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Found a baby bird out of a nest?

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Bird fledglings have feathers that are fluffy. They can not fly very well.

If you've found a baby bird out of the nest, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Birds are delicate creatures, and caring for them requires specialised knowledge and expertise.

Here are some simple steps to follow to ensure a successful rescue and release.

Step 1: Assess the situation

The first step in caring for a baby bird is to assess the situation. Determine the bird's age and species, and observe their behaviour. If the bird is a nestling, it will have little or no feathers, and its eyes will be closed or partially closed. If the bird is a fledgling, it will have feathers and will be able to hop or walk, but may not yet be able to fly. Assessing the situation can help you determine the best course of action.

Step 2: Determine if the bird is in immediate danger

If the bird is in immediate danger, such as by the road side, injured or, at risk of being attacked by a cat or dog, it's important to act quickly to remove the bird from harm's way. Use gloves or a towel to pick up the bird, and place it in a small cardboard box or pet carrier. Keep the box in a warm and quiet place, and contact a wildlife charity like Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital as soon as possible.

Bird nestlings have little to no feathers. They are dependent on their parents for food.

Step 3: Create a temporary nest

If the bird is a nestling and is not in immediate danger, create a temporary nest using a small container or basket lined with soft materials like grass or paper towels. Place the nestling in the container and position up high near the original nest, if possible. Observe the nestling from a distance to ensure that its parents are returning.

Step 4: Observe the bird's behaviour

If the parents return and continuing to care for the bird, it's best to leave it in their care. If the bird appears to be injured, abandoned, or its parents don't return to care for the bird within a few hours, contact a professional for advice.

Baby birds require specialised care and rehabilitation to survive.

Step 5: Contact a professional

When you contact a wildlife hospital, provide as much information as possible about the bird, including species, age, location, and any observed injuries or behaviours. This information can help determine the best course of action for caring for the bird. It's important NOT to attempt to care for a baby bird yourself - this can do more harm than good, as birds require specialised care and feeding. Wildlife charities like Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital provide expert care, treatment and rehabilitation to ensure a successful release.

Step 6: Care and rehabilitation

Once the bird is in the care of a wildlife professional like Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, trained carers will provide the baby with the necessary care and rehabilitation. This may include feeding, medical treatment, and enrichment to prepare the bird for release back into the wild.

Swifts are in trouble. The UK breeding population decreased by an estimated 57% between 1995 and 2017.

Step 7: Release

Once the bird has been cared for and rehabilitated, it's time to release them back into the wild. The release process is carefully managed to ensure the bird has the best chance of survival. The release process may involve a period of acclimatisation, during which the bird is placed in a release pen or aviary to adjust to its surroundings. They may be provided food and water during this period to ensure the bird is healthy and strong enough for release.

When the time comes for release, the bird will be taken to a suitable location and released into the wild. This location will be carefully chosen to ensure the bird has access to suitable food and shelter, and is away from potential dangers like busy roads or areas with heavy human activity. The release process is a delicate and carefully managed procedure to ensure the bird has the best chance of success.

By Asha Park


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