Note: WRCNEF does not work with birds. If you have any questions or concerns, contact BEAKS at (904) 251-2473.
The advice on this website is meant to be information that you can use at your own discretion. Please call us if you still have questions or have any other concerns. View the full disclaimer.
Before you make any decision to intervene, the most important thing to do is to patiently observe the young bird in its surroundings to decide if the baby actually needs help. Was there a storm with high winds? Could it have fallen from the nest? If the baby bird is fully feathered and hopping around, it has probably reached that age when it is practicing its flying and foraging skills. The parents are still protecting and feeding them at this stage, which only lasts 2-3 days. Confining any cats, dogs, and children and placing the baby bird in a safer area if necessary (up on some branches), is the best way you can help. Wildlife’s natural parents are always better at caring for them than human foster parents. Quite simply, a wild animal’s chance of survival is greatly increased when left in its natural environment.
If the baby bird has no feathers or can not stand or perch it must be returned to the nest. Human scent does NOT cause abandonment as the old wives’ tale says. Abandonment occurs when the parent bird loses visual contact with the baby for a period of time (which is different for some species.) This will happen if you are standing in the area, keeping the parents from their job, so do what you need to as quickly as possible. If you cannot locate the nest or it has been destroyed, simply create a substitute. Use a plastic berry box or a planter with drain holes. Cushion the bottom with natural non-absorbent material such as pine straw. Next, anchor it securely to the shady side of a tree or in shrubs close to where you discovered the baby. Parent birds have a strong urge to feed and will locate and tend their young if given a chance. Gently place the baby bird in the new nest and observe it from a good distance, checking periodically to make sure the parents return. If the nest is in an awkward place and must be moved, move it a few feet each day to a safer position.
Is it injured or truly abandoned?
If so, contact BEAKS at (904) 251-2473