Baby Birds Big and Small at WildCare

It’s official! Spring has arrived, and with it, baby birds fallen from their nests and needing help in WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital.

According to our Birdroom Manager, the majority of the 20 baby Western Scrub Jays currently in our care fell from their nests and then were caught by cats. In fact, the majority of young birds we admit were caught by cats. Any baby bird that is still fluffy needs immediate warmth and care, and any animal caught by a cat needs medical attention and antibiotics.

The three Western Scrub Jays in the video above came from a collapsed nest in a San Francisco backyard. Observation of the nest showed that the parent jays were still nearby, so Medical Staff was hopeful that we could get these extremely healthy and well-fed nestlings back to their parents. We don’t know where the old wives’ tale that a baby bird can’t be returned to the nest started, because it is COMPLETELY UNTRUE! A warm and healthy baby bird can absolutely be returned to his nest and his parents’ care. WildCare successfully reunites baby birds frequently, and we often help callers on our Living with Wildlife Hotline 415-456-SAVE (7283) do the same.

Renesting can sometimes be challenging, however, and it can fail if not done correctly. Always check with a licensed wildlife care center like WildCare before attempting to renest a baby bird. Remember too that raising a baby wild bird takes an extraordinary amount of time, energy and training, and the consequences to the baby bird of an improper diet, improperly-timed feedings or improper caging can be deadly. Please always take an baby bird that is cold, injured or orphaned to WildCare or your closest wildlife care center. Click here for a helpful flowchart to determine if a baby bird needs help!

A recheck of these jays’ nesting site Wednesday morning, however, showed no sign of the parents or any scrub jay activity. Concerned that the parent birds may not still be in the area, WildCare made the decision to keep these babies in care and raise them until they’re ready to return to the wild. They will be released when they are old enough.

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These two tiny woodpeckers (below) arrived when their cavity nest was accidentally cut from a tree.

As a WildCare supporter, you already know that you should put off any pruning or trimming of trees and bushes that isn’t an emergency because any branch could contain a nest of helpless babies. But be aware that cavity-nesting birds like woodpeckers and some species of owl are also nesting. Any opening in a branch or trunk could be housing fluffy babies right now. Unfortunately these babies did not survive their ordeal.

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The little sparrows in the video below were found on the sidewalk at a local mall. It’s quite a miracle that they weren’t stepped on, as tiny and helpless as they are! Their nest couldn’t be found, so these birds will stay in care at WildCare. At this young age, they will be fed a specially-prepared diet every 30 minutes from dawn to dusk. Medical notes for these babies say they were shy at first, but soon learned to gape for our Birdroom Manager. They should grow up strong and healthy under the care of experienced staff and volunteers in WildCare’s Birdroom.

If you find a baby bird on the ground, always check around for other babies. Where there is one, there are often more! Babies should be kept together and kept warm until they can be brought to WildCare or your nearest rescue center. When you find a baby bird, also do a good search around the area to look for the nest and the activity of the parent birds. If the babies survived their fall from the nest without injury and are warm, if the nest can be found, and the parent birds are nearby, a reunite may be possible. Call WildCare for advice in that situation at 415-456-SAVE (7283).

This nestling hawk in the video below was found on the ground near the 18th hole of a golf course! He’s almost old enough to be a “brancher,” that is, a raptor chick that is big enough to explore outside his nest, so he probably got a bit too adventurous and toppled out of the nest onto the ground. He’s perfectly healthy, so volunteers are working to return him to his parents’ care. WildCare (working closely with the Hungry Owl Project and a volunteer tree climber from Small World Tree Company) has great success returning nestling raptors to their nests. We successfully reunited a White-tailed Kite with his parents just a week ago!

In this video the young hawk isn’t very hungry and he’s not used to being fed from tweezers, but he’s still interested enough to take a few bites. We will feed him and keep him warm until volunteers are able to take him for the reunite attempt. In the unlikely event that the reunite fails, he would return to care until he’s old enough to be released.

Help WildCare care for baby birds like these! Click to donate today.

This entry was posted in Wildlife Patient Stories by Alison Hermance.

3 Responses to “Baby Birds Big and Small at WildCare”

  1. Jane Dalpino

    Thanks for showing this and for the work you do.

    Reply
  2. DIANE KASTEL

    THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL, CARING, DEDICATED WORK THAT YOU DO TO SAVE LIVES OF BIRDS AND MAMMALS. I AM SO SORRY FOR THE TWO BABY WOODPECKERS NOT MAKING IT. DO YOU KNOW WHY?

    Reply
    • Alison Hermance

      Unfortunately we don’t know why the baby woodpeckers didn’t survive! Their medical checks showed them to be healthy despite their nest’s fall from the tree. That’s one of the hardest thing in wildlife medicine– the number of unknowns.

      Reply

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