Friday, April 24, 2015

Ooh! Baby, Baby

Here at the World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital we receive many calls regarding young birds that seem to have fallen from the nest.
A baby Great Horned Owl (photo: Sherry Seavers) 
If you find a baby bird the best thing to do is leave it alone.  The parents will find it and continue to take care of the baby, wherever it is.  If the bird is in immediate danger of being attacked by a cat or dog, whenever possible, remove the cat or dog from the area until the bird is able to fly (1-2 weeks).  Put the bird in a nearby bush, shrub or on a tree limb out of harm’s way. 

Most birds have a poor sense of smell and the parents will not abandon a baby bird touched by humans.  If you happen to find a baby with little or no feathers and you know where the nest is, go ahead and return the youngster to its nest.

If the nest is destroyed, cannot be found, or cannot be reached safely, make a substitute nest using a small basket or margarine tub. Punch holes in the bottom and line the container with paper towel – not with grass, as moisture in the grass can cause birds to become too cold. Secure the new “nest” with duct tape in a branch fork near the old nest.

If you are certain the bird is an orphan, prepare to transport the bird to a rehabilitation facility.  Carefully place the baby bird in a small open container lined with paper towels and place both in a cardboard box.  Do not attempt to feed or give water to an orphaned bird.  A bird’s diet is very particular and they have a feeding schedule that must be followed if they are to survive.

If you are tempted to keep the baby bird---don’t!  Migratory birds, including songbirds, are protected under federal law.  Possession of a bird, its nest or its eggs without a permit is illegal.

Submitted by Joe Hoffman, World Bird Sanctuary Rehabilitation Hospital Manager

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