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What to do with a nestling.

ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So there's a baby bird which fell out of his nest in my front yard.

Yeah yeah, I know, bear with me.

I realize most birds that fall out of nests are going to die, which happens a lot in my yard, but this one is a bit more developed than the normal ones I see. I don't really have an edifying idea as to what to do with it. Taking it in is not on the menu, and I have two jack russels so leaving it in the yard for very long is not really feasible.

I'd rather not "fling it into the woods" if possible.

I think it's a kind of finch, of which we have several varieties around here.

Information more solid than old wives' tales is appreciated.


Scosglen on


  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2010

    It looks like a fledgling, so if you can leave it alone for a few days and it will fly away.

    admanb on
  • SolandraSolandra Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Based on that maw and the pin feathers starting to come in, it's not even remotely ready to be on its own. If you can't take it in and don't want the dogs to do the natural thing, calling the Humane Society or local equivalent is the first thing that comes to mind.

    If the dogs do get ahold of it, it is kinder for everyone involved to let them finish what they're doing than it is to try to intervene. My middle dog taught me that the hard way.

    Solandra on
  • DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    use a golf ball retriever and dump it back in the nest?

    Deusfaux on
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Well, some bird babies naturally leave the nest and the parent birds will take care of it it until it's ready to fly away.

    So just leave it there. Don't take it in as a pet, cause that's illegal. If you really need your feel good endorphins, then take it to a bird shelter.

    Casually Hardcore on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    depending on where you are there may be a local birdwatching group that will take care of it. I know our neighbors did this when they found an entire nest of just hatched eggs that had been in a tree that was chopped down.

    dispatch.o on
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    You may have a local wildlife shelter out there that will take it. There's a ton of them in Cali.

    Cabezone on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I once brought an owl to a "nature center" that took in injured animals that couldn't be returned to the wild. It lived a long and happy life, as it was blind in one eye it toured around and saw children. Awesome animal.

    dispatch.o on
  • Alien QueenAlien Queen Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Judging by the pics, I don't think it is ready to fend for itself.

    Is there any way to put it back in the nest maybe? Not sure how good a bird's sense of smell is though, so the parents might catch your scent and abandon the little fella.
    If that's not possible, I echo the previous advice given and find a local wildlife shelter or even a vet that might take it in.

    Alien Queen on
    3DS: 4742 5205 9601 - Boss Lady - Pokemon Y - In game name: Kira
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Google says the "mom can tell the human scent" thing is bullshit.

    Nest is too far out of reach to replace the bird, however.

    Scosglen on
  • AsiinaAsiina ... WaterlooRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The link given to you in the second post says you can make a second nest out of a margarine container and some paper towels and put it up as close to the other nest as you can reach. If it's in a tree, you could just nail it to the tree.

    Asiina on
  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm leaning heavily on the side of

    (A) Don't take it in
    (B) it doesn't need to go to a shelter
    (C) mom's probably looking for it at this very moment
    (Q) best thing would be to put it in a shrub or a low tree; somewhere were it won't fall too far

    It's old enough to kind of wander around and out of the nest, which is probably why you found it where you did. Putting it in some kind of protected area will help keep it safe from any wandering predators, and mom will be able to find the baby with her special calls.

    MetroidZoid on
    3DS FC: 4699-5714-8940 Playing Pokemon, add me! Ho, SATAN!
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    It's just as possible that the parents are dead and the bird wandered out because it was hungry.

    Cabezone on
  • Pixel BluePixel Blue Registered User regular
    edited March 2013

    Pixel Blue on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I went to go have another look at him and he was gone. For most of the afternoon he stayed put on that spot, but I caught him hopping around a bit when I was watching from a distance, so it seems he was able to move. I think he hopped or waddled into some bushes or tree cover a few feet away.

    I am almost certain nothing cruised by and ate it, and even if it did it was a swift and natural death at least.

    Problem solved I guess!

    Scosglen on
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Look closer at the feathers guys, I don't see any flight feathers and the tail feathers are just starting to pin. This baby may have a few weeks before flying is an option. Of course that's all pretty much moot at this point in the discussion.

    MushroomStick on
  • RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    despite all myth to the contrary, birds are not shunned or eaten just because a person goes near them or touches them

    either put it back in the nest or leave it alone. It looks a decent age, it's probably learning to fly. I say leave it on the ground, but keep animals and such away from it

    edit: of course you can just put it back in the nest. A bird will NOT be killed by its mother if a human touches it. It's a myth

    Raneados on
  • McGibsMcGibs TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    It's definitely not a few days from flying around, it still has down on it's body and no tail feathers (which they need to fly). Even if it did crawl into a bush, it will likely just starve to death in a little while (not agile hunters, those baby birds).

    Baby birds fall out of their nests all the time because their bigger siblings push them out (not because they fell out learning to fly). It's a built-in natural selector. Have three or four babies and scrap the weakest one, that's good for evolving. Even if you did get it back in the nest, it'll probably just get pushed out again, or starve to death because it isnt big enough to compete.

    McGibs on
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