… except the nestling/fledgling is naked, injured, too young to stand on its legs or in a potentially dangerous or exposed place (near streets or cats).
Action needs also to be taken if a young bird outside its nest hasn’t been visited and fed by its parents for half an hour to an hour (watch from an appropriate distance).
Endangered nestlings/fledglings can be taken to a safe place nearby (within hearing distance of where it was found).
You can handle a young bird with bare hands, the parent birds won’t abandon them (birds have a poor sense of smell).
Guideline on first treatment of naked, injured, ill or clearly abandoned nestlings/fledglings:
1. Keep calm.
2. Put the nestling/fledgling into a cushioned (kitchen roll or toilet paper) escape-proof box and put it in a quiet place.
Birds with reduced body temperature have to be warmed up in your hands before putting them in a box.
Don’t yet feed the nestling/fledgling or apply water!
3. Without Facebook-account:
Qualified instructions can be found on the British website Wildlifeaid (choose “What to do in an emergency – Garden birds”).
4. With Facebook-account:
4.a Take at least one photo of the young bird (e.g. with your smartphone).
Sideway photos from the bird safely sitting on your palm makes it easier to determine the species.
4.b Ask for access to the closed Facebook-group „Wildvogelhilfe“ (“Wild Bird Aid”) – the admins react quickly and in an uncomplicated way.
4.c Open a new thread and post photo(s), retrieving circumstances and your postal code.
You will get quick and qualified help in terms of precise instructions on how to accommodate, feed and a the nestling/fledgling. You will also get contact informations of experienced helpers or bird-competent veterinarians as close as possible to your whereabouts.
The Facebook-group also offers lots of documents on young birds (first treatment, hygiene, release etc.).
After the first treatment of healthy nestlings/fledglings you should look for a wild bird shelter or somebody that is competent in rearing young birds (get contact informations from the Facebook-group “Wildvogelhilfe”).
Injured or ill young birds should be handed over to a wild bird shelter or a veterinarian that is competent in wild bird medicine (many veterinarians have little to none knowledge and practical experience in treating (wild) birds – unfortunately veterinary schools tend to neclect this zoological group).
1. Never feed anything or force water or other liquids into a young bird you just found. First of all inform yourself (see above) – most (approx. 95%) of what we have in mind about feeding young birds is wrong! With well-meant but wrong food or incorrect water application you can do a lot more harm than good to the nestling/fledgling.
2. A young Common Swift on the ground is always an emergency. Please never throw it in the air just to check if it’s able to fly – also don’t do this with any other bird. Qualified help for Common Swifts can be found here.
3. All these informations are meant to enable laypersons to help naked, injured, ill or clearly abandoned nestlings/fledglings with first treatment. After 1 to 2 days at the latest the young bird must be handed over to experts (e.g. a wild bird shelter). A species-appropriate and competent care of young birds and their successful release back into the wild requires a lot of specialised knowledge, experience, time and money and mostly can’t be achieved by laypersons.