How to Look After a Baby Bird?
When you see a baby bird on the ground remember to help. As we are human, it is in our nature to help those in need. So if you find a baby bird what is the first question that comes to mind? how to look after a baby bird? Your first reaction will be gently holding the little bird and rushing it to safety.
But first, you need to think, is it necessary? The reason for this doubt is due to the fact, that you need to know whether it is a nestling or fledgling? Because most fledgling doesn’t need assistance. It is very important to know the difference between both nestling and fledgling.
Identify the Type of Baby Bird
The first and foremost thing you should identify about the bird is, is it a nestling or a fledgling? How to identify the type of bird? Because both nestlings and fledglings need different types of care. Here are some of the common traits that can help you in identifying them.
If you find a baby bird with few or no feathers at all, then it is a nestling. As it cannot fly, it immediately needs your help. These little baby birds are not supposed to leave their nest, as they cannot fly.
Fledgling is easy to identify as it has hairs with a combination of adult feathers and fuzz. The birds of this stage mostly learn to fly. You can see them perching on low-hanging branches, hopping on the ground, or hiding under the bushes. But as long as you see that they are healthy, just let them be.
If you come across any baby bird, a question that often comes to mind is, can you touch a baby bird? Well, our suggestion to you is, rush the baby bird to safety and try to recognize its species. It is so because it is illegal to keep some endangered species. If it is some normal species you must be confident in taking care of that little baby bird.
Steps to Look After a Baby Bird?
1. Try to Locate the Nest
If you ever come across a nestling who is not wounded or harmed, shaken, and weak, try to locate its nest. Search nearby bushes and trees for an empty nest.
If you find the nest, use gloved or clean hands to put the nestling back into the nest so that it waits for its mother to return. In other cases, if you are not able to locate the nest create a surrogate nest for the baby bird.
2. Create a Surrogate Nest
If you don’t have any luck in finding the nest, make a surrogate nest for the baby bird. You can use a kitchen strainer, a small basket, a plastic container, or any box with holes punched in it.
Preferably the nest should be of the shape of a cereal bowl, well padded with dry grass or tissue papers or any other non-slippery material. This is because with slippery sides the baby could damage its legs.
Do not use green grass, as it is cold for the baby bird and will make it difficult to regulate its body temperature. Once the nest is made leave it where you found the bird and wait for its parents to come back.
If the parents do not come take the baby with you. If you do not know how to look after a baby bird? Call the professionals and seek guidance from them.
3. Caring for the Bird Until Help Comes
Till the time the professionals arrive or you gather some information about how to look after a baby bird? Make a place for it to stay.
Find a small cardboard box or a plastic bowl
As you have seen the nests are enclosed and in small spaces which makes the birds feel safe and secure. Use a small box or bowl to make the nest for the baby bird as it may feel scared in a giant box. Give the baby bird a small place to hang out in.
Keep the baby bird warm
The baby bird gets warmth from its mother, otherwise, they are not able to regulate their body temperature by themselves. You can use a hot water bottle or a heat lamp. The heat should be so much that if you leave your hand under the lamp or bottle it should not burn you or make you uncomfortable.
4. Put the Bird in the Nest
While keeping the bird in the nest make sure the overhead heat lamp must be at a comfortable distance to prevent it from overheating. If you plan to use a direct heating method like a hot water bottle, don’t put it in direct contact with the baby bird. Instead of that arrange paper towels in the shape of a nest and place the bird on top of it.
4. Cover the Box
The baby birds feel scared in new places, so the best way to them comfortable is to cover the box. The quiet and darker environment will calm the nerves of the baby. Newspaper and blanket are ideal for covering the box and make sure to make some holes for air to regulate through.
5. Leave the Bird in Isolated Surrounding
The baby bird can get easily scared so leave the bird in a dark quiet place alone. Keep pets and children or anything else that might scare the baby bird out of the room and away from the bird.
6. Don’t Handle More than Needed
You might find the baby bird adorable, especially children, and would want to hold it, but resist the urge. As the baby bird only knows its mother’s touch, your touch will scare the baby bird. Touch the baby bird only when you transfer it into a makeshift nest.
7. Keep the Area Around the Nest Clean
Birds can carry any number of germs and diseases, so make sure you wash your hands every time you touch the bird. Keep the bird away from the kitchen or anywhere keep or eat your food.
8. Consult a Specialist for Feeding Advice
Contact a professional to enquire about the food that can be given to the bird. Stuff like bread, milk may sound right to you but can actually cause diarrhea. Follow the specialist’s direction carefully.
9. Substitute Dog Kibble for Seeds
If you are sure that the baby bird eats seeds, you can give dog kibble if you are short of bird food. Soak the kibble in water and then give pea-sized pieces to the baby bird.
10. Take the Bird to a Wildlife Specialist when the Time is Right
When you call the wildlife rehabilitator, he/she will give you the time when you can take the bird to them. Till the time you have the baby bird with you try to keep it as calm and quiet as possible. You can take the bird to your vet, as sometimes vets have contact with wildlife experts.
The most fragile species at the time of birth is birds. Due to the lack of knowledge about dealing with infant birds, many of them lose their lives. How to look after a baby bird? Can you touch a baby bird?
These are the most common questions that come to mind. So we shared some of the basic steps that you can follow, if you come across a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. Every species deserves a chance to live and survive. Remember Animals!