Birds Bitten by a Cat or Dog

Any bird that has been in the mouth of a cat or dog needs help. Place the bird in a cloth-lined box or container with a source of heat and bring it to one of to one of Hope for Wildlife's drop off locations.

Birds Found on the Ground

The first thing to do if you come across a grounded bird is determine whether the bird is a nestling or a fledgling. Let the young bird grip your finger. Is it gripping firmly? If so, it is probably a fledgling. The best thing to do is get it out of harm’s way by moving it to a protected area close by (like under a nearby tree or shrub) and leave it alone.

FLEDGLINGS

Many birds found on the ground in spring and summer are actually doing what’s called “fledging” - they cannot fly yet, or cannot fly well. As part of their normal development, all birds go from the nest to the ground (not the nest to the sky). At this fledgling stage, they are still dependent on their parents who typically stay close by (but out of sight), monitoring their progress, keeping them fed, and teaching them to be self-reliant. It is very important not to “birdnap” a fledgling and break up the family unit.

Fledgling Crows

It is normal for a young crow to be unable to fly. Fledgling crows may look very similar to adults, but there are some indicators of a youngster:

  • blue eyes (adults have black eyes)
  • short wing and tail feathers (adults have long feathers)
  • ability to hop or run, and maybe even fly short distances
  • attempt to get away when approached (trying to go unnoticed; adults will fly away)
  • fairly easy to approach (protective parents or siblings may call out or swoop at "intruders;" adults are generally not approachable at all unless injured)

Fledgling Songbirds

Fledgling songbirds may look very similar to adults, but there are some indicators of a youngster:

  • short wing and tail feathers (adults have long, smooth feathers)
  • remaining bits of visible down especially on head and underparts
  • wide fleshy sides at the base of the beak (called "gape flanges," these are absent on adults)
  • ability to hop or run, and maybe even fly short distances
  • attempt to get away when approached (trying to go unnoticed; adults will fly away)
  • protective parents calling out or swooping at "intruders"

Nestlings

Some birds found on the ground in spring and summer are “nestlings” that have fallen out of the nest. They are not yet ready to spend time on the ground as fledglings and should be returned to the nest if at all possible. It is a myth that a baby bird touched by humans will be rejected by its mother. 

If the nest is intact and accessible, simply place the nestling(s) back into the nest. If the whole nest has fallen or been destroyed, place the nestling(s) together in a container lined with dry leaves, grass, pine needles, or the old nest itself. Poke holes into the bottom of the container for drainage, and secure it in its original location or a nearby tree. Monitor the nest from a distance to see if the parents return, and if they don't arrive within an hour, bring the nestling(s) to one of Hope for Wildlife's drop off locations.

Nestling Crows

Indicators of a nestling crow are:

  • short wing and tail feathers
  • ability to hop or run, and maybe even fly short distances
  • flying/running away when approached (trying to go unnoticed)
  • fairly easy to approach (protective parents or siblings may call out or swoop at "intruders")

Nestling Songbirds

Fledgling songbirds may look very similar to adults, but there are some indicators of a youngster:

  • short wing and tail feathers
  • remaining bits of visible down especially on head and underparts
  • wide fleshy sides at the base of the beak (called "gape flanges")
  • ability to hop or run, and maybe even fly short distances
  • flying/running away when approached (trying to go unnoticed)
  • protective parents calling out or swooping at "intruders"