What do I do if I find a baby bird on the ground?

Local News

Placing it in the nearest tree is the right thing to do if you find a black-chinned hummingbird or any bird on the ground. Its parent will find and feed it soon. (Courtesy of DWR)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Although the coronavirus has altered a lot of things, wildlife is still on schedule to have their babies this spring. So, if you are out and about on a social distancing spring walk, the Division of Wildlife Resource has provided some tips on what to do if you find some baby birds.

According to the DWR, it is not unusual to find a baby bird on the ground this time of year. Birds are hatching and often leave their nests before they are able to fly.

“They usually chirp and call from the nest, waiting for their parents to bring food to them,” Blair Stringham, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources migratory game bird program coordinator, said. “Sometimes, that results in them falling from their perch.” 

So, if you find a baby bird, here is what you should do:

Put it back in it’s nest if it doesn’t have feathers.

If a bird is small and featherless, place it back in it’s nest. If you cannot find it’s nest, put the bird on a branch safely and out of reach of dogs or cats.

Never take a baby bird home. Most birds are protected by state and federal laws and it is against the law in Utah to posses wild animals without special permits.

Don’t feed the bird.

Birds have very specific diets and feeding them something that’s not part of their diet can be harmful to them.

“For example, many people are surprised to learn that robins are among only a handful of birds that can safely eat worms. Most birds can’t,” Stringham said.

Leave it alone if it has feathers.

If you have found a baby bird that is hopping around, you have actually found a bird that isn’t really a baby anymore. If the bird isn’t in danger, leave it alone. The hopping stage a bird goes through is part of the natural process a bird goes through before it takes flight. Don’t worry, the bird’s parents are still watching it and feeding it.

What about baby ducks?

If you find a duckling on the ground that looks like it has maybe been separated from it’s parents, don’t move it or try to put in the water. Leave the baby ducks alone unless they are trapped in a storm drain or somewhere dangerous like a swimming pool.

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