Backyard Birds

What to Do if You Find a Baby Bird: A Backyard Birds Guide

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the heartwarming sight (and sound!) of baby birds! But what if you stumble upon a lone chick on the ground? Fear not, fellow bird enthusiast, Backyard Birds is here to help!

First things first, stay calm! Finding a baby bird can be surprising, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs rescuing.

There are two main types of baby birds you might encounter:

Nestlings: These little ones have few or no feathers and are unable to leave the nest.

Fledglings: These chicks are more developed, with feathers and the ability to hop or flutter short distances. They may have recently left the nest, but their parents are still caring for them.

Here’s how to handle each situation:

Found a Nestling:

Check for the Nest: Look for a nest nearby, particularly in trees, shrubs, or even hanging baskets. If you find it, gently place the chick back in. Parent birds are not deterred by human scent, so don’t worry about touching the chick.

Nest Destroyed? If the nest is destroyed, creating a makeshift nest using a small basket lined with soft cloth is an option. However, this should be a last resort. It’s best to call a wildlife rehabilitator (more on that below).


Found a Fledgling:

Leave it Alone! Fledglings are usually learning to fly under their parents’ watchful eyes. The best course of action is to leave the chick where you found it and keep an eye out for the parents. They’ll likely be nearby, chirping instructions and bringing food.


When to Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator:

If the bird is injured or appears sick (lethargy, drooping wings, difficulty breathing).

If you can’t find the nest and the chick is a nestling.

If you believe both parents are dead.


Backyard Birds to the Rescue!

While we can’t offer wildlife rehabilitation services ourselves, we can help you find a qualified professional in your area. Just give us a call or visit our website, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Remember, even with the best intentions, sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a baby bird is leave it alone and let nature take its course. But with a little knowledge and the resources at Backyard Birds, you can be a champion for baby birds all season long!

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