How to Save a Baby Bird

By Nicky Sutton
If you locate part of a nest, place it into a box or ice-cream tub with the baby bird.
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If you come across a helpless baby bird, give it a second chance at life. The wind can blow a baby bird out of its nest or it can be pushed out by one of its siblings. If you spot a nest on the ground, remember that some birds, such as sandpipers, killdeer and plovers, build their nests on the ground. Leave the nest alone unless it has fallen from a tree. Before animal or bird rescue can pick up the baby bird, improve its chances of survival by taking some basic steps.

Pick up the baby bird and warm it in your hands. Keep it warm or it may die. It is not true that adult birds will reject their babies if they have a human scent.

Look for the nest and put the baby bird back. Leave right away, as your presence may stress the mother.

Protect your own safety and do not attempt to reach the nest if it is too high or awkwardly positioned. Take the bird inside if you cannot find the nest or it has been destroyed.

Put a folded, clean, dry towel into a small cardboard box. Punch five or six small holes in the lid of the box. Place the baby bird on top of the towel. Fill two drink bottles with hot water and put them against the outside of the box on either side.

Make a mock nest by lining a small wicker basket with paper towels. Use an ice-cream tub if you do not have a basket. Make two or three holes in the bottom of the tub for drainage. Do not line the nest with grass or any other green foliage; it could be damp and chill the bird.

Put the mock nest into a tree at the site of the original nest. Ensure the nest has a tree canopy or other rain cover above. Avoid a spot in direct sunlight. Choose a site nearby if you cannot find a suitable spot. Place the nest into the crux of a tree branch, and secure wire around the nest and branch. Fasten the wire securely so that the wind will not topple the nest. Move the baby bird from its box to the new nest outside.

Move yourself out of sight. Watch the nest with binoculars for an hour. Look for the parents returning to feed the baby.

Take the bird inside if you see no sign of the parents and you are sure that they are gone. Put the baby in the towel-lined box and replenish the hot water in the bottles. Give the baby bird more heat if the room feels cold. Fill a rubber glove with warm water, tie it and place it in the box. Place a heat pad under the box.

Close the lid of the box to keep the baby warm and calm in the darkness. Do not feed the bird. Anything other than its own diet in the wild can choke or drown the bird.

Call a wildlife rehabilitator right away. Leave the bird alone while you wait for his arrival.