As well as lambs frolicking, and ducklings waddling, this is also peak time of year to find baby birds seemingly abandoned.

Today’s tip is what to do when you find a baby bird.

Work out the age
There is a difference between tiny baby birds and their older brothers and sisters, fledglings. Fledglings are like toddlers taking their first steps toward freedom. They are old enough to take short flights while they build up their flight feathers, muscles and skills. Fledglings are still fed by their parents who will be nearby and keeping a close eye on their offspring.

If you find a baby bird covered in fluff without any real feathers, it may be that it is best to leave it where it is. It is very unlikely that such babies will live to see adulthood. It is possible that its parents have abandoned it for the sake of their other chicks. If possible, move it to a safer place. Make sure it is close to where you found it so it can call to its parents.

Work out the risk
Fledglings should be out of the nest and will be being fed regularly by their folks. It is best, if it is safe to do so, to leave these little fluffers to themselves. If you think the situation is dangerous for any reason, then it may be time to intervene. If you live in a cat-heavy area, your conscience probably won’t be very happy with you leaving the chick to fend for itself. Another likely scenario would be if you can clearly see the bird is injured.

What to do
If you feel you need to rescue a fledgling, one option is to make a makeshift nest from a cardboard box, place the bird in the box and put it in a safe place like high up in the branches of the tree you think it may have come from. Another last resort option is to take the bird in. It is very difficult to raise a young bird safely unless you know exactly what type of bird it is, and can meet its dietary requirements. The best thing may well be to take the bird to a rescue centre. There are lots of nature centres around the country and they will be expecting a high number of bird rescues at this time of year.

Further information
The RSPB website has good information about all aspects of the bird population including a page all about baby birds. Do note that the RSPB do not run a rescue service. If you need further advice or just don’t know where to start, ring the RSPCA.

Of course, now is also a good time of year to remember to care for all wild birds. Leaving out good quality bird seed and suet pellets is a great way to feed birds who are new parents, and those who have just finished a long migration. Check out our brilliant seed tins and bird houses – go the extra mile for our feathered friends.