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. Some bird species fledge directly from the nest and are able to fly immediately, while others take several days to learn flight skills. 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. This variance can make it a challenge to determine if a fledgling truly needs assistance.
If you find a fledgling, 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 without a struggle, 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 a fledgling that appears uninjured and actively tries to avoid you, place it into a safe area such as the base of a nearby shrub, so it will have some protection. Most likely, it's parents are nearby and will continue to tutor it until it is ready to be on it's own.
If you find an injured fledgling or you are unsure if the fledgling needs help, please text us at 678-386-9116 with a photo and a brief description of the situation so we can provide guidance.
We discourage the "kidnapping" of healthy birds from their parents. If you are unsure of the situation, please contact us for assistance.