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Baby fallen from nest:  Most birds have a poorly developed sense of smell, so it is possible to handle them without worrying the parents will smell you and reject the baby. If the baby bird is not fully feathered but appears healthy and warm, and you are sure you know which nest it fell from, it can be replaced in the nest. Make sure to observe the nest from a secluded location. If the parents have not returned in about 2 hours, or by dusk, the baby should be taken to a Rehabilitator. If the weather is poor, cold, or rainy, you may have to rescue the baby sooner.

Baby on the ground:  If the bird has feathers, it is probably a fledgling. These are "babies" that are ready to leave the nest, but still need time to learn to fly well and feed themselves. The parents will take care of them on the ground as they learn to do these things. If the fledgling appears healthy, it should be left alone. Cats, dogs, and children should be kept away. If need be, the fledgling can be placed on a low branch or in a bush for safety. Make sure to observe from a remote location. If the parents are not seen for 2 hours, or by dusk, one should call a Rehabilitator.


Whole nest down:  If the nest is just damaged, you can attempt to repair it with string or wire, BUT you MUST make sure there are no loose loops, tangles, or sharp points on which birds could injure themselves. If the nest was destroyed, a substitute nest can be made from a plastic berry basket. Line the substitute nest with old nest debris or clean straw (do not use paper or grass, as they will get wet and mildew). Replace the nest as close to the original as possible, and hang (if able). Make sure there is protection from direct sun, wind, rain, children, and cats.


For nests that have fallen from vents. A substitute nest can be made from a clean gallon container. Leave the cap on, cut a hole in the side for the parents to enter, and add drainage holes in the bottom. Hang this as near as possible to the original location.

Do not place a baby bird who is not feathered or has its eyes still closed in a substitute nest if there are still babies in the main nest. The parent will need to sit on this nest to keep the babies warm, and she can only sit on one nest! Refer to a Rehabilitator.

Nest is abandoned:  It is rare for a nest to be abandoned, and with many songbirds, both parents feed the babies. As the babies get older, the parents visit the nest less often, and the babies usually try to remain quiet and hidden when left alone. Watch the nest constantly from a secluded location for 2 hours to see if the parents return to feed. If not, refer to a Rehabilitator.

Ducklings:  If the duckling has been separated from its parents, the mother will not come back to retrieve the duckling.  Very carefully attempt to reunite the duckling with the correct parent, since a mother duck will drive away or even kill a baby that is not hers. You can try to locate the mother by holding the duckling securely in your arms as you walk around the lake. Allow the duckling to peep, as the mother will respond in a frantic, angry manner to its cries. If you cannot locate the mother, take the baby to a Rehabilitator. It is unlikely to survive on its own. Keep the baby very warm using the methods described in the Rescue Guidelines page.


Ducklings fallen down grates: Keep the mother and any other babies in a box until the remaining ducklings can be rescued. To rescue, use two poles that will fit through the grates. Attach a hammock made of fabric and netting to the two poles (make sure the holes in the netting are small enough that the baby will not fall through them). Lower the poles/hammock to where the duckling is, scoop it into the hammock and then lift the entire device up through the grates. Reunite the baby with the mother and siblings in the box and then release.


Birds trapped in a house or store:  Birds will always fly towards the light. Attempt to confine the bird to a single room or area which has a door or window. Darken the room as best as possible and open the door or window.  Most times the bird will leave on its own.

Birds flying into windows:  ​This usually happens because the bird sees the reflection of the sky and flies right into it. The solution is eliminate or break up the reflection so the bird avoids it. Hanging something on the outside of the window such as paper, screening, mylar strips, windsocks, etc. may help. Use your imagination and go outside to check if you can still see the reflection.  You can also find information from the American Bird Conservancy.


Birds, most commonly robins and cardinals, will also attack a window during breeding season because they see their own reflection and think it is an intruder in their territory. Try similar measures as above.

Birds who have struck a window need to be seen by a rehabilitation as soon as possible.


Nest abandoned: Mother rabbits nurse their babies once or twice, and that is done at night, so it is very likely you'll never see her near the nest. One way of checking to see if the mother is visiting the nest is to take a few smooth sticks and lay them crisscross over the top of the nest. Check the sticks in 24 hours, and if the sticks have been disturbed but the nest itself is still covered, the mother has returned. Do not visit the nest frequently, because she will abandon it if humans or other animals are around too much.


Baby abandoned: Baby rabbits venture out of the nest at a very early age, and are on their own when quite small. If the bunny appears healthy and is not in any immediate danger, about the size of a softball, has fluffy fur and has ears that are upright, it can be left on its own.


Fawn abandoned: Mothers often leave the fawn alone for long periods of time. She will try to put the baby in a spot where it is well camouflaged. The fawn has almost no scent to attract predators, and the mother is usually nearby. She will return to nurse every 4-6 hours, but will stay away if humans are around. Rescue is not necessary unless the doe has not returned in 12 hours, is known to be dead, or the fawn appears ill or injured.


Babies fallen from nests: Squirrels usually have more than one nest, and the mother will often rescue her babies. Fallen babies can be placed in a small box with sides that are high enough so that the babies cannot climb out, but low enough to allow the mother to get in and carry them out. Place box as near to the tree you think they fell out of, and watch from a secluded location to see if the mother returns - she will not come out if she senses your presence. Keep dogs, cats, and children away.


REFER TO A REHABILITATOR (unless otherwise noted) if the babies have not been rescued by a parent within 2 hours or before nightfall; if the weather is very cold or rainy; if the babies are not moving or have no/minimal fur.  Always call if in doubt.  T/410-740-5096. 


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