By Charlotte Owen
At this time of year it’s quite common to find baby birds on the ground that seem to have ‘fallen’ out of their nest.
If the bird has feathers then it is a fledgling and, unless it’s in immediate danger, the answer is: do nothing. It takes time for birds to learn how to fly and very few manage it on their first attempt. Fledglings often spend a few days on the ground waiting for their feathers to develop completely before they can fly. It can be distressing to see a baby bird flapping around trying to get off the ground but the parents will usually be close by, hidden away but spurring on their offspring with the promise of food. If you find a fledgling at risk from a predator or passing traffic, consider moving it to a more sheltered location such as a hedge. It’s a myth that touching a baby bird will cause its parents to abandon it, but it’s important not to move it too far away so that its parents are still able to find it.
blue tit nestlings © Lizzie Wilberforce
If the baby bird doesn’t have any feathers yet then it is still a nestling and should be returned to its nest. Doing so will not cause the parents to reject it. If you can’t see the nest or you find a baby bird that’s visibly injured, please contact a local wildlife rescue for assistance: sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/injuredwildlife