What should you do and what is the proper bird feed for baby wild birds?
Before you begin to even think about feeding a wild baby bird there are several things you must keep in mind if you want the bird to live.
- Wild birds are not pets and should not be kept, in fact, in most areas it is illegal to keep a wild bird as a pet no matter how thoughtful or kind you think you are being.
- Consult your local fish and game authority, a veterinarians office, animal control or a pet store for advice about where to take the bird and call them immediately.
- It is a myth that if you handle a baby bird the parents will reject it. Pick the bird up gently with your hands around the shoulder/wing area and place it back in the nest or in a safe place on the ground where the parents can find it. Then leave it alone and keep pets out of your yard. Keep an eye on it for at least an hour to see if the parents come. Some adult birds will feed the baby and care for it even if it is on the ground if it is in a secure, safe, secluded area.
- If the parents don't return then pick the bird up by cupping your hands around its shoulders so it can't flare its wings and put it in a large cardboard box lined with a towel. Don't use shredded paper or a metal or wire cage.
Feeding the baby bird
After you've completed all the above steps and if you can't get it to a rescue site immediately you may try feeding it. Depending upon the type of bird it is will depend on what and how to feed it. For instance, doves or pigeons can not be fed by an amateur and should immediately be taken to a nature center or to a specialist who can care for it. They must be fed by tubes and only a professional can do this.
- Robins, starlings and any other birds that thrive on bugs and worms should be fed canned dog or cat food. Use a toothpick to offer small bits.
- Birds that eat primarily nuts, berries and vegetation such as sparrows and waxwings will enjoy fresh berries cut into tiny pieces and offered on a toothpick.
- Baby ducks, just as the adults, like shelled corn.
- Hummingbirds can be offered drops of sugar water with an eye dropper.
- Jays like a bit of peanut butter on the tip of a toothpick.
Warnings and tips
- Do not feed baby birds milk as they are not mammals and it will make them very sick.
- Do not feed baby birds bread as they are not able to digest it or peck it into tiny crumbs.
- The above foods are temporary only and you must turn the bird over to authorities who can care for it actively and with knowledge. Trying to keep the bird as a pet is both against the law and most likely will lead to its death.