Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by ellen
Have you ever found a baby blackbird or other bird and wondered what to do? Each spring, it seems like we find a baby animal or baby bird that isn’t with its mother. Sometimes they fall out of the nest or the mother abandons it. Either way, what should you do when that happens?
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Found a Baby Blackbird
Once you’ve found a baby blackbird or other baby bird out of its nest it’s tempting to pick it up and try to take care of it. But, most of the time, the mother bird is in the area and is trying to take care of it herself.
Most of the time, the best thing to do is nothing at all. It isn’t easy to let it be. But, if the mother is caring for the baby bird and you interfere, she may abandon it completely.
Did you know that normally, only about 30% of songbirds survive their first year of life? I know this seems horrible. But, it is nature’s way of preventing overpopulation in the wild.
It holds true for many birds and animals.
What kind of black bird is it?
A bird identification chart can be helpful. There are many types of black birds. Juvenile birds or young birds often look different than the adults.
If you have a black bird with a brown head, it is a cowbird. If you have a black bird with red and white or yellow stripes on its wings it is a red wing blackbird.
Here are a few tips on what to do when you’ve found a baby blackbird. If you aren’t sure, it is best to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to assess the situation.
They will know exactly what to do with the baby black bird to ensure it lives.
Is it hurt?
The first thing you should do is look carefully at the bird to see if it is injured. Do this without touching the bird.
If you see blood or an obvious injury like a broken wing or leg, you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator for help. Finally, you should do the same thing if it’s been attacked by a cat.
How old is it?
A hatchling black bird is 0 to 3 days old and will generally have its eyes closed with only tufts of feathers present. A nestling is 3 to 13 days old Its eyes are open but it’s feathers are still closed so it is not able to fly yet.
Fledglings are over 13 days old and their feathers are fully formed. It may not be the greatest flyer, but it can walk and hop and move around. Chances are that the mother is in the area watching it at this stage.
Once you’ve determined its health and condition, you can determine what the best course of action is. So, keep reading for a few tips so you know what to do if you have found a baby blackbird.
What do you do if you found a baby bird that fell out of its nest?
If you have found a baby bird and can clearly tell that it is a hatchling or fledgling, you can return it to its nest. Look carefully in the area and try to find a nest that it may have fallen from. Adult birds do not have a great sense of smell and will not be able to tell you have moved it.
If the bird is a fledgling, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. It is learning to fly and take care of itself. The mother bird is in the area watching it and encouraging it. They do not need your help. If it is in your yard and you have an outside cat, keep it inside until the bird has moved on.
Don’t bring the bird inside and try to take care of it because this is illegal and is never a good idea. The Migratory Bird Act of 198 protects wild birds. If you do not have a license to care for a wild bird, it is illegal for you to bring it inside. It’s best to leave this to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can find one in your state by checking out this list that will direct you to a resource for each state.
The bird needs to learn its living skills from its parents. And, it will not learn those skills from you. The bird will not be able to survive in the wild once it’s grown. And, it will not be happy inside a house or a cage with you. As hard as it is, it is best to leave the bird alone where it is.
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Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.