Ways & How

How to Feed a Baby Bird That Fell Out of the Nest

How to Feed a Baby Bird That Fell Out of the Nest

Each spring, many baby birds find themselves blown out of their nest by rough weather or as a result of a failed predator attack. When we see a poor baby bird looking abandoned and defenseless on the ground, it’s hard just leave it alone. According to wildlife experts however, that’s exactly what you should do in most cases. Unless the baby bird is in clear danger or you are knowledgeable in the care of the particular species you are rescuing, trying to help often ends up just making thing worse for the baby bird.

All too often, a “fallen” baby bird is not really in need of help from human rescuers. Or sometimes, they are in need of rescuing, but they end up being harmed by rescuers who are ignorant in the care of wildlife. If you are ever in a position to be a Good Samaritan to these wild feathered creatures, would you know how to feed a baby bird that fell out of the nest? Read our guide to find out what to do and what to avoid.

  1. When you see a baby bird out of its nest, don’t pick it up right away. Observe the bird from a distance to see if it is a nestling or a fledgling.

    lings are featherless baby birds that need the security and warmth of a nest. They cannot move well yet, and these are the baby birds that need some help from you. On the other hand, fledglings are baby birds that are old enough to be out of the nest. They usually spend some time hopping around on the ground, foraging and learning how to fly. Unless the fledgling is injured or showing signs of obvious distress, leave it alone. It is perfectly fine as it is. Besides, the mother bird is probably nearby, monitoring her baby. Get in the way and a protective momma bird could suddenly rush out of hiding to dive bomb you.

  2. If the baby bird is a nestling, try to locate the nest where it came from. If the nest is still intact in the tree, simply put the baby bird back in it. If the fallen nest has also fallen to the ground, then you’ll have to reconstruct a nest of some sort. Collect as much nest material from the ground as possible and put it in a margarine tub. If you cannot find a nest, intact or otherwise, then line the plastic tub with some clean paper towels or cut-up old towels. Nail the makeshift nest high up in a tree where it will be safe from predators on the ground, and put the baby bird inside it. Watch the baby bird for a few hours to see if the mother bird comes back for her baby. Remember to stay some distance away as the mother bird will not return if you are nearby.

  3. If the day passes without the mother bird returning, then the baby bird has likely been orphaned or abandoned. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian to identify the species of the bird so you can receive guidance on what and how much to feed it. Some baby birds eat worms, while some eat seeds. Feeding your rescued nestling the wrong kind of food can be fatal.

Once you’ve received professional guidance on how to feed a baby bird that fell out of the nest, you should continue providing it food and shelter until it reaches the fledgling stage. When that time comes, you can try releasing it in the wild or turning it over to your local wildlife organization. Don’t be tempted to keep it as a pet. Not only are wild birds not suited to a life in captivity, but it is also illegal to raise wildlife without a license.


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