Search Knowledge Base by Keyword

What shall I do, I have found an abandoned baby bird?

You are here:

Watch the bird carefully from a safe distance. If the parents do not return and the youngster has definitely been abandoned, then please let an experienced bird rescue or rehabber know, so that they can give you advice.

A young bird alone on the ground has not necessarily been abandoned, as the young of many bird species will spend a day or two on the ground before their feather development is complete and they are able to fly. The parents will be close by and come to feed the bird as soon as it is safe. However, if the bird is in a vulnerable position, then it will do no harm to move it into shelter but not too far away as the parents will otherwise be unable to find it.  However, one has to be sure that the seemingly orphaned bird is healthy, not stunned, injured or malnourished, as this might be the reason why it cannot follow the parents the way it wants and should.

It is very important that if you have found a fledgling bird by its own, or if you have placed a fledgling in a safer location, you must stay and observe from a safe (not to scare the parents away) location for an hour or as long as necessary until the parents return to be reassured things are fine. And if the parents return, you must also observe what the parents do, whether they feed the little one, or whether they attack it. We often do not know for how long the family has been separated, something which can be very important as some species will not accept their offspring back if separated for longer than 24 or 48 hours.

Please note, a barely feathered or even unfeathered bird is not a fledgling, it is a nestling, and a nestling needs either to be put back into the nest, assuming the nest is not destroyed or abandoned, or if that is not possible, then a nestling will always need help immediately. Delaying treatment and care for only a couple of hours will very likely lead to the bird’s death.