Young Birds - Abandoned or Injured?

I've found a young bird on the ground, has it been abandoned?

Spring and summer is a tough time for a lot of young birds.

Don’t be alarmed! It is quite common to see a young bird seemingly abandoned sitting on the ground with no sign of their parents.

Young birds often spend a day or two on the ground prior to fledging in order for their feathers to develop entirely. Their parents will often be standing guard in a nearby hedge or tree keeping a close eye on the youngster. Just because they aren’t obvious doesn’t mean they aren’t there. 

What should I do?

It is important to leave the chick alone. If you begin handling the young bird, not only will you be causing it a lot of stress but you may also alarm its parents.

The bird is at risk from a busy road or path, what should I do?

If the bird is on the ground close to a busy road or path then it makes sense to move it.

Try to move it the shortest distance possible to safety. The farther you move it, the less likely its parents will be able to find it again and carry on nurturing it. This may prove fatal for the little chick and limit its chance of survival.

For more information on young birds and their behaviour have a look at the RSPB information on young birds.

The bird I have found is in need of veterinary attention, what should I do?

If the young bird is quite obviously in need of veterinary assistance then the RSPB provide invaluable advice on how to capture and care for the bird, whilst keeping inside the law.

Avoid direct contact with the bird as far as possible and only keep the bird for as long as it needs to give it the best chance of rehabilitation. Birds get themselves into all sorts of trouble! Whether being stunned after flying into a window or suffering at the paws of a cat, the ultimate goal is to get the bird back on its feet and into the great outdoors.

Remember, wild birds are shy. Being in contact with humans is a very stressful experience -­ it does not know that you are trying to help! Use your common sense to judge the situation and whether or not it is worth capturing and treating the animal.

Who should I contact?

If you decide that the bird you have found requires veterinary assistance, contact your local RSPCA centre.


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