A few weeks ago, I opened the back door to the garden and noticed something in the corner surrounded by a horde of crows squawking, pecking and bounding around. I shooed the crows off and went over to take a closer look. It was a baby starling.
I have no trees in my back garden so even now; I scratch my head wondering how it got there. Nevertheless, I grabbed an empty shoe box and placed the bird gently inside. I cut some small holes in the lid and closed it.
I wondered what to do next… Do I put it back outside next to a tree? Do I ring the RSPB? Take it to the vets? Keep it and raise it as my own?!
What To Do If You Find An Injured Bird
There are two types of baby bird. A fledgling and a nestling. A nestling will only have a few feathers or none at all whereas a fledgling will have most of its feathers. Fledglings will usually leave the nest just before they can fly – their parents are almost always nearby and will still be feeding it. However, nestlings will not survive for long outside the nest.
For birds that are not in danger or are able to fly it is always advisable to leave them alone. Thousands of birds are picked up by well-meaning people each year and taken to wildlife centres, however these birds are not orphaned and would not have needed to be brought in.
It can, of course, be quite difficult to leave a baby animal with no apparent mother. If this is the case, then stand by and watch from a distance to see if the mother returns. Don’t try and return a bird to its nest as it may disturb other young birds and in most cases, it may be illegal.
If the mother does not return and you can see that the chick is injured, get a shoebox and fill it with some leaves and paper towels or thick toilet paper to give it enough grip to stand up. Place the bird in gently. Don’t worry about touching it – birds don’t have an acute sense of smell and recognise their babies by chirps and noises. Not by smells, as has been said before.
If the bird is in distress, cut some holes in the lid and close the lid. If you have one, place an electric blanket on a LOW setting under the shoebox to keep the bird warm. Then close the lid to allow it time to recuperate.
This is what I did. I called the local vets and luckily they were able to take it in. If your vet doesn’t take in birds, call the RSPCA or find a local wildlife centre that may be able to take it in. The RSPB doesn’t take in injured birds and many times you will have to take the bird to the centre or vet yourself.
Baby birds need extremely intensive care – they need to be fed every hour or so, shouldn’t drink water and have specific dietary requirements so give it to a professional to take care of it. This will ensure it will have the best chance of life.
What Do I Do If A Bird Hits My Window?
If a bird (adult or otherwise) hits your window, again, put it in a dark box with the lid closed. The darkness in the box reduces stress to the bird. Use tissues or paper towels arranged in a doughnut shape to allow it to sit upright. If it begins fluttering in the box after a period of time, it may have recovered so take it to a safe, open space and slowly open the box to let it fly out. If it doesn’t fly out – see if your local wildlife centre or veterinarian can take it in.
What Do I Do If My Cat Catches a Bird?
Birds that have been caught by cats need to be taken to a vet as a matter of urgency. Place it in a dark box as before and take it to your local vets. There is a high risk of septicaemia which can be fatal if it’s not treated within 48 hours.
How Do I Make My Garden Bird-Friendly?
After I took the little starling to the vets, I began to wonder how I could encourage birds to come to my garden. My garden is quite bland – I’ve got a lawn, a washing line and a shed. That’s it. But making a garden bird-friendly (and eco-friendly) is really simple.
Conserving water is one of the easiest ways to ensure your garden is tip-top. Water butts can be used to harvest rainwater and allow you to rinse tools, wash wellies and feed plants – making it a haven for wildlife.
Choose a spot and grow some wild flowers to attract butterflies or set up a feeder to encourage birds to come flocking.
Bird Feeders and Bird Houses
I’ve rounded up some of my favourites from the web – you could even make your own too! We’d love to see your feeders, bird houses and eco-friendly gardens so make sure you send us your pics!
To give you some inspiration, here are a few bird-feeders that are just plain awesome, quirky or easy to recreate at home.