Don’t be so quick to help baby birds, charity warns

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An animal welfare charity has issued advice to the public on the steps to take when coming to the aid of baby birds found on the ground.

The Scottish SPCA dealt with 140 calls a day reporting concerns for young birds during the first half of last year.

And as many as 100 were taken to the charity’s national wildlife rescue centre every day in the spring and summer.

Some were helped because they were injured, although many others were in good health yet picked up by worried passers-by.

Scottish SPCA Fishcross centre manager Colin Seddon said: “It’s understandable for people to be concerned when they come across a young bird on the ground that appears clumsy and unable to fly.

“However, this is a vital part of the learning to fly process for fledglings – baby birds with full feathers – and the parents are very likely to be nearby, watching their young make their first efforts to take to the skies.”

The charity advised anyone with concerns to monitor fledglings from a distance to see if the parents appear within a couple of hours before calling for help.

They should only be moved if they look to be in harm’s way.

However Mr Seddon said finding a nestling – a bird with fluff or no feathers – on the ground is not normal.

“It would need our help immediately,” he added.

“Anyone who comes across a nestling on the ground should contain it in a small, ventilated box and call our animal helpline immediately.

“Under no circumstances should anyone who discovers a nest try to touch or move the fledgling or nestlings inside.

“This is illegal and could cause the parents to abandon them.”

The charity is trying to raise awareness of when human help might be required using #SSPCABabyBirds on social media.