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Finding baby birds

Last updated: 5/12/16

Finding baby birds

Learn what to do if you see a baby bird on the ground.

If you find a baby bird, you should return it to its parents. You can put the bird back in a nest if you can see and reach it. Make sure the bird isn’t injured before you do. A healthy baby bird should be warm, alert, and active.

If you can't reach the nest, you can make one:

  • Find a plastic bucket that's deep enough to hold the baby.
  • Drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • If the original nest has fallen, put it in the bucket. If not, put twigs and dry leaves in the bucket to act like a nest.
  • Fasten the new nest as close to the old one as possible. It should be at least five feet off the ground.

After putting the baby back in the nest, or making a replacement nest, watch to see if the mother comes back. If she doesn't respond within four hours, a wildlife specialist will have to raise the baby.

Don't give the bird water, milk, or anything else. Just keep it quiet and safe until you can get help. If the baby bird is cold, not moving, or bloody, it needs help. The Animal Rescue League of Boston may be able to help, or you can contact a nearby MSPCA.  

HOW TO IDENTIFY FLEDGLINGS

Fledgling birds are two weeks old and ready to explore the world. Their feathers and tails are about a ½ inch long. You'll probably see them hopping around on the ground since it takes a few days to learn to fly. It takes them about two weeks to learn how to eat on their own or call their parents to be fed.

Leave fledglings alone. We get a lot of calls about “injured” birds that can't fly, but they're usually just fledglings. If it looks healthy, active, and doesn't have an injury, it's a fledgling.

Still have questions? Contact:
Animal Care and Control
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
United States