top of page


Fledglings may leave the nest, but they are often still dependent upon

their parents. In fact, many songbird fledglings will spend several weeks

with their parents after leaving the nest. Their parents will teach them

to forage for food and hide from predators, among other survival skills.

It's not uncommon to see a flighted fledgling still receive feedings from

a parent as they learn to find their own way. Many bird species fledge

directly from the nest and are able to fly immediately, but there are a

few that might spend a little time on the ground as fledglings.

Fledglings of the ground-foraging species such as the Mourning Dove,

American Robin, Eastern Towhee, and Brown Thrasher will naturally spend more time on the ground as they learn to find food because this is a natural behavior for them, while Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, and Northern Cardinals usually fledge right from their nests. Determining whether a fledgling needs help is complicated, but one factor is whether the fledgling is active and avoiding predators, including humans. These variations can make it a challenge to determine if a fledgling truly needs assistance. 

If you find a fledgling on the ground, first check for any obvious injuries, such as a dangling wing or leg, a wound, weakness, or fluffed appearance. Healthy fledglings should be trying to avoid people by hiding in shrubs. If a fledgling allows you to handle it, this could be a sign of a problem. Although people do find healthy fledglings on the ground on occasion, if it was normal, people would see them all the time. Most healthy birds will try to avoid people, so finding them out in the open may be a sign of trouble.

If you find an injured fledgling or you are unsure if an uninjured fledgling needs help, please contact a rehabilitator for guidance. While we discourage the "kidnapping" of healthy birds from their parents. If you are unsure of the situation, please contact someone if there is doubt.

bottom of page