re specifically looking for a bird rehabilitator, you can access a map of bird rehabilitator locations. Keep in mind that there are likely additional rehabilitators in your area that aren’t licensed for birds. 

Thank you for caring about the wildlife in your community. They’re your neighbors too and it’s great that you want to be prepared to help them in their time of need. Remember to observe wildlife from a safe distance. If a young animal isn’t visibly injured, its parents are likely nearby and still caring for it. Be sure to give young animals plenty of space to avoid spooking the parents.  

Image Details

This osprey chick had fallen from its nest and was brought to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to be examined for injuries. Once cleared, it was placed back in the nest, reuniting the family.

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Wildlife management

Recreational Activities

Wildlife watching


What To Do If You Find a Baby Bird

In the spring and summer, it's very common to find baby birds on the ground. Birds take far better care of their babies than humans can, so if you find a baby bird, keep your pets away and follow our advice below.

If the baby bird has no feathers

Nestlings are baby birds that have no feathers, or only a few. Nestlings won't survive long outside the protection of the nest, and where possible nestlings should be re-nested and left in the wild.

If you can't see a nest in the surrounding trees, or it's fallen down or been damaged, then you can make a replacement nest to put the nestling back into. This could be as simple as a basket or plant pot with some nesting material inside, securely attached to the nearest tree.

If the bird is injured, the quickest way to help is to contact your local wildlife rescue centre or vet.

If the baby bird has feathers

Fledglings have all or most of their feathers and leave the nest just before they can fly, so it's normal to see them on the ground. Keep your pets away from them, leave the fledgling alone and monitor it, as the parents are usually nearby and feeding the bird.

Even if you have already confined a healthy fledgling, you may still be able to return them to their parents. If they're in immediate danger, place them in a sheltered spot a short distance away.

If it's a fledgling

If it's a nestling

How to protect a baby bird from danger

If the baby bird is out of its nest and in immediate danger, then you can pick it up (using gloves) and move it a very short distance to somewhere safe - no more than a few metres away.

Look for somewhere with shelter for the bird, and where the parents will still be able to find them easily.

How to tell if a baby bird has been orphaned

You should only take baby birds into captivity as a last resort if:

  • They're sick or injured
  • You know for sure that the parents are dead
  • You've continuously monitored them from a distance for more than two hours and the parents haven't returned.

In these cases, you should contact your local wildlife rehabilitation centre or vet as soon as possible.

What to do if the baby bird is visibly injured

An injured baby bird will need specialist care and rehabilitation to survive, so the best thing to do is to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation centre or a vet as soon as possible.

You may be asked to take the bird to the centre yourself. If you need to handle the bird, follow our advice about handling and boxing it up.

If the wildlife centre or vets are unavailable, or you're unable to transport the baby bird, please contact us.

Leave eggs and nests alone

Birds are at their most vulnerable when nesting. Any disturbance could kill or hurt the wild birds and their young - or cause them to abandon their nests, eggs and young.

Birds' eggs are also legally protected, so please don't touch or move them even if you want to help the birds, as you might be breaking the law.

If you've found a nest that you think needs to be moved, check you're legally able to.

Not all birds nest in trees

Not all bird species nest in trees or remain in the nest until they're a fledgling. Follow the links below to find out more about specific species of birds and how they nest.

Feeding the birds - is it always a good deed and how not to harm | Petrozavodsk SPEAKS | Newspaper "Petrozavodsk" online

Birds need to be fed in winter - that's how we were taught at school, right? Does anyone remember how to do this? Very soon, in kindergartens and schools, our children will be given the task of making feeders. Can we give the right advice?

Feeding birds in Karelia in winter is not only a good deed, but also an important support for birds in the cold, because without human help it can be difficult for them to spend the winter. But it turns out that not everything is as simple as it might seem at first glance. It is important not only to properly build a feeder and hang it in a suitable place, but also to choose food that suits our birds. We talked about how to behave with birds in winter with Andrey Tolstoguzov, an employee of the Institute of Biology, KarRC RAS. nine0003

– Winter is almost here. Now many will feed the birds. Is it necessary to do this at all?

– It is definitely necessary to feed the birds. Children usually do it with pleasure, at the same time they get to know the representatives of the flora and fauna of their region, learn to love nature. But for whom this is even more important, it is for birds.

For example, part of the duck population is now wintering in the city. For the last two years I have been studying this phenomenon in detail and found out that the urban population is growing in number - in the winter of 17/18 there were 1200 ducks in the city, and in the winter of 18/19th - already 1500. And in the 90s there were dozens of individuals. The population grew mainly due to the fact that the locals fed the ducks.

Small passerines also depend on constant feeding. Tits, for example, look for sources of food at the end of autumn and then feed only at their expense. Therefore, if you undertook to feed the birds, this should not be a one-time action.

We made a feeder - keep the food in it constantly. If you stop adding food (which often happens when people get tired of it), this dooms the tits to death, since they will no longer be able to look for new sources of food. nine0003

– What to feed the birds?

- It is worth feeding unroasted and unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. In frosty weather, the seeds need to be crushed. Crushed peanuts, unsalted lard, oats, millet, and wheat can also be good top dressing. You can give slices of apples.

What should not be fed is salty, spoiled, sweet or fried foods. Contrary to stereotypes, you should not give bread, especially black bread, because it is poorly digested and does not provide much energy. However, if in frosty weather there is a choice: to feed the birds with bread or not to feed at all, then it is better to feed them. Without food, they will simply die of cold. nine0003

– Should all birds be fed?

- Indeed, not all birds are equally resourceful in finding food. Crows and gulls, for example, get their food in the garbage, it is easier for them to survive the winter than for smaller birds. I would suggest feeding the less resourceful and less protected birds, but it's actually quite difficult to control who gets your food. If you are making a feeder, you can make the entrance holes so that large birds simply cannot climb into them. nine0033
By and large, there are no exceptionally harmful birds (as well as animals in general). It's just that there are more or less vulnerable at the moment. Among the Petrozavodsk birds, crows are less vulnerable, so they have a large number.

– How to make feeders correctly?

– A proper feeder must have a roof so that the feed does not get wet in the rain. In addition, it is necessary to make bumpers so that food does not spill out in windy weather. But the sides should not be made very large so that the bird, sitting on them, can reach the food. nine0003

I would also advise you to make a feeder on a pole instead of a hanging feeder. A third of the length of the pole must be dug into the ground so that the structure does not fall. Such a feeder is better protected from wind and squirrels.

If you decide to make a hanging feeder, then it is necessary that it be heavy and not sway in the wind. The ropes with which it is attached to the base should be short (for the same reason). And it’s better to use wire for fastening in general, then the feeder will hardly swing.

nine0002 But even more important are the rules for caring for the feeder. It is necessary to constantly remove wet and spoiled food, as well as dirt. You can’t overfeed the birds: you don’t need to pour too much food, he just needs to appear there regularly.

– What should and should not be used to make a feeder?

- You can make a feeder out of anything. But I recommend wood. Such feeders are durable, do not spoil the appearance of the park and do not harm the birds. Feeders made from cardboard boxes quickly become unusable and become garbage. At feeders made of plastic bottles, it is worth pasting over the sharp edges of the cuts with tape so that the birds do not get hurt. nine0003

– Where can and can't they be hung?

– The feeder can be hung on a window, on a tree (just don't nail it to a tree!), and, in general, in any place. The main thing is that it is convenient for you to get to it - in order to clean or pour food. For small birds, it is good to make feeders near the bushes, so if a large bird or a predator arrives at the feeder, small birds can hide.

Remain human. How and why to feed birds in winter: Society: Oblgazeta

One tit clears about 10 trees of pests per season, and one tree provides oxygen to three people. Here's the math. Photo: Natalya Samoylova

Stay human

What and why to feed the birds in winter

Every year my winter begins with the fact that I see some lone tit looking for food. She, better than all weather forecasts and folk signs, signals that the warmth has left us, winter is coming. Attentively and diligently, the bird reconnoiters the area. If you find it - cheers! The bird's day was a success, there is hope to survive. nine0008

Why feed

It seems to be just everything, wild birds, let them get food themselves. Somehow, after all, they lived for centuries and now they will live. This is a fairly common position. But there is one "but" ... The world has changed, now not only we, homo sapiens, but also everyone around us live in a frenzied gray space of glass and concrete.

Insects, which birds picked out from everywhere in winter, are actively poisoned, grass that could give seeds is mowed down, trees that gave berries were cut down, and few new ones were planted, and they have not yet grown. Birds have had their winter food sources severely reduced. nine0003

Pigeons and crows eat well in the garbage dumps, but there are also bright red bullfinches, yellow-blue nimble tits, tap dance crumbs, greenfinches, nuthatches, goldfinches, siskins ... and even sparrows, without them the picture of my personal world would be incomplete. Think about it, bullfinches, which have always been a bright winter symbol, have become quite rare, flocks of waxwings have turned from huge to just big, and many townspeople have only seen siskins, goldfinches and nuthatches in pictures.

Don't want to be alone surrounded by gray doves and black crows? nine0007 Feed.

You can talk for a long time about the benefits of birds for the ecosystem, or you can show a little humanity. Make a feeder - yourself, with children, with neighbors, in the end - you need any container into which you can pour food. And every day (this is very important!) at the same time (in the evening after work, in the morning before going for a walk), fill it with food. First, tits and sparrows will fly in, and then for the company, out of curiosity and in the hope of “everyone eats and we will get it,” much more interesting guests will catch up. And even adults often become curious to get on the Internet or open a directory to find out what kind of new “forest animal” has come. For children, this is generally a quest, they also show off to each other who has flown more different birds (yes, they can not only play on phones). nine0003

– I am an ordinary person, I live in an apartment, walk my dog ​​and feed the birds in winter. It’s probably funny from the outside, because a stereotypical picture pops up: a granny surrounded by a couple of dozen pigeons, tells us Pyotr Malyshev (who, indeed, is difficult to confuse with a granny, our dialogue took place in the courtyard of a good, not so long ago built house , our commentator is a tall, obviously prosperous man). - Not pigeons, of course, I feed, but small ones. At first I hung a feeder on the window, but the neighbors asked to remove it, the birds interfere with them and stain the windows. I had to move it to the nearest apple tree, go out with the dog, pour seeds. I don’t see birds, early in the morning it’s dark. The wife walks with the child during the day, says that they come in a whole flock and peck everything. Mostly sparrows and tits fly. nine0003

Separately, I would like to dwell on urban ducks, which do not fly away for wintering to warm regions precisely because they are “well fed here too”. There is no question of survival in this case, the townspeople themselves have created a situation where the task of the birds is to quack and eat. A variety of people participate in the “feed the duck” attraction: mothers with children, and office workers. This is because ducks are cute and you don’t have to go far. And the waterfowl don't mind.

What to feed

“Children - ice cream, women - flowers” ​​(C) ... Oh, about the birds. Sparrows - millet (not millet!), Tits - seeds, crushed nuts and unsalted raw fat on the skin, waxwings and other thrushes can be given rowan berries, finely chopped dried fruits, grated apple and carrots.

Ducks can be given white bread, corn and oat flakes, finely chopped vegetables, you can even treat them with cottage cheese. Ducks are adherents of a mixed diet, therefore they are able to eat a wide variety of foods.

To remain human is not only to consume, but also to give life to other species, our neighbors. For each of us - a simple matter, and for them - a whole life. Do not forget.

Birds are contraindicated

– Citizens! Little birds and pigs are different creatures.

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