Bird Watcher's General Store

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Fallen Baby Birds

Dear Bird Folks,

Once in a while my kids find baby birds that have fallen out of their nest. The kids want to take them home and feed them. I’ve always thought that we should just leave them alone. What’s the best thing to do?
– Trying to Help, Worcester


Hello Trying to Help,

That’s a very good question, especially for someone from Worcester. I was just talking about this with Wild Care’s Karen Von Den Deale. Not only is she the hardest working woman on the planet, but she is wicked smart too.

Many baby birds leave the nest before they can fly and spend a day or two on the ground while the parents continue to feed them. Instead of scooping up the bird, just watch it for an hour or two and I think that you’ll find the parents are still around.

Real young birds with few feathers need to be picked up and returned to the nest. If you can’t find the nest, make one out of a small basket and place it in the closest tree. Again, you need to step back and watch to see if the parents return to care for the baby bird. In all cases, if after two hours you see no signs of the parent birds, then you should take the next step. Capture the baby bird, keep it quiet in a darkened box (without food, water or magazines) and then call for help. The place to call around here is Wild Care in Brewster, 896-5273. These folks are the best and know just what to do. The important thing to remember is that the baby bird’s parents will do the best job of caring for it. So unless there are other dangers around, like dogs or the “C” word, step back and watch for the parent birds to do their job. You could also try filling your mouth up with worms and feed the bird yourself, but I think it’s easier to call Wild Care.