WHAT DO TO if you find a baby bird

Blue tit on icy branches
Juvenile Blue Tit

Songbirds will be nesting throughout spring and summer and if you come across a baby bird, out of the nest and seeming to be alone, your instinct can be to want to help.

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What steps you should take depend upon how developed the bird is and if it is a nestling or fledgling.

Observing the bird is the priority as a first step.

In many cases the bird will be fine without intervention. For many fledglings, its parent will likely be nearby and encouraging it to become independent. But, nestlings and injured birds may benefit from your support to protect them. 

Follow the steps in our flow chart to decide on the best course of action.

Do’s and Don’ts to protect baby birds

Keep any intervention to a minimum by following our step by step guide

Keep surrounding areas free of potential predators, particularly cats - keep your cat indoors where possible during this vulnerable season for baby birds

If you do need to handle a bird, wear gloves and maintain minimum contact to minimise stress for the bird

Don’t try to feed and look after baby birds yourself – this needs specialist experience of a wildlife rehabilitator

Learn to spot the difference between a nestling and a fledgling so you are ready to take the best course of action.

What does a nestling look like?

Blackbird nestlings

A nestling will be small.
Very young birds may not have their eyes open and the will have few feathers or be bald.
They cannot fly.

What does a fledging look like?

Blackbird fledgling

Fledglings may be similar in appearance to an adult bird but may be just slightly smaller and their tail and wing feathers may be shorter.  
They can fly, even if just for short distances.  
For a few days after leaving the nest, their parents will still feed them.

We would love to hear your stories of how you have rescued a baby songbird!
email us on: dawn-chorus@songbird-survival.org.uk

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