It is that time of year again - we're having a lot of baby birds handed into the clinic, so it is a good time for a refresher on fledglings. It is a common misconception that if a baby bird is on the ground, it has fallen out of its nest and will not survive. However, it is exactly where it is supposed to be. And by removing it you could be hindering the birds ‘chance of survival. If the baby bird is still a little fluffy and seems to have the start of feathers, they are called a fledgling and have left the nest. They learn to fly and survive from the ground up. Their parents are never far away and continue to protect and care for them until they can fly.
A healthy fledgling will hop around, may vocalise and are often gaping for food from their parents. They are cute and clumsy and these are all normal behaviours and means the bird is healthy. If you are concerned about a fledgling’s safety you may be able to move them to a safe place such as a close by bush or off a busy path. Although, it is important to understand that they are learning how to live in the real world, so if they are close to a road or a busy bike path they need to watch their parents and learn how to survive there. A baby bird’s best chance of survival is with its parents in the wild.
If you find a fledgling that is injured, you can take it to the nearest vet. It is always a good idea to call ahead to let them know you are coming down, and the extent of the bird’s injuries so that they can prepare for your arrival, or advise appropriate action. If you are ever unsure you can always contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300