What do you do if you find a Baby Bird?
The best chance for a baby bird is to leave it with its parents.
Spring is the time for baby birds and many fledglings leave the nest to try out their new wings only to find themselves on the ground. They just need a few days to exercise those muscles before they are as free as a bird.
Birds don’t just need feeding to survive they also need their parents to teach them how to find food and survive after they have stopped feeding them. If you remove a baby bird from it parents you may be condemning it to a miserable death from starvation or it may be attacked by other birds as it has not learn survival skills.
How can I find out if the fledgling is an orphan?
If you place the fledgling in a box and it does a poo – it is not an orphan, as the parents are feeding it – PUT IT BACK!
There is one thing you can do to protect it from attack from other birds and exposure to the weather & cold.
For diurnal (day time) birds – If you want to help take the fledgling in and keep it warm and dry of a night – put it back first thing in the morning so its parents can keep raising it.
For nocturnal (night time) birds – like tawny frogmouths – do the reverse. Take them in during the day and put them back at last light. These fledglings need protecting from the diurnal (day time) birds during the day while the parents are asleep. If they are left unprotected the other birds are likely to peck their eyes out.
Found a Baby Bird is an information pamphlet to help you decide if the bird needs to be left along or if it may need to go into care.
Does it have most of its feathers?
If it has most its feathers, and is not injured, put it in a nearby bush or in the garden under some plants. It does not have to go high up into a tree. Wait quietly and out of sight, watch to see if the parent birds come back to it before removing it from the area.
Is it injured?
If it is in imminent danger or injured (droopy wing, open wound, limping etc), then call the Hunter Wildlife Rescue helpline on 0418 628 483 or 0418 NATIVE.
You can help reunite a baby bird with its parents
For young chicks, see how to reunite them with their parents using an artificial nest – see information below.
Unless sick or injured
Step 1: Pick up the bird and put it as high as possible in a nearby tree for safety. The parents are nearby and will find it. Try popping it onto a broom head to give that little extra reach!
Step 2: Keep an eye on the young bird and if it flutters to the ground again, repeat Step 1.
It is always best for a bird to be raised by its natural parents, rather than a human carer.
4 steps to make a new home
Take an ice-cream container or similar item and put some holes in the bottom for drainage. Put some more holes at the top to make a handle.
Put some leaves or grass in the bottom. Use the original nesting material if the nest has fallen from the tree. Place baby bird in its new home. Mum and dad won’t mind that baby has been handled by humans.
Secure the container at about head height or higher in a leafy protected area, away from direct sunlight, as close to where you found the baby bird. It does not even have to be the original tree.
Watch from a distance to make sure the parents return to feed baby. This may take several hours so be patient. If the parents have not returned by dark, call the Hunter Wildlife Rescue.
These are Nestlings, baby birds that still live in the nest. They may be covered in down, have few or no feathers and are totally reliant on their parents for all aspects of survival.
It may be possible to put a Nestling back in a tree in a substitute nest but please check with Hunter Wildlife Rescue Helpline before taking this action. Take a photo & send the images to the helpline responder.
If found on the ground, they need your help immediately.
These are chicks, born on the ground, with downy feathers, eyes open, able to stand and follow their parents. They can feed themselves. e.g. ducklings, plovers but are reliant on their parents for warmth and protection. If the parents are nearby and they are safe from predators, (cats & dogs) not on the road, or in drains, then leave them alone.
If they are abandoned or in danger, they need your help immediately.
These are fledglings, baby birds with some developed feathers that have left the nest but are still fed and protected by their parents. They are learning to fly and sometimes their parents leave them alone while collecting food.
If found hoping on the ground, the parents are nearby, if they are safe from predators (ca/dogs), and they are not on the road or in the way of traffic leave them alone.
If the bird is in danger, or parents do not return after a few hours and the bird is still on the ground, it needs your help immediately.
Fledglings – Night (Nocturnal) Birds
These are fledgling night birds.
If you find them on the ground in the day, they will need your help to be kept safe.
Place them in a box somewhere in your house and at dusk, return them to a tree branch where you found them as this is the time their parents will return to feed them.
If the parents do not return within a couple of hours, put the bird back into the warmth of the box and call the Rescue Helpline.