If You’ve Found a Baby Bird You Believe is in Need of Assistance, Please Follow The Instructions Below

Altricial Species


A bird hatched in an undeveloped state and requiring care and feeding by the parents, such as songbird and raptor species. An altricial baby bird will go through three developmental stages before being able to fly and become independent.

image of hatchling stage birds in a nest

Hatchling Stage

Little or no feathers on body or wings

nesting stage birds

Nestling Stage

All body feathers present, still growing flight feathers on wings and tail

fledgling bird

Fledgling Stage

All feathers present, gaining flight ability

If you find a Hatchling or Nestling on the ground or away from its nest

  • gently pick it up and place it back into its original nest 

If its original nest has fallen or is destroyed 

  • You can make a new nest from a small container with holes in the bottom filled with natural materials.
  • Tie the container near the location of the original nest so parents are able to locate the young.
  • Monitor from afar for several hours to confirm that the parent(s) have found the new nest and have resumed care.
  • If you are unable to find a nest, the nest cannot be reached, you are unable to create a new nest, or the bird appears to be injured, call NWC at (715) 356-7400 for further advice.

If you find a Fledgling on the ground or away from its nest

  • This is completely normal. The bird has naturally left the nest to learn to fly.
  • It often takes a few days before the fledgling is able to master its flight, remaining on the ground during that time.
  • If you are concerned for the fledgling, it can be monitored from afar for several hours to determine if the parent(s) return to care for the fledgling, which they often do.
  • If you do not see a parent returning to care, the fledgling is in found in an unsafe environment, or it appears injured, contact NWC at (715) 356-7400 for further advice.

Precocial Species 


A bird hatched  in an advanced state and able to feed itself almost immediately, such as waterfowl and game bird species. 

Image of baby duck in the water

If you find a baby bird on its own and vocalizing without a reply

  • monitor it from afar for an hour to see if the parent(s) returns.
  • Leave alone for 2-3 hours before checking. This gives the mother a chance to claim her young
  • If the mother has not returned, call NWC at (715) 356-7400 for further advice

If the parent has not returned within an hour

  • do a thorough search of the area to confirm that the parent(s) are not around.
  • If the parents are found, move the young to the area of the parents to allow the parents to reclaim the young.
  • If the parent(s) do not reclaim the young or the parent(s) are not found, contact NWC at (715) 356-7400 for further advice.