Well it is officially spring, and that means more time outdoors, more time exploring and more time discovering new things, being around the great outdoors and enjoying what wildlife and nature has to offer, particularly when paired with glamping UK trips.
Chances are that you’ll find some wildlife when you are out and about, but what about if you come across a baby bird that isn’t where it should be? It’s definitely a good idea to know what to do should you need to, after all, the little guy you’ve just come across might have just come into the big wide world from its cosy little egg in the nest, and now it’s not!
We’re sure that you would agree that it is the responsibility of all of us to care and look out for the environment, including the wildlife, and making sure the cute chirps of a bird are singing out are part of that too.
Welfare charities offer a number of steps to take if you do find a chick away from the nest and it’s worth mentioning that sometimes, interfering with a baby bird might not be a good idea. If they are without their parents don’t panic straight away because fledglings are doing exactly what nature intended, and left the nest deliberately a short time before they pick up the ability to fly. Typically, the baby bird will be fine, and you can leave them be, however, if they are in danger here’s what you should do, after all, you never know – it might be a rare or protected bird.
Essential points to consider would be whether the bird is a hatchling, a nestling, or a fledgling. Here’s a handy guide on how you can tell them apart:
- Hatchling: Eyes not open
- Nestling: Eyes open, with a few feathers
- Fledgling: Eyes open, hopping about a bit (awkwardly), has short tail and wings.
You need to look at different scenarios depending on the birds’ development. We’ll get to that shortly.
Is the bird in danger?
If you take a fledgling away from the wild it reduces the chances of long-term survival to a small fraction, and is usually the worst thing you can do. Fledglings need to be left where you find them, in the care of their parents.
In a different scenario, if you come across a bird on a busy path or road, for example, then you should go ahead and move it a little way so that it’s in a safer place. Don’t hide it in rough undergrowth or its parents won’t find it, just within hearing distance of where it was found is fine.
Can I put it back in its nest?
If you find a hatchling or a nestling, that has clearly fallen out of a nest by accident, it can be possible to put it back. You should be aware that you should only do this if you’re certain that the nest you can see is the correct one. The chick needs to be strong and healthy when you look at it too, because sometimes parent birds will sense something’s up with one of their chicks, or that it’s not quite going to make it, and, as sad as it might sound, they will eject it out of the nest in order to focus on rearing the healthy ones.
In the scenario that a healthy chick can’t be returned to its original nest, it will be dependent on you for survival. We’re not saying you need to take it home and keep it for life, but you should pass your feathered-friend on to an expert rehabilitator as quickly as you can so that they can give it the best care possible.
There’s a handy and slightly comical infographic from the website Bird and Moon which you can use as a helpful guide here: www.birdandmoon.com/comic/found-a-baby-bird.