Spring is a busy time here at Wildlife Victoria. We receive many calls from concerned members of the community about "baby birds" who they believe have been abandoned by their parents.
It is important to know that the vast majority have not been “abandoned or orphaned” and the parents are near by keeping a close eye on their young. Many of these birds are in fact fledglings that have recently left the nest and are learning to fly for a period of time anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Is it a Nestling or a Fledgling?
Fledglings are covered in feathers and are able to perch on a branch. If the bird seems unable to cling well to branches, is bald or has little feathers then it is a nestling.
What should I do if I find an “orphaned” bird?
From a safe distance keep an eye on the bird for a while to ensure that it is in fact abandoned making sure it is safe from predators like domestic cats and dogs.
If the parents do not return to an undisturbed fledgling in two hours then something may be wrong. The parents may have been killed or injured by a predator or car, in which case the bird should be transferred to a registered wildlife carer.
A nestling on the other hand should be returned to the original nest. Look around in nearby shrubbery or trees for a nest that may be hidden and simply place the young back in it. If you can’t locate the nest then provide a substitute nest by tying a basket or small box that is lined with paper to a tree. Place the bird in the new nest and monitor from a distance. If the bird is not reunited with the parents after 2 hours it will need to be transferred to a registered wildlife carer. Please call us on our emergency line 13 000 94535 to arrange this.
What if the bird is injured?
Please contact our Emergency Phone Service on 13 000 94535 as any bird that is injured will need to be taken to the closest veterinarian. The vet will then assess the injuries and hopefully administer assistance so the bird can be sent onto a shelter until they are ready to be released back into the wild.
For further information about baby birds please contact our Emergency Phone Service on
13 000 94535.
Information provided by Dr. Tristan Rich, Head Vet of Exotic/Wildlife Pet Unit at Lort Smith Animal Hospital.