It can happen when you least expect, lying before you on the ground is a tiny, helpless baby bird. Should you attempt a rescue or leave it? In most cases it is best not to interfere s the bird parents do a much better job of raising a baby bird then you will be able to. A baby bird that is featherless must be fed every fifteen to twenty minutes from sunrise until almost 10 pm. And you must feed it the correct diet. Different birds require different foods. A young robin requires a continuous supply of earthworms (finely chopped beef can be substituted if necessary).
What can you do to help?
Unless the bird is injured it is best to leave it where it is. Young birds cheep almost continuously, and its parents will find and feed it. If the nestling is able to fly, the parents will encourage it to flutter to safety. Parent birds will not desert a nestling simply because it has been handled by a human. Birds have a very poor sense of smell.
If the nest is nearby and can be found put the bird back in the nest. If you cannot reach the nest, place the bird on a lower limb of the tree or on top of a tall shrub, where a prowling feline is less likely to climb and find it.
You can fashion a temporary next from an empty small plastic berry basket or margarine tub. Line it with shredded paper towels, not fabrics which tend to tangle up in bird’s feet. With a nail or wire fasten the temporary nest in a shady spot in a tree or a tall shrub near where the bird was found. Place the nestling inside the basket, tucking its feet under the body.
The parents will usually return within a short time and will feed the baby in the container just as if it were the natural nest. If this has happened in your backyard you will probably observe the parent bird feeding chicks at both nests each day.
When should you call a wildlife rehabilitation?
If the parents don’f find the new nest within two hours or you are sure that the mother of the baby bird is dead.
If the bird is sick (unable to flutter wings, weak, or shivering) or has been attacked by a cat or dog (bleeding). The longer you delay, the less chance the bird has of surviving.
While waiting for help to arrive, pick up the bird with gloved hands and play it in a well-ventilated cardboard box or paper bag that has been padded with paper towels.
Keep the bird warm and in a quiet, dark place until it can be picked up and cared for by a wildlife expert.
Do not give the baby bird any liquids (they get all they need from their food and can easily inhale liquids.
Do not even think about attempting to care for a featherless nestling or a chick that has yet to open its eyes.
Wash your hands after contact with bird. Wash anything the bird came into contact with such as a towel, jacket , blanket or pet carrier to prevent the spread of diseases and parasites to you or your pets.
The chances or successfully rearing a nestling are very slight, so don’t be disappointed it your most valiant efforts are unsuccessful.