If you have found a baby bird, the first step is to determine whether the baby bird actually needs help.
Start by identifying the age of the baby. Please review descriptions below and select the appropriate life stage.
Hatchlings are sometimes naked or lightly feathered and their eyes are not yet open.
Nestlings can be very young, like these baby Cardinals (eyes are open) or fully feathered (two Cardinal nestlings looking at the camera).
A nestling is any stage where the eyes are open and they are not
ready to leave the nest. Nestlings generally do not yet have tail feathers.
Fledglings are mostly feathered and have at least a short set of tail feathers. They may be seen on branches or on the ground, however, they should try to avoid danger by hiding under shrubs or avoiding people.
Fledglings are vulnerable to outdoor cats as
they learn to fly and find food. Ground-foraging fledglings such as the American Robin and the Mourning Dove are particularly vulnerable.
The length of time a fledge spends on the
ground varies by species.