What to do if you find a fledgling on the ground
Spring is here and so begins the joy of young birds leaving the nest to learn how to fly. We’re not being anecdotal. This is actually happening. At this time of year, young birds are learning to fly and unfortunately, they don’t always get it right the first time.
If you find a baby bird, please observe it before responding to see if they are sick or injured. It is in the fledgling’s best interest to stay with their parents. Their parents teach them survival skills such as how to fly, what to eat and how to avoid predators. It’s important you don’t “rescue” them unless they are injured or in danger.
What do I do if a baby bird isn’t injured but I can’t leave it where it is?
The most ideal situation is to return the bird to its nest. The belief that handling a baby bird will result in their parents abandoning them is not correct. Baby birds will start calling for their parents so it is important to keep them local. Once the parents feel the danger (you) has left, they will reunite with their little one.
If you can’t reach or find the bird’s nest, it’s time to make a temporary one. Use a bucket or ice-cream container (something approximately 40-50cm deep) with holes in the bottom for drainage.
Put a layer of soft leaves of grass in it. Place a stick (approximately 60cm) in the bucket so the parents and baby bird can get in and out. If you suspect the bird is tree dwelling hang the makeshift nest in a nearby tree. If the bird is ground dwelling, place it closer to the ground where the parents can reach it. Ensure the temporary nest is out of direct sunlight and as close as possible to where you found the feathered baby.
What do I do if a baby bird is injured?
If the baby bird is sick or injured, please keep it warm and transport it to your veterinarian. It is best to keep the bird in a box or bucket with a towel covering the opening. Avoid a lot of noise during transport as the journey will be frightening enough.
Make note of the exact location where you found the little one as it is vital they are returned as quickly as possible. Veterinarians will provide treatment and a wildlife carer will make sure the baby bird is released where they were found so they can reunite with their family.
Perth Vet Emergency is available if your veterinarian is closed.