Advice: - If You Find Fledgling Birds, Leave Them Alone!

  • Anonymous

    Buzzard said:

    The last week, I have read numerous posts asking for advice on baby birds - Fledglings!

    I'm aware that members who are posting the questions are somewhat inexperienced and are seeking help from more experienced birders.

    But I personally have been somewhat alarmed about somethings I have read!

    Spring and Summer months are when most birds breed, so there will be many fledglings that appear in the most peculiar of places.

    It is a human instinct to assist a fluffy baby bird that looks abandoned, young blackbirds regularly depart before being able to fly, though they are capable of hiding themselves from predators quite effectively as are most fledglings.

    You also have to remember Mother Nature in all her beauty can be sometimes very cruel!

    Predators hunt for prey!

    The young of most familiar garden birds fledge once they are fully feathered, but before they're able to fly, they spend a day or two on the ground while their feathers finish developing.

    The following is the RSPB's advice for fledglings.

    Fledglings should be left where they are, in the care of their parents. Removal of a fledgling from the wild will cut its chances of long-term survival to a small fraction, and should only be done as a very last resort. 

    If the bird is on a busy path or road or other potentially dangerous, exposed location, it makes sense to pick it up and move it a short distance to a safer place. Make sure you put it down within hearing reach of where it was found so its parents can find it.

    Handling a young bird does not cause its parents to abandon it. Birds have a poor sense of smell and do not respond to human smell in the same way as mammals.

    Baby birds in your garden?

    It can be tempting to try to ‘rescue’ a baby bird apparently in trouble. Here are some things to remember:

    • The adult birds are much more skilled at looking after their offspring than humans will ever be!
    • It’s very likely that the bird’s parents are nearby, waiting for you to leave the area
    • If the bird is in a very vulnerable position (for example, in the middle of the pavement), it’s OK to move it somewhere safe nearby – perhaps from off the ground into a bush or tree where cats won’t see it
    • Watch from a safe distance to see what happens. If it really has been abandoned, contact our Wildlife Enquiries team for advice, but as the conservation organisation, the RSPB is not able to offer a rescue service. Tel: 01767 693690, 8.30 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday; answerphone only at other times
    • Try to avoid interference wherever possible. It really is best to leave baby birds alone.  

     The RSPB does not run bird hospitals or a rescue service.

    Regards Buzzard

    I'm bringing this back to the top because there have been so many posts recently asking for advice on what to do with fledglings. I don't think the message is getting through.

    I thought this advice was going to be highlighted on the website. It would save us having to endlessly repeat the advice on this forum.


  • In reply to LRB:

    Liz R said:

    There are also issues with communication - can Lucky communicate with members of his own species? Does he recognise the song or call of his own species? Can he respond to that? Does he know what a Mistle thrush warning him that there's a hawk overhead or a cat nearby sounds like? Can he attract/respond to a potential partner? These are all vital things that he'll need to survive long-term, which he would have learned from his parents.

    I had not seen this thread untill now so I am going to just say this......

    As you have used Lucky as an example...I just thought you  would like to know that in answer to some of your Q's above....yes he does know he is a  Mistle Thrush.....he is flying with another ,visiting the back of here some nights singing his head off....

    I have done an awefull lot of reading up on Mistle Thrush's and know their alarm call.........which we also heard when the nest had the 4 chicks in.. outside our living room window.......and Lucky is very good at that too.

    I am thinking you will all think does she know it is Lucky.....

    I know because he has a small bald patch right above his beak.......and it is still visable to me...

    I have asked around here also........being a small village I know quite a few people and nobody has said he has come down to them or the gardnens he can most deffinatly look after himself too.

    I cannot tell you how pleased we are about that...and is a gamble as to weather or not a hand reared bird does survive...and untill there comes a time when MAYBE hand reared saved chicks/fledglings  are ringed...and I do know this happens.....but not in this area..........we will all never actually know how many do survive....but hey......Lucky had a chance of life and was given it......

    It is a great shame that this lucky little bird has brought so much negative attention to this forum..all people are asking for is emergency advice..

    I have read the posts and I think nearly everyone of them are asking purely because of extreme circumstances and I personally think it is a GREAT shame someone does not have the courage to maybe give some posative advice for once.....

    however .....I did notice 1 brave mod did actually do this with ref to the food given for a rescued Greenfinch.. and it has since been released too........

    another happy ending I am pleased to read about......

    Regards Sue.. 


    SUE and LUCKY..just call me    Mrs Early Bird.....x

    Our house operate's  soley for our animals and birds......Love me love my animals........


  • Anonymous

    In reply to birdlady1:

    Hi Sue

    I hadn't seem LRB's post either!

    I'm so sorry this has upset you all over again and I do feel that his advice/warning, although completely justified generally, is unnecessary in your particular case. There is so much evidence that Lucky is a normal, independent and functional bird.

    There have been so many cries for help on this forum by well meaning people who are in danger of taking a bird out of its natural environment that I think Buzzard's post should be readily available. People then have some information on which to base a decision on what to do. 

    On a happier note, how is Lucky doing at the moment?

    Pipit x

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Hi Pipit.thankyou so much for that I am afraid I am most proberbly going to be an out cast on here seems so harsh when I read this over and over again.but on a very Happy note................

    Lucky is wonderfull.he is so night time he is at the back of us or 3 houses away ...sat right at the top of a tree yelling his head off.............

    I actually managed to zoom in on him but the little tike had his back to us..........he is still around and happily keeping company with another sometimes...and comes and goes every 2-3 days or so.........

    I sit watching the tele in the conservatory with a HUGE smile on my face because he sings so load I can hear him from say 400 yds away..

    Thankyou so much for asking.

    Sue.and Lucky....


    SUE and LUCKY..just call me    Mrs Early Bird.....x

    Our house operate's  soley for our animals and birds......Love me love my animals........


  • Anonymous

    In reply to birdlady1:

    Hi LRB

    Thank you for sorting out issues here so hopefully people will read and take your advice on board.

    I feel I am repeating myself quite a bit at the moment.

    If only chicks where not so cute they would not have that 'rescue me' look about them.

    Thank you Buzzard for initating the whole issue so it is clear to people.


    Kathy and Dave

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Sue - I think it is important to highlight this is about fledglings, not chicks as lucky was when he was rescued there is a big difference.  Fledglings are on their way to becoming independant and are more often than not will soon start feeding themselves.  They put themselves in stupid places but the best thing to do is simply move them somewhere safer rather than bring them indoors.  As long as the parent bird is nearby then they will defend the fledgling and the chances are that the parents won't be too far away, not to mention all the other birds that are around defending their chicks too and they will see off many threats.  A lot of the threads are people concerned about the fledglings not being able to fly when this is completely normal for the first few days, possibly longer depending on when they left the nest. 

    Millie & Fly the Border Collies

  • Anonymous

    In reply to KatTai:

    Hi Kat

    Well done {big smile}

    Nicely put and another great way to explain to people that 'cute' chicks are just being 'cute chicks'


    Kathy and Dave


  • In reply to Anonymous:

    This is probably a good time to bring this thread to the top again, as there are so many 'cute fluffy' fledglings around that may look like they need 'rescuing' when they probably don't.

    Best wishes Chris

    Click Here to see my photos

  • There is a magpie fledgling in my garden just sitting there, it's been here for 3 days now and the mother was watching it this morning but im not sure if she fed it. Will it eventually fly over my 6ft garden fence?
  • This is certainly a good thread to 'bump'.

    Re the latest magpie post, how are you sexing the parent birds? How do you know it's a parent of the youngster?

    For it to be in the same place for 3 days, it is presumably being fed.