Helping a Baby Bird 

Many baby birds are found by people and taken in to be cared for. People believe the baby bird is rejected by its parents, lost, or can not get back into the nest. The fatality rate of baby birds that are taken in by kind-hearted individuals is very very high. 

Many people ask if a baby bird will be rejected if a person handles the baby and the bird parents smell the human. This is just an "old wives'" tale. Baby birds are NOT rejected by their parents if a person handles them. In fact, most birds have a very poor sense of smell. 

Many fledglings are scruffy looking and look like they are unable to be on their own. They may leave the nest, scurry on the ground, etc., looking like a lost baby bird. The parents care of these fledglings and keep track where they are until the fledglings can live on their own. So the baby bird you see may be a fledgling that is being taken care of by its parents still. 

If the baby is NOT fully feathered and has fallen from its nest, the very best thing is to put the baby back into the nest. Remember, depending on the age and species, a baby bird may need to eat every 20 minutes during daylight hours. The parents can take care of it so much better than you can, no matter how hard you try. 

If the nest has blown out of a tree, you can nail or wire it back into the tree. If you can not find the nest but know the general area the nest was located, you can take an empty margarine tub or something similar, put some dry grass or a bit of material in it, nail the new "nest" to the tree, and put the baby or eggs back into it. Then leave the baby and nest alone so the parents will come back and take care of it. 

DO NOT put the baby or eggs into a new birdhouse and hang it up. If the parents built the original nest in a tree or shrubs, they are not cavity-dwellers and will never find the baby in a birdhouse.

back to birds