Baby Bird On The Ground
Many baby birds that are found do not need rescuing. Often birds on the ground are in the fledgling or branching stage of development and are being fed by their parents who are nearby. Always assess whether a rescue is really needed.
- Is the bird cold to the touch, or shivering?
- Does the bird have an injury or obvious wounds (e.g. bleeding, wing hanging, leg at odd angle, tangled in something etc.)?
- Is the bird obviously dehydrated (e.g. abdomen/eyes appear sunken-in, sticky tendrils in mouth etc.) ?
- Is the bird lethargic, very inactive, or uninterested in its surroundings?
- Can you handle the bird with little or no response?
- Was it handled by a cat (even if it appears uninjured) or did you find it near a cat?
- Is the bird naked or partially feathered ?
- Are there flies or maggots on the bird?
- Is the bird in imminent danger (e.g. on a road, in a building site etc)?
- Have you attempted to re-nest/reunite the bird but have not seen the parents in over 1 to 2 hours?
If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, take the following steps;
- Place the baby in a softly-lined covered box with ventilation.
- Place the box in a warm, dark quiet indoor location away from all humans and pets.
- Warm the bird up with direct heat. This is very important. Place the bird on, or next to, a covered hot water bottle or wheat bag. (Alternatively, if you have nothing else, even an ordinary plastic bottle filled with warm water will do).
- Do NOT attempt to give the bird food or water, even if it opens it's mouth and calls for food (without knowing the species, age, and condition of the bird, you could cause harm by trying to feed it)
Contact your local wildlife rescue for further advice as soon as possible. Young birds get cold and dehydrate very quickly, so act fast.
Warning: Be careful when attempting to assess the condition of a young owl or crow you have found on the ground. If healthy, it's parents may be nearby and if they view you as a threat to their offspring, they may fly down or fly past you to scare you away. If you are concerned about the condition of a young bird, but are unable to approach due to protective adult birds, please contact a rescue centre for advice.