You may see a baby bird outside of its nest while walking along the road or near the bushes. If you are sympathetic to help the wounded bird, you must know how to save a baby bird from dying.
- Know the Existing Law
- Make Sure the Baby Bird Got Hurt
- Ensure the Type of the Baby Bird
- Check the age
- How to Save a Nestling from Dying?
- What Happens When the Parent Birds Don’t Return?
- How to Save a Fledging from Dying?
- What Happens If the Fledgling is Separated from Parents?
But it is illegal for you to take it home in some countries like the US. In this case, the best option will be to call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for help. It could be before picking up the bird or after placing the bird in a box in a safe location.
You’ll also have to know two essential factors before determining either the baby bird needs help or not. At first, make sure that the bird may be injured or healthy. If the bird is injured, it badly needs help. The second factor is that the bird will be either a fledgling or a nestling.
If you find such a baby bird out of the nest, which needs any help, then you had better follow this guide from the beginning to the end.
Handy Hint: To read more about birds, visit our other article about rid of bird nest [Click here], how to stop birds from flying into windows [Click here] and remove a birds nest with eggs [Click here]
Know the Existing Law
You must know the law before picking up a fallen bird. In the US, it is illegal to keep most native birds if you don’t have a license. You won’t take abandoned birds to the home as well.
Make Sure the Baby Bird Got Hurt
You have to make sure that the baby bird is injured. You can understand the worse condition of a baby bird when it is feeling cold, and often getting its eyes closed.
Besides, the baby bird looking exhausted or dehydrated may need help from you.
Blood is another indication which shows that a bird got hurt. If you see dripping blood from a baby bird or it has dried blood on the body, it may need help.
Ensure the Type of the Baby Bird
When you find the baby bird fallen on the ground, you have to ensure which type the bird belongs to. It may be either a nestling or a fledgling.
A nestling is one of the baby birds, which has only a few feathers or just bare skin. It is too young to fly and unable to come out of the nest. Also, it usually seems quite heavy for its small wings. Although it looks rather tame, it may chirp energetically.
On the other hand, a fledgling is a young bird that has a mix of fuzzy and adult feathers. It looks like an adult as it has the same size and feathers as an adult bird. If you find an old enough bird on the ground, it is undoubtedly a fledging.
Check the age
If you look at feathers, you can ensure the age of the baby bird. When you see the baby bird without features or a few features on its body, you will be sure the bird is newly born.
How to Save a Nestling from Dying
Nestlings may get out of the nest and need help getting back. Though their parents feed them, they won’t be able to survive outside the nest.
When you find such a baby bird, you must return it to the nest unless the parent birds cannot pick it up.
- 1. Secure the Bird: Use clean hands for picking up the bird. Wear a thick pair of gloves before helping the bird. It’s essential to wash your hands and arms after handling wildlife, as they can spread bacteria and diseases.
- 2. Take Care of the Bird: You’ll need to take care of the baby bird with one hand. If the bird is pretty small in your palm, then place your other hand over the bird in a way your hands won’t allow the bird to escape.
- 3. Look for the Nest: Once you’ve found it, look for the nest. If you find the nest with other babies, place the baby bird gently in its nest. It’s alright to keep the baby bird inside the nest by using your hands.
- 4. Monitor the Bird: Monitor the condition of the bird for a while from a distance. Watch quietly from a distance of around 80 feet for a few hours. Don’t leave the place until the parents return to feed the nestling. If the parents don’t come back, then follow the instructions below.
Handy Hint: To read more about birds, visit our other article about protect bird nests from predators [here]
What Happens When the Parent Birds Don’t Return?
The parent birds are usually careful and always feed their babies. They may indeed not return for either you remain too close and visible to them, or something else may prevent them from returning home.
If the parent birds cannot come back to the nestling, then you have to help the baby bird until a rehabilitator comes.
Never try to rehabilitate the bird by yourself. You are not experienced enough and may be harmful to the bird.
#1. Create a Comfortable Nest: If you cannot find the original nest or the parent birds don’t come, make a comfortable nest by a small basket, a cardboard box, or small plastic container. Make holes punched in the bottom for proper ventilation.
Put some soft cloth in the bottom like a towel. Don’t use terry fabric loops as the bird may catch its beak or toes.
The nest should be well-shaped with some tissue papers, and of non-slippery materials. Otherwise, the baby bird will get hurt and injured.
You should have something to cover the box, such as a towel. It is best to keep the bird in a dark and quiet place.
The box shouldn’t be higher than the bird’s head. It will be about two-thirds of the bird’s height.
After all, you must secure the box so that the bird can’t get out.
#2. Secure the Nest: Place the box in an area where your children don’t usually go. Make sure the area is quiet and dark. Besides, put the box out of the range of any pets like cats and dogs.
#3. Keep the Bird Warm: While you’re working on helping a baby bird, keep it warm by placing a heating pad under half of the box or a small hot water bottle inside it. Then put the box in a quiet and safe place away from people and animals.
#4. Give Food: Later, when the baby birds can eat birdseed, you cannot give them a lot. They will eat themselves till death. If you want to drink water to an untrained bird, you have to provide it by syringe.
#5. Get Help: If you get an injured baby bird, which parents don’t return and you are unsure how to help, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, and arrange to transport the bird immediately.
How to Save a Fledgling from Dying
A fledgling usually spends a period sitting on the edge of the nest. It is in the situation of half-falls and half-flies.
When a fledgling is trying to fly in the sky, it may fall out of the nest on the ground and remain there for a long time. In that case, if it appears uninjured, leave it alone. It will be fine. But, if you find the fledgling injured, then it will need help to recover.
Once you’ve found some other birds around the nest, looking the same, it will be a good sign for the bird, because they are probably parents or siblings.
1. Check the Health Condition of the Fledgling:
A healthy fledgling can stand and cover its body with the wings tightly. But sometimes, you find a wounded fledgling with wet feathers and legs that aren’t bearing weight, then it must need help.
You may find the wounded baby bird lying on the ground on the side or back. When you find a bird that has bloody nostrils and may noticeably be shivering, it will need help from you.
2. Contact with a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator
A licensed wildlife rehabilitator is a person who knows how to save a baby bird from dying. Call the rehabilitator before sending the bird. Then, make sure that the rehabilitator is going to take the bird.
If he doesn’t agree in this matter, ask for someone else, his contact number, driving directions, and the address of that rehabilitator.
Most of the time, you will bear the responsibility for transporting the bird to the rehabilitator. Because rehabilitators are usually volunteers caring for a lot of other birds, that’s why they often can’t come to pick up another one.
3. Transport the Bird to a Rehabilitator
Take it to a rehabilitator as soon as possible. For transporting it to the rehabilitator, you may need to drive for a long time. Then, you only have to remind yourself about doing your best job for saving the bird’s life.
While driving with the bird’s box, keep the box in a quiet and calm place at the temperature of 85 to 90 degrees.
When you arrive, you may need to provide some data to the rehabilitator, such as your name and address, and the place and time of the bird you found.
If you describe the rehabilitator about the incident that happened to the baby bird, he can quickly recover the bird.
What Happens If the Fledgling is Separated from Parents?
Typically, a fledgling can be separated from parents if a dog, a cat, or a child has moved the fledgling to another location. If this happens, the fledgling cannot survive.
- Arrange Food for the Fledgling: It’s because parents usually feed their fledglings for 2 to 3 weeks, even if they leave the nest. So, if you find an orphaned fledgling, always try to call a rehabilitator to take further actions.
- Try to Remove Dangers: If you find a fledgling in danger from a cat or dog, you should remove the threat of those animals. For that, you can arrange an ideal nest for the fledgling possibly away from the dog or cat.
- Allow the Fledgling to Practice Flying: After a few days, the fledgling is supposed to practice flying (the tail feathers tend to be grown) so that it can easily escape predators.
- Call a Rehabilitator: If you don’t remove the danger, it’s better to call a rehabilitator and let him do whatever he prefers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I take care of the baby bird myself?
If you want to take care of a baby bird yourself, it won’t be a good idea. Chances are the bird will be unable to survive. And there is a very low chance to be successfully released. So, you should hand over the bird to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
3. How do I contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator?
First of all, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or leave a message. Within half an hour, you’re supposed to get a callback. If not, call the rehabilitator again or try to contact another rehabilitator. When he/she comes, make sure that you ask for the name and number of the rehabilitator.
4. How do I transport the bird to a rehabilitator?
Most of the time, you have to transport the baby bird to the rehabilitators. If so, try to reach a rehabilitator within an hour or as soon as possible. You may need to drive to transport the bird. In that case, try to keep the temperature of the bird box between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
In short, once you’ve got a baby bird on the ground, then you should help it as much as possible.
Besides being injured, it may feel very vulnerable, losing home and parents.
The baby bird won’t hurt you if you hold it carefully.
However, you need not keep the bird to yourself longer than usual. Please call a rehabilitator for asking for help.
Remember that, the older a baby bird is, the more frightened it will be. So, you have to help the bird without causing any harm.