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Give fledglings a fighting chance this spring season

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Give fledglings a fighting chance this spring season 01/09/2016

Well-meaning community members bringing baby birds found on the ground to Lort Smith this spring season could ultimately be responsible for their death.

Dr Tristan Rich, Exotic Vet at Lort Smith said spring is always a very busy time for wildlife rescuers, veterinary clinics and wildlife hospitals as it is when fledgling birds leave the nest for the first time and learn to fly.

“Unfortunately, most will find their way into veterinary clinics after being ‘rescued’, or more accurately, ‘kidnapped’, by well-meaning members of the public. However, not all baby birds found on the ground require rescuing.” said Dr Rich.

“The vast majority of these bird have not been ‘abandoned’ or ‘orphaned’; the parents are actually nearby keeping a close eye on them. Many of these birds are in fact fledglings that have recently left the nest and are unable to fly properly. They spend anything from a few days up to a few weeks hopping along the ground learning to fly, and being fed and protected by their parents.”

Dr Rich said the best way to help is to do nothing.

“As soon as you leave, the parents - which have probably been watching you the entire time - will return and continue feeding their youngster. Don't worry if you see only one parent - a single parent can raise its young alone," Dr Rich said.

What to do if you find a baby bird on the ground:

  1. Leave the bird alone. It is important that whenever possible these birds remain, or are returned to, where they were found.
  2. Keep your pets inside until the bird is gone. This helpless stage is temporary, and if the young bird can be reunited with its parents, it will become stronger and be gone in a couple of days. Try to keep your pets away from the bird during that time.
  3. Fledglings should be placed in a safe spot, ideally in a tree or shrub off the ground. Leave the bird alone and monitor from a distance, ideally inside. If the parents don't return to an undisturbed fledgling in two hours something may be wrong. The parents may have been killed by predators or hit by a car. In this case the bird should be transferred to a registered carer or veterinary clinic.
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