Wildlife biologist explains the importance of returning a baby bird to its nest

June 26, 2017 2:04 pm Last Updated: June 26, 2017 2:04 pm


When the weather gets warmer weather it’s time for birds to start readying their nests in preparation for their hatchlings. Warmer weather also means potentially stormy weather and more outdoor time for people and animals, and both of these can spell trouble for a bird’s nest and its tiny occupants.

While it’s not extremely common for a bird’s nest or a baby bird to fall out of a tree, it’s certainly not unheard of. Would you know what to do if you spotted a bird’s nest or a seemingly helpless baby bird on the ground?

“It’s a simple process to reunite nesting birds and their young.”

According to a video shared by Texas Parks and Wildlife (which you can watch below) it is much easier to help an unfeathered bird than you may think. Although there is one crucial piece of information you must remember:

The myth you may have heard about birds abandoning a nest because it smells like a human is false.

If you find hatchlings or nestlings — baby birds that are typically only a few days old, have no feathers (hatchling) or very fine feathers (nestling), and are completely reliant on their parents — out of their nest you’ll want to return them to the nest.

“However, adult birds are cautious after any type of disturbance and it may take several hours before they approach the nestling,” the Audubon Society of Portland states.

If for some reason the nest has been destroyed or you are unable to reach it, it is okay to create a makeshift nest. Texas Parks and Wildlife suggests using a hanging flower pot, but you can also use a similar sized basket or box which you can suspend from a tree branch.

When making the temporary nest keep in mind you’ll want to use leaves and twigs to make the nest feel like home for the birds. You’ll also want to fill in any gaps so the hatchlings don’t get trapped as they grow and begin to explore the nest.

Once the makeshift nest is complete or once you’ve placed the hatchlings back into their fallen nest, place the nest as close to the original location as possible. This will give the baby birds the best chance of being found again. During this time resist the urge to watch the birds and keep all pets away from the area.

Keeping pets and other hazards away from the nest will give the hatchlings the highest chance of survival.


Even if after placing the birds back in their nest you are still concerned about the birds, leave them alone. Unless the birds are visibly injured there is no need to contact a wildlife center. At this stage in their life, birds are in the process of learning important life skills, which they cannot learn in captivity.

The Audubon Society of Portland states a logical reason why a baby bird shouldn’t be taken from its home, “The Wildlife Care Center is a hospital, and bringing healthy baby birds to a rehabilitation facility to prevent them from being injured makes no more sense than raising healthy human children at a hospital to prevent them from becoming sick.”

Another animal that you might find in your yard during the summer months that more often than not doesn’t need assistance is a baby bunny.

Read about what you should do if you find a nest of baby bunnies in your backyard, here.