Mid- to late-summer is prime time for hatching and fledgling birds. This means many birds will be using their wings for the first time and probably won’t be very good at it at first. If you happen to find a fledgling in this stage, think about the situation and what is best for the bird before you act. The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association put together a very helpful flow chart that can help you assess your situation and find the best course of action.
There are a few important points to emphasize:
1) If you are observing from a distance, give the baby birds plenty of space. An adult is going to be very weary if you are present and may not come back to the bird if you are watching too intently.
2) If you do need to contact a rehabilitator, there are a few licensed individuals we highly recommend. Maine Audubon does not have the resources or permits to rehabilitate birds so there is often little we can do to help. In southern Maine, we recommend the York Center for Wildlife (207-361-1400) and if you are nearer to central Maine, Avian Haven (207-382-6761) in Freedom, is another great facility.
3) It is against the law in Maine to keep any wild animals. Many people believe they are helping the animal or bird, but without proper training and resources, there is often more harm being done. Please leave all rehabilitation up to the professionals to give our wildlife a chance.
A Maine native, Doug grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job.” In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv and serves as York County Audubon board member and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.