A Reader Has Questions About Young Bird–Can You Help?

A reader writes:

My neighbor ‘rescued’ a young bird tonight. I’d call it a ‘teenager,’ as it is mostly feathered and has just a little bit of down. She picked it up from the ground because her dogs were sniffing at it.

The bird is currently on my screened porch in a box with a soft cloth (I have to keep it safe from my own cats). From what I’ve read, you’re not supposed to pick birds off the ground but let their parents try to find them. Unfortunately, that part was a done deal.

Any local agency that might have some advice? Doesn’t sound like a job for the animal shelter or PAWS, but I just have no idea.

Anyone know what to do? Thanks in advance.

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  1. We’ve taken a couple of fledglings to The Raptor Trust, which is in Morris County (you’ll have to google it.) They have volunteers there who nurse all birds — not just raptors. They had a baby crow when we went, with bright blue eyes. They were pretty disappointed when our baby grackle turned out to be a baby starling, but they didn’t refuse her.

  2. Raptor is the place for sure; you can bring him anytime, day or nite, they have cat carriers set up for the birds when they are not there to get them. They are wonderful there 🙂 and if they can release the bird they will…..

  3. Thanks, everyone. Yes, I know about this wonderful place. I didn’t know they did this, though, I thought they only dealt with eagles, raptors, hawks and such. Will pass it along to her! 🙂

  4. First thing in the morning (at the crack of dawn) put the bird back where you found it, in the nearest protected place, such as underneath a bush or some underbrush. The bird will start calling and the parents will help guide it back to safety. Young birds get lost all the time–but usually people aren’t around to see this.

  5. In the vein of “if all else fails”: French gourmets are known to be very fond of tiny, youngish birds, called ortolans, which they eat bones and all…

  6. Cahtar…in the vein of “all else fails,” you are certainly correct. In fact, back in my college days, a few of my fellow birding colleagues spent many weeks in the jungles of Central America doing field research and they basically ate whatever birds they were studying. I had one friend who ate nothing but Northern Flicker for ten days straight. And yes…Flicker does taste just like chicken.

  7. I once drove a hawk to Raptor Trust. On the way, it started to break out of the makeshift carrier a local vet had concocted for it. Awful to,be on I-287 and look back and see the head sticking out. I was afraid it was going to eat me, bones and all (made it to Raptor safely but set a new speed record on I-287).

  8. I also took a baby pigeon to the Turtle Back Zoo, which also had the staff to care for the baby bird. Water is important, and they may not know how to drink. Good luck!

  9. Thanks for everyone’s advice. The woman is taking the bird to Raptor Trust today and I will try and get updates.

    Kat1027: Yes, true about the water. An eyedropper can be helpful here.

  10. What a wonderful resource the Raptor Trust is – I had no idea it existed! How about a regular feature, baristas, on cool things nearby like this?

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