Sooo, You Found a Baby Bird ... Now What?
There’s no use denying it: Baby birds are adorable. Everything about their little feathers and tiny chirps makes our ♥s melt.
This time of year, there are tons of baby birds out and about, so before you spot one of these cuties on the ground and swoop in to help, check out the deets below to figure out whether or not your help is actually needed:
Fledglings: The Basics
Fledglings are juvenile birds who have “fledged” from their nests and are learning to fly.
If healthy, they can stand upright and will tuck their wings tightly to their bodies.
They have a mix of fuzzy down and adult feathers, with typically very short tail feathers.
They are typically found on the ground near bushes or trees and will hop around, appear generally awkward, and remain very still if approached.
They can find their own food but will get assistance from parents in a pinch.
IMPORTANT: Fledgling birds are often “rescued” when they don’t need to be. But sometimes birds found on the ground DO need our help!
If you find a fledgling, go through this checklist:
- Are there bloody wounds, wet feathers, legs that aren’t bearing weight, drooping wings, or matted or highly ruffled feathers?
- Is the bird lying on his or her side or back or scooting along the ground on his or her belly?
- Is the bird’s body or head tilting to one side? Is there blood around the nostrils?
- Is the bird cold to the touch and/or noticeably shivering?
- Is the bird in the wide open, nowhere near trees or bushes?
- Are there other animals, such as dogs or cats, stalking the bird?
If the answer to all these questions is “No,” the fledgling should be left alone.
If the answer to any of the above questions is “Yes,” or if the grounded bird is a nestling (a baby bird who is too young to leave the nest), YOUR help is needed!
What should you do?
- Stay with the bird and take a photo if you can.
- Call your local animal control agency or wildlife rehabilitation center, and transport the animal for care immediately.
- Not sure how to reach either of the above? Contact PETA right away at 757-622-7382 and follow the instructions to report an animal emergency. We can help!