When To Help Fallen Nesting Birds

It's tempting to want to help a baby bird on the ground, but nesting birds usually are fine on their own.

Jill Staake

Nesting season is underway in many places, or will be soon. Nesting birds are a lot of fun to observe, and even give you the chance to help provide scientists with valuable information right from your own neighborhood. But as nesting begins, there are a few factors to remember when it comes to whether or not these birds actually need help from humans. I could get into lots of details, but this wonderful graphic from the talented Rosemary Mosco at birdandmoon.com really sums up all you need to know!

Nesting Birds by Rosemary Mosco

Created by Rosemary Mosco, birdandmoon.com

And really, it’s that simple. Resist the urge to bring the baby bird into your home or to try to care for an injured bird on your own. (In fact, there are laws prohibiting the average citizen from possessing wild birds, even if your intent is only to help.) Oh, and if you run into that dinosaur… well, sorry, you’re on your own!

Rosemary has made a printable PDF of this chart available for wildlife rehab centers and other educational organizations. You’ll find it here (and you can get a version without the dinosaur, if you prefer).

There are plenty of ways you can help nesting birds, by creating the right environment for their nest attempts to be successful. Learn how to help nesting birds by clicking here.

  1. NANCY DONAHUE says

    The people next door had a nest on one of their gutters last yr and he knocked it down and we seen it and found 2 babies. We told him and his wife and she said to put it back. The about a week later we had a big storm with alot of winds and we looked out and it was down again so we got out in the rain and put it back but only 1 baby lived. We got to see it fly out of the nest then we were afraid a cat was going to get it. I’m hoping it made it.

  2. Kate Snider says

    A coule of years ago, I saved a baby robin, it didn’t even have all it’s feathers yet, I put the little bird in a shoe box and took it the vet to see how I should care for it! She told me to grind up dog kibble mix with water hand fed it with the end of plastic spoon, as she started to get bigger, I started feeding her worms from the bait shop it didn’t take long for her to learn how to pick the worms out of dirt all by her self, she learn how to fly and soon was staying outside at night, but would be waiting on the roof of the house every morning and would fly right down to me, and soon after that she was a big bird on her own! When ever I see a robin in my yard, I always wonder if it is squeaky!

  3. Shelly says

    I learned the hard way about peeking in nests. Robin’s had nested in a lilac outside the front door and I quietly and unobtrusively watched them coming and going. Then I decided to get a ladder and just look in from a ways back, away from the tree, at the top of the ladder. As soon as I had climbed about 3 rungs the fledglings saw me, panicked, and jumped out of the nest. I hadn’t even gotten eye level yet. We tried desperately to catch the babes and put them back, to no avail. They could almost fly and hopped crazy fast. I hope they were big enough to survive. We left for the weekend and the birds were gone when we got back. Now, no matter how much I want to see the progression of eggs to chicks, I will never try to look in a nest again.

  4. Darla says

    Any ideas on how to speak to people about Robin’s building nests every year on their upper ledge of porch. It’s a great place for a nest with a overhanging roof right above it. The people knock it off with a long pole every single year. They don’t seem to care if the nest has eggs or baby birds in it. The nesting period isn’t that long but they just don’t seem to like birds at all. I have taken the nest and put it in my pine tree but I can’t seem to get it to stay put. The birds are better suited to tucking it into branches. There are robins galore here but that’s not the point.

  5. Jane says

    I have volunteered at a Wildlife Center for 7 years. Please take injured or orphaned birds, animals, and reptiles to a licensed facility where they can be properly cared for! We get in many little patients that have been fed inappropriate things or forced to drink, causing them harm. If a Wildlife Center is not close to you, they may be able to refer you to a licensed rehabilitator nearby.

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