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Found a Bird, What do I do?

Most birds are nesting and raising young from March through August. It is not uncommon to find baby birds in your yard during this time. When someone finds a young bird alone, it is natural to want to rescue it, but in most cases, the young birds do not need help at all. To avoid disturbing nests, wait to trim trees and bushes until the fall when young birds have fledged.

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It is best to leave baby birds where you find them. Bird parents are very good at what they do and will care for their young even if they are on the ground. Do not take baby birds home and do not try to feed them. Each bird species has a specific diet requirement; feeding the baby the wrong foods could kill it.

Contrary to popular belief, you can handle the baby to move it to safety. Because most birds do not have a sense of smell, human scent will not cause the parents to reject the baby. You do not need to call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator unless you know the parents are dead or the young bird is injured.

Did you find a Baby Raptor? Please see our page  - Abandon Raptor Care

If you find a baby bird on the ground... 

If the baby bird has no feathers...

It is a Nestling

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 center or vet.

If the baby Bird Has Feathers...

It is a Fledgling

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.

What do you do?...

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 feet 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 center 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 center or a vet as soon as possible.

You may be asked to take the bird to the center yourself. If you need to handle the bird, then put on some suitable gloves and quickly place them into a secure cardboard box with ventilation holes, lined with a towel or newspaper.

If the wildlife center 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 move the nest before you do so.

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