A bird's nest seen in Marrickville.

A bird’s nest seen in Marrickville.

Every year I get emails or Facebook messages seeking advice about baby birds on the ground. Today I came across a great information poster about this issue produced by the Fauna Rescue of South Australia – http://www.faunarescue.org.au/home.htm.  I reproduce the text here in full, as I find the poster a little difficult to read.

“Every year thousands of baby birds are needlessly rescued by well meaning members of the public. It is normal for feathered baby birds to be seen on the ground, as fledglings learn to fly from the ground, not from their nest. If you see a baby bird on the ground this spring:

  • Wait for up to an hour to make sure the parent birds are coming back to feed & take care of the fledgling.
  • If the parents do not return then something has happened to them & the bird will need to come into care.
  • Keep your domestic pets inside while baby birds are fledging, it only takes a few days for the bird to learn to flutter back up into the trees.
  • If feral cats are circling the fledgling, place the bird into a plant pot or a plastic container with holes in the bottom for drainage, & place sticks & leaves for their feet to grip & place out of reach of cats. Check to make sure the parents find & are taking care of the baby.
  • Returning fledglings to their nest is highly unsuccessful, as they will almost immediately jump out again.
  • Unfeathered birds should never be left on the ground. If possible return the bird to its nest. They myth that parents will reject the baby once touched by humans is untrue. If the baby cannot be returned to its nest, then it needs to come into care.
  • Only orphaned, unfeathered or injured baby birds should be rescued. Place the bird into a tissue lined margarine container sitting on top of a hot water bottle filled with hot tap water (no boiling water), & put into a box to keep it contained & contact Fauna Rescue to arrange a carer.”

I’d only add –

  • If you are calling a wildlife rescue organisation, put the bird in a dark, quiet place away from children & pets & resist the urge to check on it too often.
  • Do not attenpt to feed the bird.
  • The National Parks & Wildlife have a list of all wildlife rescue organizations across Australia with links to their contact details. See – http://bit.ly/WXAq0Y