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Songbirds/Perching Birds

Songbirds/Perching Birds

The Living Desert accepts all native injured and orphaned songbirds and perching birds into our rehabilitation facility.

If you find a bird that is injured, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

How to identify an injured songbird or perching bird
. Bleeding
. Animal attack
. Lethargic/not standing up/leaning
. Vertigo-like symptoms
. One wing is being held lower than the other (this injury should prevent the bird from being able to fly)

Contain the injured songbird/perching bird
. Obtain a box with air holes
. Line the box with towels/tissue paper
. Place the bird in this box, close the box
. Keep bird in a quiet, dark, warm place away from pets
. Transport the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately

*If a chick is injured, bring them to an animal rehabilitator immediately*

Do not feed or hydrate birds or chicks without instruction from an animal rehabilitator; doing so incorrectly may have devastating effects.

Songbirds and Perching bird chicks
The instructions in the following section apply only to songbirds and perching birds. If you find a ground dwelling bird click here. If you find a waterbird, click here.

If you find an orphaned songbird or perching bird chick
Occasionally, you may run into a chick that appears to be abandoned. Most of these chicks, however, are not true orphans. You may not see the parent as they may be hiding in a nearby tree or bush. To them, you are a large predator and they will not approach if you are near the chick. It is in the birds’ best interest to leave them alone or to change their environment to allow them the most success.

Re-nesting chicks
If you find a chick with little to no feathers (with no injuries) on the ground, either place the chick back in its nest or create a fake nest that can be attached to a nearby tree or bush. Here’s how to make a fake nest:

  • Find a box/basket/container. Make sure the lip of this container is high enough to protect the chick, but low enough for the chick to eventually jump or fly from. Make sure there are a few small holes in the bottom of the container for drainage.
  • Line the bottom of the container with natural debris (leaves, dirt, grass, etc.). Do not use fabric, because the chicks may get caught and stuck.
  • Secure the container to a nearby shaded tree or bush. Place the chick in the container.
  • Hide as far away from the chick as possible (indoors, watching from a window is best) and watch for 45 minutes. Remember, to the parents you are a large predator and it is not safe for them to expose themselves to you. It is important to maintain a visual on the nest the entire time. Parents may fly in, feed the chick, and fly away very quickly. It is important to remain watching.
  • If you do not see the parents after 45 minutes, please call The Living Desert Wildlife Rehabilitation line at 760-568-2330 or bring the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

Chicks that will not remain in the nest
If you find a chick with open eyes that is feathered with some down feathers and is standing on its own, it is most likely a fledgling.

This is that awkward juvenile stage of a bird’s life when it is learning how to fly, find food, and live independently. Re-nesting this chick is not an option, as it will simply keep jumping out. This is the most crucial learning stage of a bird’s life and it may take a few days for this gawky kid to finally fly off and start its own life. During this time, it is extremely important to leave the bird alone. The bird should be walking, hopping, jumping, and flying anywhere and everywhere. The parents will be watching from a distance, feeding the fledgling, and leaving, so it may learn without interference.

If you are worried the fledgling is in an unsafe area, place the bird in the middle of a nearby bush or low tree. It is important to allow this bird to hop and jump in bushes or trees so it can build its wing muscles and get strong enough to be on its own.

Keep your pets inside during these few days. 

Bird identification:,14/

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