If your backyard has the three ideal amenities for birds (bird feeders, bird baths and birdhouses), there’s a possibility birds will be nesting near or even in your backyard. Since baby birds sometimes accidentally fall out of their nest, there’s a chance you might find one of these delicate chicks on the ground.
If this is the case, here are some things you should remember to do.
1. Determine whether it’s a nestling or fledgling
If you’re walking around outside and you see a small bird on the ground that doesn’t seem like it can fly yet, you should first determine whether it’s a nestling (newborn) or a fledgling (adolescent). Observe the bird or stick your finger out next to it. If it’s able to hop around or perch on your finger, it’s most likely a fledgling that attempted to fly out of its nest. Leave it there because it will learn to fly and its mother will come to feed it. Just make sure it’s guarded and not in any immediate danger of cats or predators.
2. Put the nestling back in its nest
If it can’t really move and seems underdeveloped still, it’s probably a nestling. Chances are that the bird simply fell out of its nest, so look directly above the fallen bird for a tree and ideally a nesting area. Gently cup the birds in your hand to warm it up and place the bird back in its nest if it’s in reach and you’re sure it’s the right one. If you don’t see any nest around or you’re not sure which one it is, move onto the nest step.
3. Construct your own nest
Sometimes bird nests get completely blown over, you can’t reach it or you simply can’t find it. If this is the case, you will need to construct your own nest for the bird. Get a small wicker basket or a cottage cheese tub with holes punches into the bottom for drainage. Line it with tissue, straw and dried sticks.
4. Secure the nest to the tree
After you’ve constructed the makeshift nest, tie it very securely to the nearby tree or just below the other nest. Make sure it will not fall down from heavy wind. Warm the nestling in your cupped hands briefly and place it into the new nest. Once the parents see that the bird is missing, they will search the immediate area. If they find the new nest, they will adopt the new one as their own and continue to feed and care for the nestling.
5. Call a wildlife specialist if the parents don’t return
Unfortunately, the parents may not always be able to find the nestling, so call a local wildlife specialist or veterinarian if the parents do not return within a few hours.