Caring for Wild
Baby Birds
Dealing with Baby Birds You've found in your yard

Nestling Songbirds


Babies with no feathers, a little fuzz, or pinfeathers need a soft, snug, cup-shaped nest of tissue in a small container—don't use cotton, grass, or existing bird nests. The cup shape is necessary to support their bodies, sprawling may cause them injury.

Plastic berry containers make an excellent framework for a tissue nest and are easily cleaned.

Warm chilled nestlings in your hands, then put them in the tissue-nest container and put it on a heating pad (low setting) or hot water bottle or under a light.

Never put them in direct sunlight—they may overheat.

Put the nest (and pad) in a larger box for safety.

Handle the birds only when necessary. They should always feel warm to the touch.


Feed bits of dog or cat kibble soaked in hot water (sugar-water for the first day or two) mixed with hard-boiled egg yolk and baby cereal.

The bird may be dehydrated at first so it is important that the food be moist.

White or wheat bread moistened with sugar-water can be used as an emergency diet for a few feedings only.

Put food in the back of the nestling's mouth when it gapes.

Feed them every 30 to 60 minutes during daylight hours.

Initial feedings with very weak birds can be given every 15 minutes, tapering off as the bird regains its strength.

Give each bird a few pieces per feeding. Do not put liquids in nestlings' mouths.

Fledgling Songbirds

Young birds that are mostly feathered and learning to fly need safe, roomy cages with sticks from your yard as perches, fastened securely.

A cardboard box with sticks fastened through it and a screen cover will do in a pinch. Fledglings don't usually need extra warmth. Handle birds only when necessary.

Dog or cat kibble soaked in hot water; chopped, canned dogfood; lean raw beef; and soft fruits such as grapes, plumped raisins, or canned peaches.

Cut food into small pieces and feed every hour or so during the day, several pieces per feeding. Drops of liquid can be given off the tip of your finger, one drop at a time.

Once the bird is moving around on its own its time to start weaning away from hand-feeding.

Offer portions of its favorite food items and bird seed in the cage. The curious fledglings will peck at the seed and begin to feed themselves.

A few days after self-feeding has started you can faze out hand-feeding.

Take care not to make water pans to deep.

Other bird species such as pigeons, ducklings, quail, shorebirds, hawks, and owls should not be fed and cared for the same way and may not be kept legally. If you find one of these species in need of help, be sure to consult with a qualified rehabilitor as soon as possible.

On Other Pages:

Back to Wildlife; our introduction page

Caring for wild rabbits

Squirrel Care

Don't Kidnap Baby Wildlife...

The Beaver Story
... Just for fun

The Care of Domestic Rabbits
Please go to my exotic pet page

Animal Pet Doctor: Home/Contents page

On Other Pages about Other Topics:

Neural Diseases of Dogs and Cats

Lameness, Arthritic and other bone and joint diseases

Arthritis: treatment options and what to expect when you go to the vet

Hip Dysplasia

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

Femoral Head Removal


Disc Disease in pets

Tuberculosis, Plague, and Brucellosis. Pasteurella, Encephalitis, Samonella, e-coli, and Cryptosporidium: a brief reveiw of these zoonotic diseases you can get from pets

Toxoplasmosis from Cats

Cat Scratch Fever

Diseases people get from pets from mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and lice

West Nile Disease

Diseases people get from pets through worms

Coccidia; a protozoan parasite causing diarrhea and other problems in puppies and kittens

Giardia; an amoebic parasite causing diarrhea, nausea, and other problems in pets

Cryptosporidia; another parasite that causes diarrhea in pets and humans

Heartworms; a parasite spread by mosquitos that causes severe heart, vascular, and respiratory disease in dogs, cats, and maybe humans.

All the important stuff I know about fleas


Denistry: why oral hygiene and health is so important and what you can do about it

Dermatology: How I treat skin diseases in pets

Orthopedics: How I treat arthritis, pannus, hip dysplasia, and other problems of the bones and joints

Ear problems and the miracle treatment Zymox

Ophthalmology: Eye Problems discussed

Diseases of the blood

Metabolic Diseases like Diabetes, Cushings Disease, Addison's Disease, and Thyroid Disease

Cardiology: Heart problems in cats and dogs

History of Veterinary Medicine in the United States

Our pages devoted to Cats

Our pages devoted to Dogs

For a complete list of contents, please go to our home page at       The FoxNest Veterinry Hospital    The Animal Rescue Fund of South Carolina

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