HELP! This little bird fell out of its nest at a friend’s house. The rest of its siblings have already fledged, but it was sitting on the doorstep under its nest alone. Its parents are nowhere to be found and its nest is up on a light so can’t be reached without a ladder. What to do?
This (robin?) birds flight feathers are still emerging, but it looks to be very close to proper fledging age. If his siblings have already fledged, then he’s ready as well. Most birds leave the nest before they are able to fully fly–which is why they are so vulnerable to cats. At the moment, he’s alert and healthy and probably being cared for by his parents. Your intentions are great, but please do not interfere. Give this guy lots of distance, so that his parents can continue to bring him food on the ground. He’ll spend another week or so on the ground before his flight skills are really developed. He and his siblings will split up (a good survival strategy) and his parents will leave him alone most of the time except when bringing food. They’ll even continue to carry his fecal sacs away for awhile. If the parents hung around him constantly, then their continued presence would alert predators to his whereabouts. He’s going to be just fine.
Thanks so much! Yeah, I saw that its feathers were coming in nicely and it seemed healthy, but wasn’t sure whether it was the right age to be out of the nest. The chick got a little scared and backed himself into a corner - I’m afraid we did stress him out a little despite our best intentions, but we quickly left him afterward. Should we leave a blanket or a towel or something out for him, or just leave him on the doorstep where he is? (Wikipedia said to put out a little plastic box with a towel?)
Looks like a seed-eating passerine, I’m not great in NA fledglings, but definitely not a Robin. And it is quite young to be out of nest, tbh, though if something stressed chicks out they could leave the nest and parents probably are feeding them at places where they are now. You can put him on a towel and leave for some time, checking through windows if parents are coming.
I would vote no. I would give a wide berth and don’t even stare at it or linger a long time. That may sound silly but predators watch the behavior of other animals to alert them to prey and your intentions, while good, may cause an unnecessary fatality. If you see acute distress or no parents bring food for a long while, contact a wildlife rehab person in your area or if legal, consult with professional resources to attempt rehab (last resort and again sometimes harmful though well-intentioned). I agree with @hill_jasonm that it is possibly a Robin and is close enough to fledging even if this wasn’t an intentional leaving of the nest that the parents should be left alone to care for it normally. The best thing you can do is keep cats and dogs indoors and not bring a lot of human/ food smells near the area as to attract raccoons or other scent-sensitive predators. While the process of hatching and fledging altricial chicks looks awful to our species it is the way it’s done by the experts (bird parents). The bird will hop, then hop/ fly for a while to move around before it’s feathers fully come in.
Yes. Very good advice.
Great thanks so much for all the help! My friend told me that it did hop away on its own after being left alone for a bit, so I think its parents might have come for it :)
Thanks for the update! I’m happy with that report :) best wishes to the little guy
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