When should I Rescue Birds?

Posted by Jon in Animal Hospital, News on Wednesday 30/05/2018 19:18 +01:00.

At the best of times we received dozens of calls about birds, at this time of year with so many babies around, we get overwhelmed and sadly turn many away, many of which should not have been interfered with in the first place.

Before you intervene to rescue any bird, please consider the following points;

Does the bird need my help? – When birds first hatch out in the nest, their eye’s are initially closed and they have few feathers, they are very vulnerable and totally reliant on their parents. The top picture below is such a bird, a “nestling”. If found on the floor, they should be rescued.

After a few weeks, the birds fledge the nest with their eyes open and most of their feathers and become “fledgling”. Although they are still dependent on their parents, in time they learn to fly and become independent.

Fledglings are very vulnerable but should NOT be rescued, unless they are obviously ill or injured AND you have somewhere to take the bird. even an injured bird has an improved chance of survival in the wild, than in a box waiting for help.


  • Birds stand a far, far grater chance of survival in the wild, interfere as a LAST resort.
  • Don’t pick up healthy fledglings, even if there are cats around. there are cats everywhere.
  • NEVER force food or water on a bird, they will not die quickly of thirst or starvation, they will die quickly if you give them the wrong food or get food or water on their lungs. if they are in shock as most are, this will also lower their body temperature.
  • Keep in a dark box, keep warm (not hot) and keep quite, away from noises including voices.


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