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Get the baby bird contained

To keep the baby bird safe while you figure out how to help it, put the bird in a small cardboard box with a soft towel or t-shirt. Even on a warm day babies can get cold, so give it a heat source:

  • a clean sock filled with dry, uncooked rice, and microwaved for one minute
  • a plastic bottle from the recycling bin filled with hot tap water
  • an electric heating pad set to “LOW” and placed under half of the box.

Put the box in a dark, quiet spot, and read on for further instructions.

If the baby bird hops or runs really well and is difficult to catch, leave it alone but keep a close an eye on it. It might be a normal situation. Read on to find out if you should contain it after all.

Look at the pictures below. Choose the one that look MOST LIKE the baby bird you’ve found.

Nestling songbird

some feathers or naked, can’t hop or run, might “chirp” or open mouth to beg for food

Fledgling songbird

fully feathered (or almost!), short tail, hops or runs, might “chirp” or open mouth to beg for food

Baby dove or pigeon

yellow or white “hairs” covering body or poking through feathers, long beak with a big bump on it, might make a “peeping” sound

Baby duck or goose

covered in fluff or down, able to walk or run, webbed feet

Baby hawk, owl, or falcon

white fluff or down (either all over body or poking through feathers), big yellow talons, hooked beak

Baby sandpiper or killdeer

covered in fluff or down, able to walk or run, long legs, no webbing on toes


Other/I don’t know the species