Baby Bird Rescue Guide - What to Do If you Find a Baby Bird

What to Do if you Find a Baby Bird

  • If the young bird is hopping and running away from you, LEAVE IT BE! His parents will find him. They are probably nearby already. If he is in immediate danger of becoming lunch for a cat or dog (ie., you see the cat or dog watching or chasing it) then scoop him up and put him in a nearby bush or shrub out of harm's way. Since most birds have no significant sense of smell, moving a baby bird to safety or returning it to it's nest will not cause it's parents to abandon it,
  • If you find a baby bird with little or no feathers and you know where the nest is, then return the bird to it's nest.
  • If the nest has been destroyed, you can construct a makeshift nest using a small basket or plastic container. Line the container with material from the old nest (if available) or dry grass or leaves. Wire your nest to a branch about 5 or 6 feet off the ground (out of reach of children or predators) or place it securely in a branch fork near the old nest (if it's still there). Put little holes in the bottom of the container for proper drainage or rainwater will collect and drown the birds.
  • If the baby/fledgling is cold to the touch, take him inside to warm him before placing him back in the nest. Nestle the baby bird in a warm towel which has been heated (by itself) for about 2 minutes in a microwave. Or fill a latex glove with hot water and tie a knot in the end of it. Place a thin towel between the bird and the water filled glove. Put the bird in a dark warm place (you can use a heating pad under it if you keep the setting on LOW) where it is QUIET and away from children or pets.
  • Do NOT attempt to feed food or water to the baby birds. It is too easy to get it in their lungs if you are not trained in the technique of feeding.
  • If you can not find the nest or the bird appears to be sick, injured or need nutrition OR if if pet dog or cat has brought you the baby in it's mouth with the bird still alive, then call your nearest wildlife or wild bird rehabber. If you live in the Nashville Tennessee area, you can call Harmony Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at 615-799-8712 or you can call Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at 615-299-9938.
  • If you get an answering machine at any of these places, leave your name, number and a SHORT description of the bird and it's problem. Someone will call you back. These organizations are run by a small number of volunteers and they don't have time to man the phones AND care for their birds. They will call you back in a reasonable amount of time. Just keep the bird contained and in a quiet place until someone contacts you.

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Last updated 8-07-03