I Found a Baby Bird...
Here is what to do
|Northern Cardinal at Nest |
The very best thing to do when you find a baby bird on the ground is to do nothing. Leave it alone. The parents are probably nearby and are feeding it.
Quite often young birds will leave the nest before they can fly. This is normal. These birds often end up on the ground. The baby bird can still move around and it can let its parents know where it is.
In fact, many birds are capable of walking and staying close to their mother almost from the moment they hatch. These species are called "precocial." They hatch with their eyes open and are down-covered. Quail, grouse, ducks, gulls, terns and shorebirds are precocial.
The opposite of precocial is altricial. These birds hatch in a helpless condition and depend on their parents. Robins, cardinals, bluebirds and most songbirds are altricial. These are the birds we usually discover on the ground.
If it is extremely obvious that a bird has fallen from a nest and is far too young to survive, you may place it back into the nest. If the nest blew down, place what is left of the nest and the babies in a small basket and hang it near the original nest. The parents may return to feed the young.
Handling a baby bird will not cause the parents to abandon it. Almost all birds have a very poor sense of smell. But raccoons, foxes and other predators have a very good sense of smell. You may be leaving a trail directly to the nest for these hungry animals.
We know you want to take the baby birds inside, put them in a warm box, feed them milk and bread with an eye-dropper and watch them grow up. Mother nature and the U.S. Government don't want you to do this. It is illegal (really!) Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are authorized to handle wild birds.
If an entire nest blows down, you could try to put it back where it was. Beyond that, let nature take its course. You might also want to read about the life expectancy of birds.
Most songbirds will lay an egg a day. They sit on their eggs for 12-14 days. The baby birds are able to leave the nest about 14 days later and can fly a few days after that.