Bald Eagles

If a baby bird is on the ground, here’s when to bring help

Connor Cincotta of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation checks a double-crested cormorant nest on the island "B" of the New York side Four Brothers Islands IN Lake Champlain on June 16, 2016.

A baby bird falls from its nest on the ground, what to do? A well-meaning person may want to help, but sometimes it’s best to let nature take its course.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife shared information with birdwatchers in its bird report on handling baby birds and directed readers to a Audubon Article which explains in detail when to help and when not to help.

Breeding season is in full swing right now, according to the bird report, and people can already see chicks in nests of ducks, geese, robins and bald eagles.

While closely observing the nests with spotted eggs developing into hatchlings and fledglings and finally into adult birds, this is where human intervention helps and hurts.

When not to help a baby bird

Of the baby birds that are brought to the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort, about 80% of them have been kidnapped, according to an education director interviewed in a Audubon Article.

A person may think that a fledgling hatched from its nest is in distress, when in reality it is fine and part of its normal development to learn to fly. It’s not uncommon for a baby bird to end up on the ground, and in many cases the parents watch nearby and wait for the human to leave before helping.

If the bird is a young — it has feathers and can jump — and isn’t visibly injured or in danger from a predator, the Audubon Society says to leave it alone.

A hand-raised baby bird might confuse the human as a parent and fail to develop the skills needed to survive and live like a bird.

In this photo from June 16, 2016, a newly hatched double-crested cormorant sits in a nest next to eggs on the island "B" of the Four Brothers Islands on the New York side of Lake Champlain.  Biologists have worked to reduce bird populations in the lake's island nesting grounds.  But a federal judge's ruling suspended bird control efforts on Lake Champlain and in 24 eastern states.

When to help a baby bird or an egg

There are times when it can be helpful to put an egg or a bird back in its nest.

The popular belief that a mother bird could reject a baby or an egg because of the smell of the human who handled it is wrong, according to Audubon, who says that the smell of a bird is not defined.