Rescuing Wildlife - Birds

Now that we are well and truly in to spring, you may have noticed more wildlife around, particularly birds, and you may have even been swooped by some magpies!

This is due to spring being the season where birds hatch their young, leading to very protective parents, and in some occasions the young are found outside of their nest.

If you do happen to find a young bird outside of its nest or tree here are some tips of when and how to rescue them.

When NOT to rescue a wild bird:

-               Nestlings: If a nestling has a cover of feathers, is vigorous and the parents are around. Nestlings are young baby birds that are featherless or have the beginning of feathers, and can’t stand or perch.

Instead of removing the bird from its environment, place the young bird back into its nest or a substitute nest at the bottom of the same or nearby tree, and ensure that the parents are seen to return to the nestling. Substitute nests can be made from an ice-cream containers with a few holes and filled with newspaper/leaf litter

-               Fledglings: If a fledgling is in good condition, vigorous and begging/chirping to its parents, and the parents are around. A fledgling is a fully feathered juvenile bird, out of the nest, and can perch and flap but not necessarily fly. For example a juvenile magpie, juvenile magpies can spend up to 14 days on the ground before flying.

Place it at the bottom of the tree, or on a branch of the tree where it was found and wait for the parents to return to the young

-               Adults: If an adult bird is simply resting on the ground and is vigorous when approached, please leave the bird in its environment.


When to rescue a wild bird:

-               If a nestling is unfeathered, the parents are not seen, appears dull and/or is not very responsive.

-               If a fledgling is dull, easily approached with no fuss from the bird, and/or the parents are not around.

-               If a nestling, fledgling or adult bird is injured in any way

When rescuing a wild bird please handle it as little as possible as they get stressed quite easily which will affect their health and recovery. Please gently collect the nestling with a towel or piece of clothing, place it in an enclosed box, and take it to the nearest vet clinic to be assessed and cared for.

It is not recommended that you care for and feed and a wild bird at home, as they require a specific type of food and care depending on the type of bird.

If you are unable to rescue a bird and take it into a vet clinic yourself, please contact Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535