What To Do If You Find A Baby Bird On The Ground

Spring is right around the corner, which means that nature will see the renewal of life. Amongst that new life are all the little baby animals that will be born. And if you have a backyard with trees, there is a good chance that your garden might unknowingly play host to a family of baby birds! W

While we often go about our days not knowing what nature documentary is unfolding in our own backyards, sometimes we actually get swept into the drama. After all, there’s always the chance encounter of finding a little baby bird on that ground that has fallen out of its nest.

If this happens, what are we to do? Do we just leave it and walk away or do we pick it up and help? Most of us would probably ration that we’re supposed to leave it alone because if we touch it, then the mother will abandon it. It’s probably something that we’ve heard growing up from our own family members. But this age-old saying is actually not true at all – for several reasons.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The first is that birds can’t smell humans. The biggest misconception is that a mother bird will abandon its baby after it’s been touched by humans because it’ll be fearful of predators after getting a scent off its baby, but this just isn’t true at all. Plus, it’s not like birds have a particularly keen sense of smell anyways.

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Another reason why this is a misconception is that birds don’t typically abandon their young. For whatever reason, we tend to have this idea that animal moms are quick to abandon their young when quite the opposite is true. The maternal instinct is quite strong in many animals, including birds.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Just check YouTube, if you look for videos showing protective mama birds you will certainly find quite a few. This just proves that mother birds won’t abandon their young at the first hint of danger – if anything, they’ll do their best to protect their young.

So, if you do find a baby bird on the ground, what exactly are you supposed to do? Seeing a baby bird outside of its nest isn’t necessarily an immediate cause for concern. Often times baby birds who are beginning to learn how to fly will spend time on the ground hopping around until they get used to their wings and learn how to properly use them.

Photo: flickr/Hafiz Issadeen

If you see a little bird flopping around on the ground, chances are it’s just starting out learning how to fly. You can tell that it’s ready for this next stage in its life if it has full feathers.

Now, if you see a little bird that still has fuzzy tufts rather than real feathers, then it is most likely still a nestling who happened to fall out. You can offer it assistance to get back in its nest, just be extra gentle if you do offer assistance to a little baby bird since they are fragile.

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