Written By: Sarah Girton
Every spring and summer, wildlife rehabbers are inundated with calls from people finding baby birds that appear to be in danger or in distress. And many of these callers are asked further questions to determine whether or not the bird actually needs help. Quite often, the birds in question are fledglings: Baby birds who have recently left the nest as the next stage in their development. Most of the time these young birds still rely on their parents for food. They are awkward, scruffy (still sporting some of their baby down), and tend to make a lot of noise! But when is it appropriate to bring the baby bird to a rehabber? A general rule of thumb is to note whether the baby is fully feathered or not. If so, the baby should be left alone.
If the baby is naked, however, it is still considered a nestling and needs intervention ASAP. Below is a chart that provide great information on what to do if you find a baby bird. It is also a good idea to learn about the resources in your area so that you are prepared to make the call if need be.
For our Colorado/Front Range folks, I do want to highlight a few of our local rehabbers below. It might be worth bookmarking or printing out just in case the need ever arises!
- Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation (Pueblo) – 719-543-1946
- Catamount Wildlife Center (Woodland Park) – 719-687-9406 or 719-289-1946
- Rocky Mountain Wildlife Alliance (Sedalia – northwest of Castle Rock) – 303-831-8130
- Birds of Prey Foundation (Broomfield) – 303-460-0674
- Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation (Longmont) – 303-823-8455
Disclaimer: It’s also worth noting that here at Wild Birds Unlimited we are not experts in bird rehabilitation, and can not provide much advice except to refer you to an expert.
Baby season is such an exciting time of year, and it’s so fun to witness the next generation of birds as they grow, learn, and get to be their very best birdy selves! And hopefully now you will feel adequately prepared if one of them needs human intervention!