There is a great deal of misinformation about what you should do with baby birds and a great number of birds die unnecessarily as a result. Certain national domestic animal charities run huge campaigns each year telling the public never to pick up a baby bird. If you call them you’ll likely be told to leave the bird alone regardless of the situation, any injuries and the age of the bird.

It certainly is important not to interfere when not needed but each situation should be assessed individually and ideally by a wildlife expert. There is no one single appropriate response to a baby bird situation. One common myth is that once you have touched a baby the parents won’t take it back. This is not true for birds as they actually have quite a poor sense of smell and recognise their young by sound. So, if a baby’s parents are still around but the baby is simply in a precarious place, you can safely pick up and move the bird to a safer place nearby.

The sad fact is that baby bird casualties run into many, many thousands each year. Caring for them is extremely resource intensive, pretty mundane, messy and sometimes disappointing as a fair number will die. As a result, some organisations are keen to avoid taking them in and not above giving out incorrect information to achieve this. The advice which follows is unbiased. It is based on many years of experience in caring for baby birds but with nothing to gain from giving you incorrect information. Our only motive is ensuring that baby birds are given the help they need when they need it.

NB: All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act which means it is an offence to harm them or interfere with their nests, or to take them from the wild unless they are sick or injured. Once contained, they are also protected by the Animal Welfare Act which protects them from unnecessary suffering.

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