Ok well that’s what I first thought when my kids found a baby bird in our backyard the other day. I immediately jumped to it must be injured in some way, like have a broken wing, or that it fell out of the nest.
Before anyone got too close though, I wanted to do some research. It had fluffy feathers all over and could hop around which I learned means it’s called a fledgling:
Fledglings: Older babies who have left the nest or fledged; feathers have developed; tail is short; capable of walking, hopping and some flying (jump out of nest, not fly); parents still provide care and protection; babies taught survival skills by adults.
After observing the fledgling off and on for the past day, I have seen the mom and dad bird flying down and feeding it. It made me feel much better seeing them hovering around and looking after their baby (wish I had gotten pics of it being fed).
I had a hard time determining what kind of bird it actually was. At first I thought it was a sparrow, but after looking at more pictures online it could be a finch. In fact the parents look like finches to me.
Great site for bird identification- search by name or shape/appearance
plus hear the bird call
Since the baby bird is right near the swingset in the backyard, and I don’t want to disturb it or prevent it from being fed, I’ve kept the girls in the house. I do worry about stray cats wandering in the yard at night though. :-/
During my research online, I found some great sites with helpful information on what to do if you find a baby bird. Here are some of the tips:
- If the bird is a fledgling and hopping or running away from you, LEAVE IT BE! The parents will find him, and are probably nearby already. If the bird is in immediate danger (ie. you see the cat or dog watching or chasing it), scoop him up and put him in a nearby bush or shrub out of harm’s way.
MYTH: If you touch the baby bird the mother won’t come back
– actually most birds have a poor sense of smell and moving a baby bird to safety or returning it to it’s nest will not cause it’s parents to abandon it
- If you find a baby bird with little or no feathers (a nestling) and you know where the nest is, then return the bird to it’s nest.
- If the nest has been destroyed, you can construct a makeshift nest using a small basket or plastic container. Line the container with material from the old nest or use dry grass, leaves, or even paper towel. Make little holes in the bottom of the container for proper drainage or rainwater will collect and drown the birds. Secure your nest to a branch (wire or nail it) as close to the old nest as possible.
- DO NOT give the baby bird any liquids as it’s too easy to drown them (they get what they need from their food and often will inhale any liquid)
- If you do find an orphaned or injured bird contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area right away to get care for it.