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Have you ever come across a baby bird in the wild? It can be heartbreaking to find a tiny bird that has been separated from its mother. All kinds of questions run through your head. Should you return the bird to its nest? Should you try to find the mother? Should you touch the bird at all?
Some people think that they should bring a baby bird to a shelter or animal rescue organization. Even if you think you’re being helpful, this could constitute kidnapping in the bird world. Learning how to distinguish between a situation that requires your assistance and one that can be left alone is crucial. Birds don’t always need humans to intervene when they seem to have been separated from their parents.
How Old Is the Bird?
According to Mercola Healthy Pets, you need to determine whether a baby bird is a nestling or a fledgling before deciding what to do with it. Nestlings don’t have feathers. Their pink skin is delicate, and they need the protection of the nest. Fledglings are young birds that can’t fly well yet but have outgrown the nest.
A fledgling may hop around on the ground looking lost. It might even appear to be injured as it flaps its wings without taking off the ground. That doesn’t mean that it needs help. Its parents are usually close by. If you approach a fledgling, its parents may or may not make themselves known. Sometimes, the adult birds don’t react when you get close to their baby.
The best thing to do if you find a fledgling is to leave it alone. Its parents are probably nearby even if you can’t find them. They will continue to check in on the bird as it practices its foraging and flying skills. If you remove the baby bird from its surroundings, it may not develop properly. Keep children and other animals away from the bird until it gains the strength to fly away.
Is It an Emergency?
Winds and storms can knock nests out of trees or nestlings out of their home. If you find a nestling on the ground and can locate the nest, simply place the bird back where it belongs. If the nest is missing, create a makeshift one for the animal. Cut holes for drainage in a small plastic container, and fill it with material from the bird’s fallen home. If you can’t find the original nesting material, place clean towels or paper cloth in the container. Avoid using terry cloth. Best Friends explains that birds could catch their beaks in the loops. Put the container in the tree that’s closest to the location in which you found the bird.
In many cases, the mother will return to her infant. Monitor the homemade nest for signs that the mother has returned. She won’t abandon her baby if it smells like humans; that’s just a myth. However, if the mother doesn’t come back within an hour or so, you’ll need to take a few more steps.
Move the bird to a shoebox lined with clean towels. You can also transfer the makeshift nest directly into the shoebox. Contact a local veterinarian, humane society or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. These people have been specially trained and have the equipment to foster wild baby birds. Do the same thing if you find an injured fledgling or adult bird.
Should You Keep the Bird as A Pet?
In some cases, natural selection causes young birds to fall from the nest. They may not be strong enough to grow up and survive on their own anyway. You may be tempted to save the bird from its terrible fate by adopting it. However, it’s illegal to raise most species of wild birds if you’re not licensed to do so.
Wild bird care can be challenging. First of all, you’ll need to know what kind of bird it is before feeding it. Some birds are carnivores. Others eat seeds. For those birds, eating a worm could be deadly. Identifying a baby bird can be hard. Nestlings don’t have feathers yet, and fledglings don’t always look like their parents. Incorrectly labeling the bird could be disastrous if you feed it the wrong thing.
Also, young b irds have a fast metabolism. They need to be fed often. You need a lot of time and patience to raise orphaned baby birds. If you do decide to care for a baby bird, make sure that you have the right food and equipment.
When the bird is very young, you can make a container out of a plastic or cardboard box lined with cloth or unscented paper towels. Once the bird is strong enough to hop out, its home will need a top. Figuring this out ahead of time can prevent the animal from jumping out when you’re not expecting it and getting lost in your house. Surrounding an airy box with vinyl mesh is an ideal way to contain a baby bird.
Avoid using containers with larger openings. Baby birds can escape from a hole the size of a coin. Don’t use thread or yarn in the nest. It could become tangled around the bird. Clean the bedding frequently so that it doesn’t create a mold problem.
One of the most important factors to consider is whether you can keep the bird in a low-stress environment. It’s tough to tell when a bird is frightened. She may stay completely still, but her heart races, leading to health problems. Some things that can stress out a baby bird are a noisy environment, handling the bird too much or incorrectly, improper feeding schedules, maintaining an inappropriate temperature, or overcrowding.
Making A Sound Decision
Unless you’re experienced in handling and raising wildlife, you might be better off handing a wild feathered friend over to a certified rehabilitator. If you find a bird in the wild and are certain that it’s orphaned, get qualified assistance. However, raising a bird can be a rewarding experience. If you do want to keep a bird as a pet, consider adopting or purchasing one from a qualified organization. The bird will be an appropriate age to leave its parents, and you’ll be better prepared to give it the loving care that it needs.