Baby Birds Baby Bird

There was an excellent dialogue on Nextdoor. Contributors made excellent points and I put several of those answers together into this document which separates certain facts from older myths.

What To Do With an Injured or Orphaned Bird _ Audubon New York

This baby bird is in trouble. Note eyes closed and lateral position.

Carli:  A healthy baby chick has bright clear open eyes, is able to stand on its own and will try to fly or hop away when approached. If it’s on the ground and healthy the mother will be screaming an alarm to stay away as she keeps an eye on it. Some birds like Robins learn to fly from the ground, not from the nest. Even so… they are always targets for predation from multiple sources from cats, dogs, opossums, raccoons, snakes, rats, ANTS and even children. Not to mention other larger birds like crows who will snatch it up for a meal! Last Spring a baby robin hopping on the ground, exercising its wings trying to fly was snatched up by one such Crow. It carried it up to the banister of our deck – another crow flew up opposite as they each grabbed a leg and began tearing it apart, eating it alive before I could get down there. Horrifying but that’s what happens in nature.
You cannot leave this little bird lying on its side with its eyes closed unattended (it’s not a healthy, aware chick) and must keep a watchful eye on it until its mother comes to guard it but only if it’s healthy and a bird who originates is flight from the ground. Anyone who says leave it alone-mother will take care of it- is uninformed without more information . She will be unable to care for a bird that has fallen from a nest that still needs to be there and originates its flight from that platform. Simple sense.
Birds easily go into shock and most often when they do they don’t survive as their systems are so delicate.

▪The Audubon link above gives precise directions and accurate information on what to do. (Thank you for sharing!)

? Thank you for having a heart to rescue!

Another Post: “I found a bird outside on the ground last year. She was so tiny and didn’t have feathers. I was her dad for three months. I fed her dry dog food that you let sit in water. When it’s mushy feed him three times a day a tiny bit…one day she started flying but stayed close. Then one day she flew away and didn’t come back. It was awesome…”

“Chattahoochee Nature Center said they don’t handle small birds cases. They gave a phone number for another person who could help…”

Another Post: “For future reference: I don’t know if this is true, but I have always heard that humans should not touch baby birds or other young wild animals because their mothers will smell the human scent* and then reject them.”

Another Post: “Chattahoochee nature center for sure and they told me it’s not true about humans touching them and the mother won’t have anything to do with him.”

Fact: If the parent bird senses that the baby is ‘broken’ -OR- They feel unsafe landing nearby, they will abandon it. You can handle the bird at least enough to give water or shade or move it 10-15 feet (tops) to more secluded or secure area.

How to give water to a baby bird:
From a syringe. Try not to hold the water source (syringe or dropper) ABOVE the bill or you risk overflow, and putting water in the lungs. Even if the bird is actively taking water, do it in drops, not a stream. Aspiration of water or food into the lungs is very common. Take it slow.

Another Post:  “Chattahoochee Nature Center said they don’t handle small birds cases. They gave a phone number for another person who could help, but her voice message says she is too busy and she will call me back when she gets a chance! Thanks everyone for the help :)”

Another Post: “404-488-7037 she is awesome took in a bird we found and got back to health.”

See also: For Pets Sake – An avian practice in Decatur which has an outreach.

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.