How To: Reunite Nestlings

Wildlife Rescue has tasked you with reuniting an animal with its family. Although it can seem a little intimidating to some, the process is fairly simple. Follow these few steps and you’ll have given a wonderful gift to a wild animal in need of your help.

Reunite a Nestling

Cedar Waxwing Baby Bird

Wildlife Technicians have assessed the situation and determined that this baby is safe and in good health. Please keep people and pets away to give the bird the space it needs.

Reunion of a Nestling Orphan (Original Nest)

1. Go to the original location where the bird was found.

2. Locate the original nest for the reunion and keep this in mind:

  • The nest will generally will be within 20-30 feet or 6-9 meters from where the baby was found.
  • Listen for sounds of bird calls and look for the parents flying nearby.
  • Keep the area quiet and free from activity (i.e. pets, people walking by, etc.).
  • Parents will return every 20-40 minutes with food for the rest of the nestlings.

3. Let the baby call out to the parents in a few spots. Use a birdcall on your smartphone if the baby is not vocal. We recommend the Audobon App and searching for the bird by species here.

4. Return to the original nest when you’ve determined the nest location and keep this in mind:

  • Ensure you can safely access the nest.
  • Make sure the other babies in the nest look similar.
  • Place quickly, up against the other siblings in an upright position.

5. Back away far enough (approx. 4 meters) and observe if the parents return to feed the nestling. Keep out of sight and minimize all activity otherwise the parents may not feel safe enough to return

6. Observe up to 4 hours or until dusk. If the parents haven’t come back to feed the nestling bring inside to a warm, dark place. Call Wildlife Rescue. Do not feed.

Reunion of a Nestling Orphan (False Nest)

1. Find the best possible nest location and keep this in mind:

  • Look up from where the baby was found. If you can’t find the original nest then check within 20-30 feet or 6-9 meters of where baby was found.

2. Watch for parent birds carrying food or looking for young.

3. Attempt to locate the nesting spot.

  •  Look for signs such as remnants of nesting material or accumulation of feces.

4. Attach false nest to the original nesting site or near it in an area sheltered from direct sun and rain.

  • Remember! It must be 6-8 feet off the ground!

5. Once nest is secure, tuck baby or babies firmly into it. Keep in mind:

  • Baby should be sitting upright, legs tucked beneath body.
  • Leave the area and monitor for 1-2 hours to see if the parents return to care for the baby.
  • If you don’t find the parents during that time period call the Wildlife Rescue Association for further guidance.

 


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