Don’t be a birdnapper!
In spring and summer, people sometimes find young birds on the ground that cannot fly. Almost always, these birds don’t need rescued.
Songbirds leave the nest before they can fly and the parents feed them out of nest, while tail feathers grow and the fledglings learn to fly and hide.
At first, these little birds don’t even know to hide and may even open their beaks at humans asking for food.
Please don’t rescue these birds and take them out of the wild.
- If you do this, fledglings will quickly lose their survival instincts and not learn to fly away from predators.
- The parents are waiting to feed them, where you found the fledgling.
- Leave them outside (or put them back.) If they are out in the open, tuck them under the cover of shrubs or trees for protection.
- Keep dogs and cats away as well as kids and other people and the parents will return to feed them.
Other resources for more information
- Here’s a helpful graphic on how to tell fledglings from nestlings and what to do with each.
- Here is more baby bird help from AllAboutBirds.org on how to help — and not help — baby birds.
- New York State list of wildlife rehabilitators for when birds and other wildlife do need rescued.