Songbirds

NESTLINGS

Nestlings have down like feathers, are generally fuzzy looking, and are
obviously immature

  • Nest on ground, with nestlings inside or nearby
    If you find a nest on the ground, tie it back into a nearby tree. The nest can be placed in a little tub or small box (with drainage holes). Do not use a strawberry basket because bird legs may get caught in the mesh. Watch from a distance to make sure a parent returns to the nest.
  • Nestling without feathers or with downy feathers found on ground
    If possible, locate the nest. If the bird does not appear injured, gently pick up the baby and place it in the nest. Make sure the other babies in the nest look like the one you are replacing. Watch the nest from a distance to confirm that the parent bird returns to the nest. This could take several hours. Even though you have touched the baby, the mother bird will not reject it. If you cannot find the nest, cannot reach it, or if the bird is injured, keep it warm and bring it to New Mexico Wildlife Center as quickly as possible. Do not attempt to feed it.

HUMMINGBIRD NESTLINGS

The mother will feed often, but it will only take a few seconds each time. It is easy to miss seeing her. Make sure you watch the nest without looking away for about an hour. Only if there is truly no mother coming to the nest should the babies be brought to New Mexico Wildlife Center. If, when you look at the nest, the babies are hunkered down in the nest and are silent, they are being cared for by their mother and do not need help.

FLEDGLINGS

Fledglings have replaced down feathers with flight feathers, but do not fly well and they can usually hop or jump to low branches. This period of being on the ground is a normal and necessary part of a bird developing the ability to fly. Keep your cats and dogs indoors while the fledgling is learning to fly. Watch from a distance to make sure its parents are feeding it. Do not pick up a fledgling bird. It probably does not need your help. The parents are attentive and will not abandon their offspring. If you don't see the parents after watching for several hours or the bird has been caught by a cat or otherwise injured, bring it to New Mexico Wildlife Center.

BIRD CAUGHT BY A CAT

Place the bird in a small box lined with a towel or shredded newspaper and bring it to New Mexico Wildlife Center as soon as possible. The bird will need antibiotics administered if it is to survive. Do not attempt to treat the wound yourself.

BIRD HIT WINDOW

Pick up the stunned bird and place it in a small box lined with a towel and bring it to New Mexico Wildlife Center. Most birds suffer eye abrasions when they hit a window, even if there is no other injury.

SICK BIRDS AT FEEDER

Remove the feeder to let the birds disperse so healthy birds won't be in contact with the sick birds. Leave the feeder down for at least a week. Wash the feeder with soap and water, and soak in a 10% bleach solution for 10 minutes. Rinse and let dry before putting feeder back up. Thoroughly clean the area under the feeder. If you can pick up a sick bird, place it in a small box and bring it to New Mexico Wildlife Center as soon as possible.

Birds that you need to bring to New Mexico Wildlife Center should be placed in a cardboard box a little larger than the bird. Put an old towel or newspaper in the bottom and make sure top of box is covered. Keep box in warm, dark, quiet place until transported to the Center. Do not give food or water!

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