Spring is in the air, which at AWLA means we’re starting to get lots of calls about wild babies! Some of the most common calls our Animal Control officers receive are from residents concerned about baby birds who have fallen out of the nest. We will always take in birds that are injured or truly orphaned, but we will always try to reunite them with their parents first. More often than not, all these birds need is a little bit of help from us…or you!
The first thing we always try when a baby bird has fallen out of the nest is simply to put them back. However, there are many situations where the nest is unreachable or the entire nest has fallen out of the tree. In these cases, re-nesting the baby birds can be very successful, and it’s easy to do! Our officers re-nest baby birds frequently throughout the spring, and we encourage members of the public to do the same.
Step One – find a small basket, berry container, cut in half milk jug (tape the rough edges), or any container that naturally has holes for drainage or something you can poke holes into. It must have sides tall enough so that the babies don’t fall out again.
Step Two – fill the container with natural materials such as leaves, grasses, and small twigs. If you have the original nest, you can place it directly into the new container or use these materials to line the new nest. Gently place the babies into the new nest. Always wear gloves when handling wildlife. It is a myth that the parents won’t come back if you touch the babies with your bare hands, but you can pass diseases to the babies, and vice versa.
Step Three – place the new nest as close to where the original is (or was) as possible. The parents need to be able to hear the babies in order to find them. You can zip-tie the nest to a tree, place it inside a bush, or hang from a branch nearby. Make sure the nest is sturdy and protected from the sun and rain.
Step Four – give the parents a few hours to find their babies again. Parents feed their babies multiple times an hour. They are very fast and secretive. If you don’t see them come to the nest after a few hours, you can check for evidence of their presence…poop! Baby birds defecate immediately after being fed, and the parents will later remove the waste from the nest. Pro-tip: If you place a clean tissue underneath the babies, you should be able to see evidence of poop even after the nest has been cleaned. Just remember to remove the tissue once you’ve checked.
If you come across wildlife that is sick, injured, or orphaned, or you’re just not sure if it needs assistance or not, call our Animal Control team at (703) 931-9241 or email email@example.com.