We’re deep into spring, which means that baby birds are hatching all around the city! If you happen to stumble upon a grounded baby bird, don’t fret; you can easily help it.
First, identify whether or not the baby bird is injured:
- Does it have open wounds?
- Is it bleeding?
- Is it unable to use a leg or a wing?
- Was it in another animal’s mouth?
- Is it cold, wet, or covered in fly eggs (which look like small grains of rice)?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, the bird needs immediate attention. Call us at (202) 882-1000.
If the bird is not injured, the next thing you need to do is identify its age.
If the baby bird is fully feathered (i.e., no skin showing and the tail feathers have begun to grow), but unable to fly, then it is a fledgling. Fledglings are birds who have left the nest, but are still learning how to fly. They spend most of their time on the ground. During this time, their parents continue to feed and protect them. The fledgling stage can last as long as fourteen days. It is best to leave fledgling birds alone. If the fledgling is in a dangerous location, you can move it a few yards, so that it is no longer in danger, but still able to be found by the parents.
If the baby bird has few or no feathers, it is a nestling and should be put back in the nest. If you can reach the nest, simply place the bird back. If the nest is too high for you to reach, put the bird in a box or basket further down on the tree. To keep the baby warm, place uncooked rice in a sock, heat it up in the microwave for twenty seconds, wrap it in a towel, and then place it next to the baby. Observe the baby from a distance. If the parents do not return after an hour, call us at (202) 882-1000.