Have you ever come upon a baby bird on the ground? Do you feel compelled to scoop it up to rescue it?
You may be surprised to find that in many cases, the baby bird needs no rescuing at all.
My daughter found this out while we were on vacation last week.
She came into our cabin carrying a small baby bird in her hands. It had feathers, but was awfully small. It was a fledgling – in other words, a teenage bird.
I asked my daughter where she had found the little bird and we took him back there and carefully put him down.
I explained to my daughter, that it was likely that the baby bird’s parents were nearby and would continue to take care of him, even though he had come out of the nest. (It is a myth that birds will reject a their young if they have been handled by humans because birds have a poor sense of smell).
We carefully put the baby bird down near the tree where my daughter had found it. Then we walked away and kept watch over him to see what he would do.
Immediately, we heard his parents calling to him. The baby bird then started to hop toward some dead pine tree branches for cover.
He kept hopping and chirping for his parents. (Under normal circumstances, fledglings often hop around on the ground, under cover for a few days before being able to fly. During this time, they are cared for by their parents).
We could barely see him as he kept hopping along (but you can see his eyes glowing in the setting sun above).
Soon, he reached cover and his parents flew down to him.
The next day, I was curious to see if I could locate him and was hoping that he was okay.
I could see one of his parents sitting up in the tree with food in its mouth. I couldn’t see where the baby bird was.
But, soon the parent flew down to feed its little baby. After it left, I zoomed in my camera and found the little bird through my view finder.
Can you see it?
I was thrilled to locate the baby bird sitting on a dead pine tree branch close to the ground.
This was a wonderful teaching moment for not only my daughter, but for all of us to see this little bird being cared for by its parents.
**People can often do more damage by rescuing a baby bird then by leaving it alone. Birds & Blooms has a great article “Before You Rescue Birds” which will help you to determine what situations a baby bird needs to be rescued and when they are better left alone.