How to Take Care for Baby Birds

Finding an abandoned baby bird in your yard can be a sad rite of spring. Here's how to provide the best care possible to help ensure its safety and survival.

Baby bird.

Step 1

Take a good look at the baby bird. Does it have feathers? Can it fly? If it can fly, even just a little bit, leave it alone. The baby bird's parents will continue to take care of it after it has fledged from the nest and will also help protect it from predators. Stay out of the yard and keep your pets inside, too. If after a few hours the baby bird is still in the yard and is not being attended to by adults, or if the baby bird is flightless, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

Try to locate the nest from which the baby bird came. Depending on the species, it maybe located high in a tree, nestled in a dense shrub or tucked inside a garage or under the eaves of a house. If you can reach the nest, gently pick the baby up and deposit it back in the nest. It is a myth that birds will reject a baby after it has been touched by humans. You'll probably want to wear leather gloves to protect yourself from possible bites and from any diseases the bird might be carrying. Wash your hands very well afterward.

Step 3

Contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately. If there are no wildlife rehabbers listed in the phone book, try contacting veterinarians, animals shelters or zoos—they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Step 4

Discuss your situation with the wildlife rehabber and follow their instructions to the letter. They will probably ask you pack up the baby bird in a small box (such as a shoebox) filled with soft rags and with holes cut in the box for ventilation and bring it in to them. Be sure to tell them everything you know about the bird: where you found it, how long it's been in the yard, what kind of bird it is (if you can identify it or the parents) and if the parents are nearby.

Heidi Almond

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.