I found a baby bird! What can I do?

Contrary to popular belief, if you find a baby bird on the ground here in the Portland area, it is probably NOT abandoned.  Spring is the time of year that most wild baby birds are learning how to fly. To do this, they often fall and tumble from their nest in their efforts, and their parents will feed them on the ground as they learn to fly and find food on their own.  So if you see a baby bird that appears to be alone, the parents are likely in the trees watching or off getting food.  Portland, Hillsboro, Beaverton and the surrounding areas have beautiful habitat for many species of birds.

What can I do?

If you are concerned about the health and safety of a baby bird, ask yourself these questions:

Is the baby bird injured or caught by a cat?

If the bird is obviously injured or in a cat’s mouth, call the Audubon Society of Portland at 503-292-0304. They are open every day from 9am-5pm.  Their care center has trained volunteers to help you decide the best course of action.  If it is after hours, then call Dove Lewis 503-228-7281. They are able to care for wildlife and can answer your questions.

Are the parents injured or dead?

If you can physically see that the parent bird is hit by a car or otherwise injured, call the Audubon Society to ask for advice.

Does the baby bird not have feathers?

If you are concerned that the bird fell from the nest too early then you can try and return it to the nest.   Most species of birds DO NOT have a good sense of smell, so the old wives tale is false; the parents will still take care of their chick if you put it back in the nest or place it safely in a nearby branch or bush.  If the nest is destroyed or unreachable then you can fashion a new nest out of a small box lined with tissue and suspend it in the tree.  The chicks will call to the parents who will find them, but it may take a few hours for them to come back after such a disturbance.

Birds learning to fly are called fledglings- they have feathers with very short wings and tails.  If you see one of these on the ground in a safe place, don’t approach and leave them alone.  Don’t worry, the parents are nearby!

But the fledgling is in a bad place (there is a cat nearby or close to the road or a pathway)!

Gently pick up the baby bird and place it in a nearby bush or tree.  The parents will continue to care for it!

Can’t I bring the bird to Frontier?

We do not have the supplies or equipment to care for wild baby birds at Frontier, and as you have probably figured out by now, most baby birds don’t need our care.  But if you have any questions, please call the Audubon Wildlife Care Center Hotline 503-292-0304

More information from the Audubon Society of Portland:

Baby Birds: http://audubonportland.org/wcc/urban/babybirds

Urban Wildlife: http://audubonportland.org/wcc/urban

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.