Bird rescuers promote caution

| 30/03/2009

(CNS): Cayman Wildlife Rescue says it has received a number of calls about baby birds and Project Manager Alison Corbett is warning people to be observant and make sure that fledglings are in need of help before approaching them. “It is very important that the public take a moment to observe baby birds before assuming they need to be rescued,” she said, explaining that concerned members of the public are encouraged to first identify whether the bird is injured or whether is has just fallen from the nest and can be put back in, or is learning to fly. (Left: Fledgling — well-feathered, alert and hopping on the ground)

She said fledglings often are attacked by cats and dogs and if the bird is injured Cayman Wildlife Rescue should be contacted at 917-BIRD as the bird will require emergency veterinary care.  If the bird is not injured, but is unable to fly it must next be determined to be either a nestling or a fledgling.  Nestings are bare or covered in downy feathers.  When you have found a nestling on the ground, look for a nest nearby, the experts say.

Corbett said if there is a nest, the bird can be gently placed back inside and then it should be monitored at a safe distance for the parents to return.  Birds do not have a developed sense of smell, Corbett adds. “There is no truth in the old wives tale that a bird will reject theiryoung if you handle them – in fact most birds have a very poor sense of smell,” she said. (Right: a nesting – often bare or covered in fuzzy down)

If there is not a nest or the nest is destroyed, one can be fabricated out of a basket or plastic container drilled with drainage holes.  CWR has a tall ladder to assist with restoring fallen nests and nestlings, the public can call 917-BIRD (2473) for help with this effort.

Once nestlings have been restored, the nest should be monitored for up to 3 hours for the parents return and people are reminded to never offer a wild animal food or liquids unless instructed.  Great care should also be taken at this time of year when pruning trees, shrubs and palm trees so as to not disturb nesting birds.

When the found baby bird is a fledgling, meaning it is a baby bird learning to fly; it will most likely not need to be rescued.  These young will be alert and hopping around on the ground as they learn flying skills.  Their parents will be nearby, offering them food while they are on the ground. (Left: Nesting)

“If you find a baby bird, well feathered, hopping on the ground the best thing a person can do is watch from a safe distance.  If you have a cat or dog bring it inside and watch for the parents to return,” Corbett said.  If the bird is not in a safe area, it is best to move it to a shrub nearby and continue to monitor.  Often fledglings become victim to cats and dogs, if they are injured they will need emergency veterinary care and Cayman Wildlife Rescue should be notified immediately.

 “We strongly encourage responsible pet ownership, cats and dogs should not be allowed to roam freely for their own safety and also for the safety of our wildlife.  One of the most common reasons we see animals come in for care is due to being attacked by cats or dogs,” Corbett noted.

Cayman Wildlife Rescue’s Hotline 917-BIRD (2473) is operated 24/7 to provide support for wildlife in trouble, when a baby bird is found CWR should be contacted for further instruction.    Members of the public should not attempt to care for a baby bird, as they require special diets and have demanding feeding schedules.  CWR should be notified when a baby bird is deemed abandoned so an experienced Wildlife Rehabber can resume its care. 



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  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent article.