It is assumed that if you are looking for emergency information at this location that the baby bird in question is either in your possession or nearby where you can keep an eye on it. If you know where the nest of the orphaned bird is and you have means to safely return the baby to the nest you should try. It's "an old wives tale", that if you touch a baby bird, the mother won't come back. Birds have no sense of smell, except, interestingly enough, the Turkey Vulture. If you find a baby bird that has fallen from the its nest and you can't safely put it back, try making a nest from a berry basket you get at the food store. Add dry grass and dry leaves. Attach the new nest to a high branch or shrub as close to the original nest as possible. Make sure there are branches above the nest to shelter the babies from sunlight. Secure it with wire, strong string, hosiery or netting. Place the chick(s) in the nest and watch from a safe distance to make sure the parents return. You can listen for the noise of their being fed. Baby birds create quite a ruckus when eating. Newly feathered young birds (fledglings) are in a transitional phase, having left the nest, yet not having learned to fly. They are still dependent on their parent(s) for care and food. Rehabilitators see a lot of these birds "rescued", when they should be left alone. The mother bird can do the best job of raising the baby.

If the mother bird and the nest are nowhere in site, you should retrieve the bird and call a Wildlife Rehabilitator. Your state division of wildlife management, the Department of the Interior - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, your local veterinarian, area animal shelters, state or local police or animal control officer should be able to supply you with information on how to contact them.

You can search the following for your state's government agencies:


Be aware during the spring and early summer months, young fledgling birds are given "flight training" by their parents. A fledgling will be seen hopping around the ground, seemingly all alone. Usually, if you are patient, the parents will show themselves. Often you can hear the parents calling from the trees. Even though the fledgling is almost as big as the adult is, the parent(s) will still feed them when they're on the ground during this phase. Try to keep pets, especially felines out of this area.

If you do have the baby bird in your possession, do not try to feed or water it, using an eyedropper. This can (and usually does) lead to getting liquids into the glottis (the end of the bird's airway) which they will aspirate into their lungs, leaving them predisposed to pneumonia.

You can try feeding an emergency formula if your local Wildlife Rehabilitator approves. Most baby birds need to be fed about every 20-30 minutes during daylight hours.

Emergency Feeding Formula

(Only if approved by consulting Wildlife Rehabilitator)

Soak dry dog kibble in water until soft. Feed with a toothpick. This is an emergency feed only and is not a balanced diet. The bird should be given over to the care of a Wildlife Rehabilitator.

Keep the baby bird in a shoebox with soft paper towel on the bottom. Cover the box with a towel (be sure to leave an air supply) and put in a warm, dark quiet area, until transporting. 

Do Not attempt to feed or water distressed animals or birds without contacting a Wildlife Rehabilitator - The wrong food or improper watering can kill.

State and Federal Law requires special licenses and or permit(s) to rehabilitate migratory and other birds. Always contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator when you take possession of a wild animal in distress.


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