“I Found a Baby Bird, What Do I Do?”

I just came across this post from two years ago and thought it was worth putting out there again…tis the season for baby critters!

My friend (Hi Shane!) updated his FB status with two simple words last week.

“Birds. Spring.”

What followed were many comments along the like of “I just saw Bluebirds!” and “The Red-winged Blackbirds are here!”.

As the branches above us begin to sing, we find ourselves looking to the skies to discover Pigeons flying with twigs in their mouth and our hearts soar with them. In the parks there are flocks of Robins, usually solitary but now wanting companionship. We too are twitterpated and notice our own blood moving more quickly through our veins, matching the rhythm of streams and creeks, swollen with rain and the first thaw. Soon will begin the annual visits from dear friends, the wildflowers. I notice myself watching the calendar and matching dates against when I took pictures in years before, to make sure I don’t miss my appointment with Nature in Love.

I like to watch certain movies every year at the same time, seasonally. There is one in particular that I can’t wait to share with Fern when she is old enough to understand. On the surface, Fly Away Home is an empowering, feel good story. Within its depths, it touches on the complicated journey from grief to rebirth and is poignant regarding what we prioritize once we really begin to bond with life itself. I dare you to watch the trailer from 1996 and not tear up just a little. (Also featuring an adorbz Anna Paquin before she was Sukey.)

Teaching birds to migrate using ultralight aircraft is not just the stuff of fiction. For many years now, the Journey North organization has been leading groups of endangered Whooping Cranes to migration points on the east coast. Click on the links to follow their progress, as well to find out what birds and animals are migrating through your area right now.

This sight is on my list of things to witness before I begin the final migration. Monarch butterflies on the move.

Sometimes, returning to a migration rendezvous via the skies isn’t possible. Find out what happened to Ralph the Pelican when a hurricane blew him thousands of miles off course.

Really, the flurry of spring is primarily about one thing…first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. (Unless you’re me, then it’s more like “First comes love, then comes the baby and maybe at some point when we can afford it and we actually have time to plan it we’ll get hitched…). All the heightened activity in the animal world also can mean more encounters with injured or orphaned wildlife. Below I am providing information on what to do if you find an animal, but here’s the short of it:

Baby birds who are almost, but not quite, ready to fly will often fall out of their nest. This does not mean that they are orphaned. Parent birds will hang around and feed it until it gets a little bit bigger. The best you can do is keep your cat indoors and chase off other predators.

If you have determined that the animal is definitely injured and/or definitely orphaned, think warm, dark, quiet, protected place in which to keep it. If it’s a mammal offer it water. If it’s a bird (and unless you really know what you are doing) leave it alone. (NEVER NEVER NEVER give a wild animal cows milk. Just. Don’t.). Make a phone call and immediately transport it to a rescue center. If you can’t transport, call anyway to get instruction and support.

Basic information with links about what to do if you have found an animal in the Bay Area.

Wildlife rehabilitator contact information by state.

Four good rescue centers in the Bay Area (links also contain good info).

Wildcare in Marin.

Marine Mammal Rescue Center for watery critters.

International Bird Rescue Research Center, in Cordelia.

Lindsey Wildlife Museum in the East Bay.

Please don’t try to raise orphaned babies by yourself. If you find yourself unable to get the animal to a rescuer right away, here are some sites with information about what should be done.

What to do if you find orphaned baby bunnies.

What to do if you find orphaned or injured opossums.

What to do and things to consider if you have found orphaned or injured birds.

What to do if you find a baby squirrel.

Please get your monkey hands off of me and get me to a rehabilitator, STAT.

Why I Need the Birds (by Lisell Mueller)

When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together —
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices —
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.

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2 thoughts on ““I Found a Baby Bird, What Do I Do?”

  1. Birds are such indicators of place for me. In finland I was delighting in a whole different set of them, while here, oh we just saw our first rufous hummingbird yesterday! Sometimes all you need to lift your spirits is to look up at them and breath out.

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