When Does A Baby Bird Need Help?
Baby Bird Season is one of the busiest times for wildlife & bird rescues. The sad thing is that sometimes we get young birds in that could have been left – they were fledging and their parents would have been watching them as they learned to use their wings.
So – when is it okay to pick up a baby bird? Well, we use the feather test. For instance, a newly hatched songbird will be pink and have very few (if any) feathers. These will have either fallen out of the nest, been thrown out of the nest or stolen by a predator and dropped. These babies need picking up, keeping warm and getting to a rescue as soon as possible. Baby pigeons / doves tend to be covered with a yellow fuzz when they are born and are often mistaken for ducklings with their large beaks. These also need to be brought to a rescue.
What do I do if I find a baby bird and need to pick it up?
- Ring a rescue and arrange to take the bird to them as soon as possible.
- Keep the bird nice and warm – either use a hot water bottle or even your own body heat. If the bird open mouth breathes then you might have it too hot!
- Get some advice from the rescue on whether or not you need to feed the baby bird – this will depend on how long it will take to get to the rescue.
- If you can see the nest then in some circumstances you can pop it back. You need to be 100% sure you have the right nest though – and always go back later to check the ground. Sometimes the mum bird will throw a weaker chick out and may well toss it back out when you are gone.
If the bird is pretty much fully-feathered then there is a good chance it is fledging. If you find it in a gutter or on the road then you do need to move it to safety – so carry it to a nearby garden or safe place. The bird will call to its parents so don’t worry about them not finding it.
If you are in any doubt about what to do then please whatsapp or text a photo of the bird to 07899 031 447 for further advice.
What To Do If I Find An Injured or Ill Bird?
If you find an injured or ill bird the most important thing to do is get it help as soon as possible. It will be hard for a rehabber to really advise on the next steps unless they have seen the bird themselves. For example, a bird suffering from a head injury should not be put on heat.
If you find a seriously injured bird and you are unable to get through to a rescue then you need to take to your nearest vet. Please tell the vet that you have contacted a rescue who is willing to deal with the rehabilitation and treatment of the bird, but that you are unable to get through to them. Some vets will euthanise injured or ill birds – so you need to check their policies before leaving the bird in their care.
We are a very small rescue so we really appreciate when people are able to bring the bird directly to us rather than await a collection. It cuts down on treatment time for the bird too. We know not everyone can drive, or is in a position to drop off, but if you can then it really does help.
There is a fabulous website called Help Wildlife which contains contact details for a large number of rescues in the UK. If you don’t get an answer from one place and it is an emergency then try as many others as you can. https://helpwildlife.co.uk/
Do You Just Take Birds? What Happens If I Find An Injured Mammal or Amphibian?
Here at Every Feather Wildlife Rescue we will take pretty much any injured wildlife that you find. If it is something beyond or expertise then we will be able to refer you to the right person to help. If you have found a domestic bird then you can still get in touch with us and we will do the best we can to assist. There have been changes to the law in respect of certain non-native species – but please still contact us and we will help you to get in touch with the right place to assist.
What If I Find An Injured Bird of Prey?
Although we will take in raptors overnight – all birds of prey go to one of the Raptor Rescue recommended sites that we work with. We will keep you posted as to where it ends up and provide updates if they are available. We recommend Cast Northwest for the work they do with birds of prey, education and mental health.