Baby Birds

Found a baby bird and think it might need help? Then you've come to the right page! Scroll on down to learn what to do if you find an orphaned bird you think needs help.

Let's Start with a Few Questions

  • Is the mother dead?

    • Yes: Call a rehab center​

    • No: Move on to the next step

  • Is the baby injured?

    • Yes: Call a rehab center​

    • No: Move on to the next step

  • Is the baby hopping around and chirping?

    • Yes: He's a fledgling learning independence. No need to worry!

    • No: Move on to the next step

  • Did the nest blow down?

    • Yes: If you know where the nest​ came from, follow the directions HERE to learn how to make a makeshift nest.

    • No: Move on to the next step

  • Can you see and safely reach the nest?

    • Yes: Put the baby back! It is a myth that mom will abandon it because you touched it.​

    • No: Call a rehab center

  • Click HERE for more information on how to contain/transport your orphan.

Why are we working so hard to keep the baby with its parents? Baby birds who grow up with their moms (and dads in some cases) have a much better chance of being successful adults. There are things that wild moms can teach their offspring that no human can imitate. Aren't you happy you grew up with human parents and not a pack of wolves? 

Why shouldn't you rescue a fledgling? Even though fledgling baby birds (the little guys hopping around everywhere) are more vulnerable to predators, it is an important stage in their development for learning to AVOID those predators and how to fend for and feed themselves. Not all baby animals get to grow up, it is an unpleasant fact of life. However, it is far more important for that adorable little bird in your backyard to have a chance to grow up wild than to be unnecessarily rescued and brought to a rehab center. If you have an outdoor cat, you can help give baby birds in your yard a better chance at growing up by keeping your cat indoors for a few weeks while they learn how to fly. 

To download an in depth guide on what to do if you find orphaned wildlife, click the button! You know you want to...

How to Fix a Fallen Nest

 

It is VERY important to know where the original nest was located. If you do not know this, give us a call at 419-684-9539. However, if you know where the original nest was, the directions below will help you reunite your baby bird with his/her mom!

  1. Find a plastic tub that is just barely big enough for the fallen nest materials and the babies. Poke holes all over the bottom so that rainwater will not collect in the tub.

  2. Place fallen nest material or leaf litter and fibrous plant material into the nest and form a cup. Make sure the drainage holes do not get clogged! Do NOT use string, yarn, dryer lint, or anything else that could get tangled around the baby or that will not dry out quickly.

  3. Gently place the nestlings into the nest with their heads facing outwards and supported by the rim of the nest/plastic tub.

  4. Using wire or yarn, SECURELY attach the nest close to where the original was located.

  5. Observe the nest from a distance for the next hour. If you do not see the mother return, give us a call. If you do see mom, GREAT JOB! You just reunited a baby with it's parents.

Remember, growing up with wild parents is the best thing for wild babies. They should only come to a rehab center if it is necessary.

Transporting Babies to a Rehab Center

 

While most baby birds do not pose much of a physical threat to people, some, like baby hawks and owls, can bite and talon you. It is always important to be careful!

  • First things first, find an appropriately sized container for your orphaned bird. This container should only be just big enough for the baby. The box should have small holes in it to allow the baby to breathe.

  • Get your container ready by lining it with paper towels or soft, non-terry fabric to soak up any waste. If the orphaned bird is so young that it has no adult feathers and it's eyes are still closed (or even just barely open), add a bottle filled with hot water wrapped in a paper towel to the box to help keep your orphaned patient warm.

  • If the bird you are rescuing is not a hawk or owl, it is okay to pick it up wearing just a thin pair of garden gloves or even with a paper towel. Your scent won't hurt the bird, contrary to popular belief, but birds can carry parasites so it's better safe than sorry. If the bird is an owl or hawk, you can use a trowel or small shovel to GENTLY scoop the baby into your box.

  • Close your box securely (tape it shut if necessary). When transporting the patient, try to keep your vehicle as quiet as possible.

  • Never, EVER give food or water to an orphaned bird! This can cause serious and irreversible damage to the very baby you are trying to save. Even if you read a How-To on the internet, don't attempt to feed the baby. Getting it to a rehab center is the best thing you can do.

  • Remember, most wildlife centers are non-profit and work with a very small staff. We depend on heroes like you to help us rescue helpless wild animals. Thanks so much for helping us make a difference!

Why do you need to call a rehab center at all? Why not raise the baby yourself? There are lots of reasons to make sure you find professional help for your wildlife orphan.

  • The law...that's right, the scary side of our government. In the United States, it is illegal to rehabilitate birds without a federal and state license. This may seem harsh, but there are good reasons for this policy. Read on to find out!

  • Training: Many people on social media will tell heart-warming stories about babies they raised and released. Sadly, studies show that many of these animals don't live for more than a year in the wild. Without proper training, it is very difficult to know how to raise an animal to be, well wild! 

    • Babies need to learn how to fend for themselves without human interference.​

    • Babies need to learn how to avoid people (not everyone is nice to wildlife) and pets.

    • Babies need to have the right, and very specific, diets growing up so they don't end up with long-term neurological, organ, and other health problems caused by lack of proper nutrition.

    • Knowing what to feed them and how to raise them without making them too used to people takes a lot of training and work.

  • Doing what's best for them! We, just like everyone else, fall in love with these animals. However, in our hearts, we always know it's vitally important to always do what is best for THEM, not what is best for our own feelings.

  • Want to do more to help wildlife orphans? Click HERE

Still have questions? No problem! Give us a call at 419-684-9539!

Still have questions? Didn't find the answers you were looking for here? Just want to chat with some awesome wildlife people? We don't blame you, we want to chat with us too!

We are more than happy to help you with whatever wildlife questions you have. Don't hesitate to give our trained staff a call at 419-684-9539. For our calling hours, click HERE.