Any lover of nature and animals feels an urgency when they see an abandoned baby bird. You may be inclined to take immediate action to save it. Before doing so, however, take a moment to investigate. This article will give you the basic needed knowledge on how to help a baby bird, and when not to.
A baby bird found alone is not always abandoned.
This is what happened to my mother and me just the other day as we were walking the dogs.
My mother and I both have a tremendous soft spot for animals of all kinds.
I adore birds and am blessed to have a lot of different birds in my area.
Sometimes I have to accept what harsh Kansas storms can do to birds.
Just last week I had to bury a beautiful Golden Finch.
Today, literally as I am writing this I had to bury a crow.
Winters can be even harsher.
Last winter I wrote Protect Wild Birds In Winter if you wish to check that out.
When You Come Across A Baby Bird Stop:
The first thing you want to do is determine if the bird is even a baby, or if it is a fledgling.
The above images are from a site that I use as a trusted resource when it comes to birds in the wild.
In fact, you can go to that site and find out all you need to know when it comes to saving a baby bird.
Or you can continue to read here as I will tell you my story, and what we did by following All About Birds guidelines in their article.
How To Help A Baby Bird And When Not To:
One myth I want to dispell right away is that you can’t touch a young bird.
You can touch a young bird if necessary.
The parents will still take it back into the nest.
It’s that time of year and little birds are learning to take flight.
They are beginning to learn how to take care of themselves.
Just like humans, there is a process to this.
In my opinion, it is always best to leave things to nature and let it take its course.
Sometimes, however, a bird may, in fact, be injured or abandoned.
So how do you know how to help a baby bird and when not to?
Photo From Central Jersey Wildlife. Image Taken From www.allaboutbirds.org
The bird my mother and I found was a Fledgling.
I did not get my own photos that day as I did not even think about it.
I was too concerned about taking care of the bird.
It was easy to identify that the baby bird was a fledgling as it was able to move a bit on the rocky path.
The bird also was fully feathered and had the short tail as described by All About Birds.
Fledglings are far more capable of being on their own.
In fact, they are learning to be on their own.
In most cases, they should be left alone.
If we had found a baby bird, featherless, unable to move, and helpless we would have taken a different course of action entirely.
That action being saving the bird and getting more involved in finding his nest.
The potential of having to take it to a wildlife rescue also increases.
Since I am writing on my experience with the Fledgeling please read here if you have found a nestling.
Because It Was So Hot Outside:
It was over one hundred degrees outside and I did worry about it needing water.
So I did give it a bit of water by putting small drops into its mouth.
This baby bird opened his beak wide for the water.
I made sure that he swallowed and could see his little neck muscles working to do so.
Before giving more water I made sure he had none left in his mouth or throat which was easy to see.
It is possible to drown a fledgling so be careful if you give it water.
At the same time, I did not want to give him too much water.
According to Animals, Mom, Me fledglings do not usually need water as they get it from their food.
However, due to the extreme temperature and the fact that the bird was opening his beak eagerly, it was possible he had not eaten in a while.
How To Help A Baby Bird And When Not To The Process:
Once I determined the bird was a fledgling the first step was making sure I should do anything at all.
The second step was making sure the bird was comfortable.
This next part is difficult because we had no idea how long he had been on that rocky path on his own.
People do walk their dogs in this area and it was possible the bird could get attacked.
Even a kind, but curious dog could injure it.
Yet, nature is nature.
I never want to impede upon the process of it.
Then we looked around for the nest.
Not able to locate it in the densely wooded area on either side of the path, we had to make a hard call.
We left the bird alone.
Besides, returning a bird to the nest at this stage of his life is not the best idea as it will generally hop right back out.
We decided we would return the next morning to check on the status of the bird.
Having been armed with great information from All About Birds I felt secure in this decision.
I said my goodbye to the baby bird, for the time being, said a little prayer, and reluctantly left.
The Baby Bird, The Following Day:
The next day I eagerly returned with my cohort, my mother to the path.
I was praying not to find the little bird.
Also, I prayed that I did not find a baby bird carcass or any noticeable signs of him being attacked or injured.
I took along more water, a box with dried leaves from my yard, and some high protein dog bones that had been soaked in water and mushed up.
There are better food alternatives for fledgling birds but this is what I had available.
I also took rubber gloves as I was prepared to handle the baby bird.
Note: Always wash your hands well before and after handling any wildlife. You could get H5N1, or bird flu, the bird can also get germs and bacteria from you!
Walking the path in anticipation and a bit of dread, we found absolutely no sign of the baby bird!
No sign of stray feathers, blood, or anything that would indicate the bird was harmed after we left.
We both let out a huge sigh of relief.
Since the bird was somewhat mobile we searched very carefully in the brush and wooded area surrounding the path on both sides.
We searched for quite awhile because we could not be 100% sure where he was on the path.
When we came to a fork in the path we knew we had not walked that far the day before.
While we did not find a baby bird, we did find something else!
We found a new turtle friend alongside the path in the woods, just off of the rocks.
I felt it was nature’s way of telling me we made the right call leaving the bird alone.
Nature is amazing and has its own way of working itself out.
We also did not touch the turtle but appreciated him from a distance.
So many of us, people like my mother and myself, are eager to help out when an animal seems in need.
Yet, an intervention can often do more harm than good.
We also have the phone number of our local wildlife rescue on our phones.
Not a bad idea when you live in a rural or country area but even city folk may come across an animal in need.
I encourage you all to find the number for your local rescue and put it in your phones too.
If you find a baby bird please consider my article and check out the articles linked in this post for more information.
Also, if you want more information on birds please check out my article about the Sibley Guide To Birds.
The Conclusion Of Our Experience WIth The Baby Bird:
I honestly can’t be certain that our baby bird made it to where he needed to be.
We have no idea if his parents did come back to help him out.
What I do know is that there was no evidence that any harm had come to him.
I also feel confident based on the great information I discovered that we did the right thing.
I would love to hear from you in comments.
Have you ever found an abandoned or injured bird or other wildlife?
Have you ever saved an animal or reported one to wildlife rescue?
What would you have done if you came across this bird in this situation?
Do you think we made the right call in leaving him and coming back to check on him the next day?
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