One of the most common wildlife emergencies we see is baby birds that have fallen out of the nest, or the nest itself has fallen. This is an emergency requiring immediate attention but often can be remedied quickly.
Babies can be returned to nests, and entire nests can be repaired or replaced completely with great success and little disruption of the family.
If the baby is not injured and has not suffered extreme exposure from heat or cold, every attempt must be made to reunite the baby bird with its parents. No one can raise a baby bird like mom! The baby bird’s chances at living a healthy, normal life are greatly increased by allowing nature to raise its own.
If a baby bird has fallen and the nest location is known (and can be reached), simply plop baby back in the nest and walk away. Check back every few hours to make sure the bird remains in the nest. If it repeatedly falls, check the nest to see if it needs adjustment. A tilted nest will not hold babies well and can be straightened or secured.
Babies being repeatedly thrown from the nest by the parents may have a defect of which the parents are aware. They may not be willing to expend the energy to raise a baby that cannot survive. Such a bird can be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator.
Occasionally sibling rivalry will cause a weaker baby to be thrown and, in some cases, a parasitic bird species may be the culprit. Cowbirds, when hatched in a host nest, will push all the other birds out of the nest. This is nature at its finest but may be difficult to witness in your own backyard. In this case, consult your local rehabilitator for advice. They may take and raise the babies who have been victimized.
If an entire nest has fallen, the nest can be placed in a wicker basket or kitchen colander and hung in the same tree. The container doesn’t matter as long as it’s unobtrusive and has excellent drainage. Locating the nest near the original spot increases the probability of success, but isn’t essential. Often the parents will continue to feed even if the nest is hung in a nearby tree, which may be necessary if the nest accident occurred because a tree has fallen or was removed.
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Your POCKET REFERENCE GUIDE to injured or orphaned wild animals!
When rescuing injured wildlife, the choices you make will impact that animal’s life and possibly your own. Knowing about the risks to the animal as well as to you, your family and your pets, along with the right advice from the beginning can mean the difference between a heartwarming, educational experience and disaster.
This informative guide teaches would-be rescuers how to identify an animal in need, capture that animal, and safely transport it to a wildlife rehabilitator.
• How to determine the status of an injured creature using easy-to-follow flow charts
• Instructions on safe-capture methods, emergency care, transportation, and finding a professional wildlife rehabilitator