Helping Baby Birds
First, it is important to know it is illegal to injure or possess an indigenous bird. There are special facilities such as Raptor Rehab licensed to rehabilitate injured birds, but most veterinarians do not have the resources nor experience to handle injured wild birds.
When birds first leave the nest they are not fully able to fly and spend two or three days on or near the ground. Pet owners need to keep cats and dogs indoors during these sensitive nesting times.
What to do if you find a baby bird out of its nest:
First of all, determine whether or not the bird is injured. If it is not, make sure there are no animals nearby that might harm the bird. If a bird is found on the ground, gently replace it in its nest. It is not true bird parents will not care for a baby once it has been touched by a human.
If the nest is unsafe, place the bird in a small basket and nail the basket to the tree near the original nest, out of direct sunlight. If a basket is unavailable, a small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom to prevent drowning will do. From a distance keep an eye on the baby to see if the parents return. If they do not return in an hour call your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help.
If the basket idea sounds far fetched to you, let me assure you it works. I have witnessed this successfully twice when my husband and later my daughter used a basket to save baby birds.
If the bird is injured
- Do not give the bird any food or water!
- Prepare a small cardboard box by punching holes in the sides and top for ventilation
- Gently place the bird on a towel or soft cloth in the box and place the box in a dry warm spot
- Call your nearest DNR or rehabilitation center
Source: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc.
“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?” David Attenborough