Thank you to the Ruth Melichar Bird Center/Animals in Distress for the guidelines.
If you see a baby bird on the ground, your first instinct is probably to scoop it up and rescue it, but not all baby birds need rescuing! The Ruth Melichar Bird Center has made a little cheat sheet for what to do if you’ve found a baby bird on the ground. If you have found a baby bird that need assistance, here’s some tips:
CHECK THE SURROUNDINGS FOR PARENTS.
In nature, young birds sometimes become separated from their parents and need help. If you have determined after watching for a long period of time that the bird is in fact orphaned or otherwise ill, injured or cold, intervention is necessary. In many cases, however, when baby birds appear to be orphaned they actually have parents in the vicinity that are caring for them. A very large percentage of young birds are picked up by humans unnecessarily.
LOOK FOR EXISTING NEST.
If you see a baby bird in the spring/summer season that is clearly helpless and featherless or partially feathered this is a hatchling or a nestling bird. If the nest can be located please put the bird back into the nest. The parents will take over from there. Please watch for a period of time to make sure you see the parents go back to the nest. If you’ve touched the bird, this will not deter the parent bird from tending to their young.
CREATE A MAKESHIFT NEST.
If you cannot locate the original nest you can make a make shift nest. Use a plastic berry box, basket or a planter with drain holes. Use non absorbent material for the bedding. (Imagine a birds nest in the wild.) Do not use grass or anything the birds can get tangled up in. Secure the nest in the shady part of the original tree, a tree nearby or a shrub close to where you found the bird.
Please call the Ruth Melichar Bird Center: 208-338-0897 if you have any questions on how to best help a baby bird you’ve found.
Special note about ducklings. They can be single or group orphans. Contact the center for guidance.