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Hands off those baby birds

JAMPD tips on abandoned, nesting and fledgling birds

From the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District (via Facebook):

"The phone calls to the Park Office are increasing every day. Let's have a quick clarification on abandoned, nestling and fledgling birds on this Wildlife Wednesday.

"Abandoned-baby birds (animals) are rare. Unless you physically see the deceased parents near the nest (or burrow or den) DO NOT DISTURB the baby animal.

Your first impulse may be to help the young bird, but in the great majority of cases the young bird doesn’t need help. In fact, intervening often makes the situation worse. Parents are most likely foraging and will soon return. They're not just feeding themselves but 4 other mouths. If the parent is deceased, you can call a wildlife rehabilitator. DO NOT attempt to raise the baby on your own. Federal and state licenses are required for many baby animals. A list of rehabilitators located within an hour of Lima will be provided at the end of this post.

"Nestling is a baby bird with fluff or fuzz covering its body. The wings are not fully ready to fly yet. They cannot hop, flit or walk. If a nestling falls out of the nest, simply return the nestling to the nest. The old story our parents told us of getting our scent on the bird and the parents rejecting the bird is simply just not true. (sorry mom). bird parents DO NOT recognize their babies by scent. If the nest has been destroyed you can make a new one with an old towel/washcloth, place the chick back inside and watch for at least 30 minutes to see if the parents come back.

"Fledgling: Most of the baby birds people find are fledglings. These are young birds that have just left the nest, and can’t fly yet, but are still under the care of their parents, and do not need our help.. Fledglings are feathered and capable of hopping or flitting, with toes that can tightly grip your finger or a twig .When fledglings leave their nest they rarely return, so even if you see the nest it’s not a good idea to put the bird back in—it will hop right back out. Usually there is no reason to intervene at all beyond putting the bird on a nearby perch out of harm’s way and keeping pets indoors. The parents may be attending to four or five young scattered in different directions, but they will return to care for the one you have found. You can watch from a distance to make sure the parents are returning to care for the fledgling.

Bottom line: remember that the vast majority of “abandoned” baby birds are perfectly healthy fledglings whose parents are nearby and watching out for them. Please observe for at least 30 minutes or more before you make the decision to "rescue" a bird or any wildlife. While wild animal and human parents care deeply for their offspring to grow to adults, wild animal parents spend many, many hours foraging for food to feed their young. This means their babies are often left alone for most of the day.

Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators:

Nature's Nursery-Whitehouse, Ohio 419-877-0060

Bruckner Nature Center- Troy, Ohio 937-698-6493

Wyandot County Humane Society, Upper Sandusky, Ohio

419-294-4477