Backyard Buddies
Baby Bird Rescue

Photo: Ken Stepnell/OEH

Baby Bird Rescue

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Have you ever come across an animal in trouble and wondered what to do? There are a lot of simple, effective things you can do to help.

Wild wind and rain can sweep baby birds out of the nest and on to the ground. If the baby bird is fluffy, or doesn't have many feathers and is unable to grip onto a perch, then it needs to go back into the nest. It can't have travelled far. Search nearby trees and bushes and return it to the nest.

The parents will not disown the baby because of your scent. Birds recognise their babies by call and not by smell.

If you find a baby bird on the ground which is mostly feathered and can hop around and perch, then it is likely a fledgling and ready to leave the nest. The parents are probably nearby watching it.

If the baby is in a hazardous area, try to herd it to a safer spot close by. You may want to keep an eye on it until mum and dad call to it, or come to feed it.

If neither parent returns after a long time, or if the young bird is sick or injured, call a wildlife carer so that they can come collect it.

If you find an animal that needs help, call a wildlife carer immediately and follow their advice.

Click to find out contact details for your local wildlife carer or use this searchable wildlife carer database.

If the wildlife carer advises you to collect the animal and await their arrival, do it in a way that minimises stress for the animal.

Approach with caution. Wild animals won't know you are trying to help and are not used to being handled - they may try to defend themselves by biting, scratching or kicking.

If you find a baby bird out of the nest, check first to see if its parents are around watching.

Cover the animal with a towel or blanket and gently place it and the towel in a well-ventilated cardboard box or natural fibre bag.

Don't put the animal into a bare cardboard box or one lined with newspaper if possible. Place the box in a warm, quiet, dark room and do not disturb the animal. Resist the temptation to peek at it, and keep children and pets well away. Don't give it any food or water unless advised by a wildlife carer, as native animals have a specialised diet and may get sick from what you offer it.

If the animal is cold, you can fill a bottle with warm water, wrap it in a small towel and place it near the animal but not touching it. Don't provide heat for reptiles or echidnas.

If you drop off an injured animal to a carer or vet, tell them exactly where you found it so that it can be relocated to its home territory after rehabilitation. This will greatly increase its chances of survival once it has been released back into the wild.

It is against the law to keep native animals taken from the wild. They must be passed on to an authorised carer with a licensed wildlife rescue organisation.

Don't try to handle or rescue injured Flying foxes, venomous reptiles, snakes, or birds of prey. Improper rescue can hurt and distress both animals and people. Call a wildlife rescuer as they are trained to rescue these and many other kinds of animals safely.

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