What do I do if I find a baby bird?

It’s a beautiful spring day, perfect for a calm walk in the sun and an iced drink. But on a leisurely stroll by the creek, you spot a little bird, baby feathers all ruffled, flapping and hopping, looking like they want to fly, but can’t. What should you do? Read on to find out.


What do I do if I find a baby bird?

The important thing is not to panic. There could be many reasons why a young-looking bird is on the ground, especially during spring. Around this time of year young birds, also known as fledglings, are learning how to fly. This is a very important stage in their development, and they need to be left alone to be able to complete this process but for many kind-hearted people, this can look alarming.

So, if you have seen a baby bird on the ground and think they need help, here are some signs to look out for and what to do.

  • Are they young, feathered and hopping on the ground? If the answer is yes, please do not pick them up. This is a fledgling bird learning to fly, and their parents are likely very close by. Picking them up can be harmful not only to them but to you as well.



  • Are they featherless and unable to hop? If yes, then it is a chick that ideally needs to be put back in its nest or returned to its parents. If this is not possible or you can’t find the nest, then you need to bring them to a vet for assessment and treatment.



  • Does it look injured/unwell, or has been picked up by another animal? If so, then you need to bring them to a vet for assessment and treatment.


Can I put a baby bird back in its nest?

Yes, read more information here for how to return them safely.


Where to take a baby bird that needs medical care.

If you’re unsure where to take an injured bird, then Birdlife Australia has a very helpful resource which includes contact numbers for each state and instructions on transporting them safely.

And when in doubt, you can always call Lort Smith on 03 9328 3021 or bring them to our emergency clinic at 24 Villiers Street, North Melbourne.