How can I help baby birds?

It’s nesting season for many birds now, and you may come across an abandoned nest, an egg that has fallen out of the nest, or baby animals that–to you–are just crying for help. What should you do?

The same question will come up in mid- to late-summer, prime time for hatching and fledgling birds. 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 has put together a very helpful flow chart that can help you assess your situation and find the best course of action, should you find a baby bird. The Center for Wildlife also has a flowchart that helps you if you have found a bird, mammal, or turtle.

A few important points:

1) Observe from a distance, and give the baby birds plenty of space. An adult is going to be very wary if you are present and may not come back to the baby 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 Maine 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.