Fledgling Birds


Q:  There's a bird outside that can't fly.  Is he injured?

A:  If it’s summertime and the bird is almost full-sized, fully feathered, but has short tail feathers, he may be a fledgling.  Often birds leave the nest several days before they are able to fly.  This is normal, as birds learn to fly from the ground up.  Stand back and look for parent birds who will fly over to feed their fledgling a few times per hour.  For several days, the fledgling may remain on the ground but the parents will supervise and teach their young how to hunt for food – so it is very important to leave the fledgling there!  Also, be sure to keep your pets indoors during this period.


If there are stray cats or dogs in the area that you can’t control: put the fledgling in a basket and hang the basket securely from a nearby tree limb.  Hopefully, this will keep the bird off the ground for the few extra days he needs before he can fly.  However, if the bird appears injured and/or alone, or in imminent danger, contact a wildlife rehabilitator right away.