Found a Baby Bird? It can be quite challenging to know when to rescue a bird or not. Obvious cases are when the bird has been injured (by cat/dog, window, car, etc), even window stricken birds that seem 'ok' can suffer from shock and concussion, and in the end die somewhere else after having just enough ability to fly away.
Baby birds can be more of a challenge. Follow the instructions on the link below. HOWEVER, know that sometimes a fledgling is in fact ill or already been harmed, and one simply cannot tell. If you place a feathered baby bird back in a tree and it falls out again, or if it is sitting on the ground with its eyes closed or not alert, then you might have a sick bird. If you can walk right up to it and it does not attempt to get away, that's another sign of a problem. If you are concerned, call or text us and we can help determine if the bird needs help.
The links below provide basic information on how to determine if a bird needs to be rescued, how to do that, and then for those interested, a discussion of the value of rescue.
1) What kind of bird is it? Songbird? Duck or other water bird? Shorebird? Did you find it near the water, under a tree, on the street, in a field, on the beach, in a parking lot? The general type of bird can often be determined by its found location: pavement - any songbird or a grounded waterbird; field - game birds like quail or songbirds; beach - shorebirds or sea ducks; tree - songbirds (or raptor or crows).
2. Is it naked, have pin feathers? Are his feathers wrapped in 'tubes' (called 'pins'), which are developing feathers, or does he simply look like a smaller version of a bird (fledgling). See link above.
3. Is it hurt? Does it have blood on it, look in poor health, is it likely to be hurt - did a cat get it or did it hit a window.
4. Is it tame? All birds are stressed when injured or scared. Stress, like in humans, causes them to be inactive and seemingly "tame" - however, this is a survival mechanism that tells them to be as quiet and inconspicuous as they can (like you would be wise to do if a grizzly bear got you). Do not cuddle, stroke, or baby talk the bird. Simply follow directions for rescue.
Grebes and other water birds:
In the fall, winter, and spring it is common to find these birds on the pavement, it likely just landed on the pavement thinking it was water. During migration these birds can run out of energy and need to land, especially in a bad storm.
Most often these birds are just fine and just need to go to a large or medium sized lake. Depending on the type of grebe, a river could suffice. The pied-billeds, eared, or horned grebes (little round jobbies, with short bills), need a lake not a river.
All water birds risk losing their waterproofing and having their feathers harmed by being handled by humans. Please do not handle the bird or pet it. Any bird like this kept in captivity - especially these little ones - lose their waterproofing FAST (1 or 2 days)...and then you have an unreleasable bird that will HAVE to go to a professional rehabber. The care of these birds is hard work to keep them in a condition they can be released.
Here are some general rules about waterbirds;
1) First, they are HARD to rehab.
2) DO NOT FEED: Never feed any bird that needs rescue. A dehydrated bird will not be able to process food, and the food can compact its guts and kill it. Some migrating birds intestines reduce in size for migration - you can kill them by feeding them as their intestines are not ready for food.
3) Warmth is the first thing any rescued bird needs: For a grebe (who can overheat due to their down) just being in a house is warm enough. Other birds, place the bird on a towel in a box (not a huge box). Place the box somewhere warm. Put a heating pad on low under the box. Once the box feels warm, place another towel in between the box and the pad.
4) Find a rehabber: call your local state or federal fish and wildlife; call a local veterinarian; go here; or contact the NWRA Central Office at 320-230-9920 to try to locate an NWRA member in your area.
5) Waterbirds: Please do not put the bird in a bathtub, since the soap scum that exists on the sides of most tubs even after scrubbing is usually how these birds lose their waterproofing. These birds poop can be quite oily from eating fish, once they poop, the oils get on their feathers and they lose their waterproofing (kinda like a mini fish oil spill).
Non waterproof Horned Grebe.
6) Getting waterproofing back - You can't. Please take it to a rehabber...she will have to be professionally cared for. ONLY experienced rehabbers can do this....it takes EXPERIENCE to return the waterproofing to a bird's feathers. The bird will NOT get its waterproofing back in the wild....it will get hypothermia and die.
Th horned grebe above is almost waterproof but not quite. Can you locate the spots on this bird that are not waterproof? (There are several).
Please do not let children or pets near these birds.
If you need further help than this, or if your rehabber would like some suggestions, you may contact me at 541-728-8208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.