What to Do When You Find a Baby Bird

baby bird-All PetsThere are many species of birds such as robins, scrub jays, crows and owls that leave the nest and spend as many as 2-5 days on the ground before they can fly. This is a normal and vital part of the young birds’ development. The birds are cared for and protected by their parents while they are on the ground, and are also taught vital life skills such as finding food, identifying predators and flying.

Bringing these birds into captivity denies them the opportunity to learn the necessary skills they will need to service in the wild. Unless a bird is injured, it is crucial to leave them outside to learn from their parents.

Nestlings on the Ground

If you are worried that a bird may have fallen from its nest too early, you can try and return the bird to its nest. If the nest has either been destroyed or is unreachable, you may substitute a strawberry basket or small box lined with tissue and suspend it from a branch near to where you believe its nest is located.

Because birds have a poor sense of smell and very strong parental instincts, they will generally continue caring for their young. Adult birds, however, are cautious after any type of disturbance and it may take several hours before they approach the nestling. It is crucial that humans do not approach the nestling during this time.

Fledglings on the Ground

Typically, fledglings are fully feathered with a short tail and wings. They are able to walk, hop and flap, and they may even attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by the parents.

A fledgling should be left alone or at the most placed in a nearby shrub if found. Keep pets and people away so the parents will continue to care for it until it can fly.

Placing fledglings back into nests is usually only a short-term solution, as they will quickly re-emerge. It is also ineffective to move fledglings to entirely new locations, as they are still dependent on their parents for survival and will quickly starve.

Common Bird Species in Bryan/College Station

Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret is most likely associated with livestock, since it feeds on insects stirred up by grazing. It produces a call that resembles “rick rack”.

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is the largest, most widespread heron in North America. Its call is a deep, hoarse croak, almost frog-like.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a large, conspicuous hawk. It may not always display its large orange-red tail. This species will hover on strong wind (kiting) while foraging.

Crested Caracara

The Crested Caracara is found in the open savannah or desert. It feeds on carrion and is often misidentified as a Bald Eagle.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a strikingly colored black-and-white bird with an all-red head. It has a solid white patch on its rump and base of the winks. This species will fly out to catch insects in the air, and will also store food.

Western Scrub-Jay

The Western Scrub-Jay is a blue back bird with a gray patch across its shoulders. It has a pale gray streaking on its breast. This species is usually found in dense brushy areas and has a harsh, scratchy call.

American Crow

The American Crow is a large, overall black bird with a short tail and moderately heavy bill. It is often found in groups foraging on the ground.

Orange-Crowned Warbler

The Orange-Crowned Warbler is closely associated with shrubs and trees. Its song is a fast trill changing in pitch, while the call is a sharp “chip”. This species is a rapid moving bird that flits among the tips of tree branches gleaning insects.

White-Throated Sparrow

The White-Throated Sparrow is usually found in areas densely covered along woodlots, fencerows, swamps, weedy fields, etc.

Northern Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal is often found in brushy habitats in open areas. Its call is a sharp “chip”.


All Pets Medical Center is specifically tailored to provide birds with the highest quality healthcare available. We provide a holistic approach to bird healthcare and avian medicine, and we address each of the bird’s individual needs. For more information or if you believe a bird may be injured, don’t hesitate to contact us here at All Pets Medical Veterinary Hospital with the link below!

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