Emergency Care For Baby Birds
Here are some tips on how--and
when--to give food and care to baby
birds and fledglings.
- Do not interfere with young
birds unless you think they
are sick, hurt, orphaned, or in
- It is not true that parent birds
will reject or kill their babies
because a human has touched
- Fallen nestlings can be
returned to the nest if they
aren't hurt or weak.
- Fledglings can be moved a
short distance to keep them
safe from traffic and cats.
For Nestling Songbirds
- Care: Babies with no feathers, a little fuzz or
pinfeathers need a soft, snug,
cup-shaped nest of tissue in a small
container--don't use cotton, grass, or old
- Diet: Bits of dog or cat kibble soaked in hot
water (sugar-water for the first day or
two) mixed with hard-boiled egg yolk
and baby cereal. White or wheat bread
moistened with sugar-water can be used
as an emergency diet for a few feedings
- Put food in the back of their mouths
when the babies gape. Feed them every
1/2 to one hour during daylight. Give
each bird a few pieces per feeding. Do
not put fluids in nestling's mouths.
For Fledgling Songbirds
- Doves and pigeons are not fed in the above way. Fuzzy chicks (such as quail, killdeer and ducklings) need warmth but are not housed and fed the same ways as songbirds.
- Baby hawks, owls and other raptors: Please note that only a licensed avian rehabilitator may legally care for hawks and other raptors.
- Call your local animal shelter for the name of a licensed wildlife worker for further instructions. Another excellent national source for avian rehabilitators is the Wildlife Directory of the University of Minnesota: www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/