- Written by Nadia O'Carroll
So what should you do when you find a baby bird on the ground? Often the “orphan ” is actually under the watchful eyes of parents who if given the opportunity will return to their baby and it is always better if a young bird is raised by its natural parents rather than by a human carer.
Sick or injured baby birds need to go to a vet or carer as soon as possible.
Naked or partly feathered baby birds (hatchlings) if healthy and uninjured try to return it to the nest. These birds cannot exist for long without parental care, so if the parents do not return to the nest within an hour or if it is not possible to re-nest the bird, it should go into care.
Partially feathered baby birds try to return it to the nest if possible. If not, create an artificial nest by hanging or fixing a planter, wicker basket, plastic container or bucket in a sheltered spot on a branch about 2-3 metres above the ground, away from direct sunlight and close as possible to the spot where the bird was found. The container should be lined with dry grass or straw, have drainage holes and if steep sided, have a stick secured so birds can climb out and are not trapped in the container. If parents do not attend the nest within a couple of hours the bird should go into care.
Fully feathered baby birds (fledglings) – they often tumble out of the nest when they are learning to fly. Observe to see whether the baby bird seems self-sufficient or if its parents are around. If the bird seems in a dangerous situation, perch it on a safe spot on a branch or shrub or make a twig pile for its protection. Leave it and check later, if the parents do not re-appear the bird may have to go into care.
If a baby bird needs to go into care:
Place bird in a softly lined cardboard box with ventilation holes
Place box in a warm, quiet, dark indoor location away from activity. Minimise disturbance to minimise stress
Contact wildlife carer for advice; do not attempt to look after the bird yourself.
Do not give food; do not give water without checking with a vet or carer.
When taking the bird to the vet or carer, transport the box securely in car not in boot
Useful telephone numbers
RSPCA 1300 ANIMAL
Wildcare 5527 2444
QPW 1300 130 372
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 5534 0813
You can also help baby birds by controlling your pets, providing some bushy cover in your garden so baby birds have somewhere to hide, providing water, avoiding pesticides and herbicides, preserving tree hollows and installing nest-boxes. Finally please do not use mono-filament netting, this material is deadly to wildlife.