What do I do if a baby bird falls out of the nest?

Answered by Robert Flynn

If you come across a baby bird that has fallen out of its nest, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure its well-being. It’s important to note that there are two types of baby birds: nestlings and fledglings. Nestlings are very young, typically featherless or with only a few feathers, and are not yet able to fly. Fledglings, on the other hand, are older and have more feathers, and are able to hop or fly short distances.

If you can locate the nest nearby, the best thing to do is simply place the nestling back in the nest. Birds have a poor sense of smell, so handling the nestling will not deter the parents from returning to care for it. Be gentle when handling the bird, and try to mimic the natural way the bird would be situated in the nest. Once the nestling is back in the nest, monitor from a distance to ensure that the parents return to care for it.

However, if you cannot locate the nest or it is inaccessible, you have a couple of options. First, you can leave the nestling where you found it. This is because the parents may still be caring for it despite it being outside the nest. They may be nearby, gathering food or keeping a watchful eye on their offspring. Leaving the nestling undisturbed gives it the best chance of being reunited with its parents.

If you are concerned about the nestling’s safety or it is in a dangerous location, you can gently move it to a nearby shaded area. This should be a spot where it is protected from direct sunlight and potential predators. Again, the parents will likely continue to care for the nestling even if it has been moved. It’s important to remember that baby birds have a better chance of survival when raised by their parents, as they provide the necessary nutrition and protection.

It’s crucial to resist the temptation to take the baby bird home and try to care for it yourself. While your intentions may be good, raising a wild bird requires specialized knowledge, experience, and permits in many cases. Additionally, wild birds have specific dietary needs that can be difficult to replicate in a home environment.

If you are unsure about what to do, you can contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or bird rescue organization for guidance. They have the expertise and resources to provide appropriate care for injured or orphaned birds. They may be able to advise you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances.

If you find a baby bird that has fallen out of its nest, try to locate the nest and place the nestling back inside if possible. If the nest cannot be found or accessed, leave the nestling where you found it or move it to a shaded area nearby. Avoid taking the bird home and attempting to care for it yourself, as wild birds require specialized care. If in doubt, reach out to a local wildlife rehabilitation center for guidance.