Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Most of us have been faced with this awful choice: What should we do when we find a baby bird on the ground?

Has it fallen out? Been pushed out by the wind? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If the little bird has no feathers or only a few and appears unable to stand or hop, try to return it to its nest. The parents will likely continue to care for it. Look around the bushes and trees for its nest. If you can't find it, you can affix a small basket to a limb and put the baby in the basket. Leaves and pine straw might make comfortable lining. Try to put this makeshift nest where it receives some shelter from sun and rain. In all cases, please make sure the baby is warm. You can warm it in your hands. The parents might push a cold baby back out of the nest. Bird parents DO NOT abandon a baby that has been handled by a human.

If the baby is feathered and standing and hopping around, but unable to fly, leave it alone and try to keep pets and predators away from it. This baby is probably a fledgling and should be on the ground. Returning it to its nest will cause it to have to make another flightless landing and it could be injured. The parents are probably near by and caring for the baby as it learns to fly. An expert on a Georgia birders' chat line noted that song birds learn to fly from the ground up and not from the tree down. They may remain on the ground for a few days before they can fly on their own. I have seen a father cardinal feeding his son, even when the "baby" was as big as the father, and able to fly. If you take away the baby, it leaves the parents frantically searching for it and the baby is much less likely to live, even with good care.

PLEASE check your boats, RVs, campers, etc., looking under covers and tarps for hidden bird nests. We have had nests of baby birds brought to us from vacation spots where they were discovered after many miles of travel. Imagine the wind, rain, etc. these little ones endured (if they DID endure) and the bewildered parents back at home looking for their nests! It is difficult, at best, to get any of these little guys to survive such an ordeal.

Right now we are also seeing baby squirrels and bunnies. Please leave these babies for their parents to tend also; unless they are naked and helpless (eyes not open yet, etc.) DO keep your pets and other animals away from them, if possible. Moving them to a brushy area near where you found them might help. Even if they are very young, try to observe them for a while, maybe you will see a parent looking for them if you keep your distance and are quiet.
Does leave baby fawns alone for hours. They aren't abandoned. The fawns have almost no scent and stay where their mothers leave them until she comes back. This way they are safest from predators. Please observe from a distance and, again, try to keep other animals away. If you see the mother has been killed, however, or you need information for dealing with any orphaned wildlife, please visit this website: Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort at If you live in other areas, please check under wild animal rescue, orphaned wildlife, etc. on the internet for help.

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