Found a Helpless Baby Bird? Mass Audubon Recommends These Steps
The sound of a songbird in the morning is one of the more enjoyable signs of Spring as opposed to the mountain of pollen that has seemingly coated the SouthCoast.
As migrant birds return from their winter hideaways and baby birds hatch from high in the trees, it’s common this time of year to find rogue birds that are seemingly left behind or have fallen from their nest.
While the immediate urge is to rescue the helpless bird, it may bring more harm than good.
According to Mass Audubon, here’s the correct path of action when finding a baby bird out of the nest.
You Found a Baby Bird Out of the Nest. Now What?
“Many birds that people try to rescue are still being cared for by their parents (even if you can’t see them) and should be left alone,” said Mass Audobon.
There are, however, instances when a licensed wildlife rehabilitator is required, but in order to determine if help is needed, follow these steps.
Assess for Injury
Baby birds tend to look helpless, with their tiny feathers and wide eyes, but if you see blood or obvious damage, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
“You should also call a rehabilitator if you know a cat attacked a bird (because) felines transmit deadly bacterial infections with even mild scratches,” said Mass Audubon.
The age of the bird will tell you a lot about whether or not it needs help. A hatchling is only a few days old and hasn’t opened its eyes yet. That little baby needs help. A nestling is around two weeks old with its eyes open, but its feathers will look like tubes because they have not broken through their protective sheaths. This little one also needs help.
A Fledlging is 14 days old or older, fully feathered, and can walk, hop, or flutter. This little one was ready to leave the next, though its parents may still be close by, taking care of it.
Don’t Raise Baby Birds Yourself
It’s tempting when you find a helpless hatchling to scoop it up and take it home to be nurtured, but in the state of Massachusetts, that’s actually illegal, according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other Massachusetts state laws.
Leave it to the professionals. The little bird will thank you.
Still not sure what to do? Refer to this map to make an educated guess.
Keep our nature and wildlife safe this spring.