“Leave ‘abandoned’ Baby Birds Alone!!”..RSPB

“Leave ‘abandoned’ Baby Birds Alone!!”…RSPB

As dog walkers and animal lovers we spend a great deal of our time outdoors and are therefore likely, at some point, to come across an injured or ‘abandoned’ wild animal, yet few of us know what we should do for the best.

In fact the RSPCA say that in spring and early summer RSPCA wildlife hospitals and animal centres become inundated with fox cubs and other wild animals brought in by well-meaning people who believe they have been abandoned or orphaned – but RSPCA advice is that, unless injured or sick, very young wild animals will ALWAYS be better off being cared for by their natural parents.

The RSPB also say to please leave ‘abandoned’ baby birds alone!! They say the young birds we see hopping around in the spring and summer are usually ‘fledglings’ who have left the nest and are waiting in the undergrowth for their parents to return to feed them. These young garden birds usually leave the nest about two weeks after hatching, just before they can fly, but are otherwise mobile and can walk, run and hop on to low branches to escape most dangers and so the advice is to leave such birds well alone only moving them, or encouraging them to move a short distance to safety if they are in immediate danger.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, ‘Wildlives’ confirm the advice given by the RSPCA and RSPB saying that best practice is to check to see if the animal is in any immediate danger and if not, to leave it for an hour or so before returning to check on it. Usually they say, the mother will be nearby or searching out food and will come back to it as soon as you go away. By the time you return therefore they will have moved away together.

There are however a number of occasions where intervention should be made :

a.. If an animal is clearly suffering a broken limb or obvious other injuries

a.. If a water birds or other animal has become tangled up in something such as discarded fishing tackle, wire, netting etc. In such circumstances you should never attempt to remove the entanglement yourself for fear of making the problem worse

a.. If an animal has completely collapsed and does not react to your approach

a.. If an animal has been attacked by a cat and therefore requires antibiotics (a cat’s teeth and claws contain poison and even a small scratch to another animal can lead to that animal dying from blood poisoning)

a.. If a hedgehog is out in the daytime (as strictly nocturnal animals, any hedgehog out in the daytime requires professional assistance).

a.. If an underweight hedgehog is spotted after October (as hedgehogs going into hibernation for the Winter should weigh at least 600g or they may never wake up again after hibernation).

a.. If a Rabbit is spotted sitting in the open, barely moving, with red, swollen eyes (Myxamatosis). Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease but you can relieve the rabbit’s suffering by allowing it to be put to sleep.

a.. If a bird is injured (rather than ‘abandoned’). For injured birds, the RSPB say that you should place them gently in a box and keep them quiet, dark and cool. It may be that the bird is in shock and will soon recover so you can let it go. Even if it is more seriously injured, the box will reduce stress on the bird until you can get advice on how you can help it. The RSPB does not have bird hospitals or a rescue service because they are a conservation charity and you should therefore telephone your local vet or contact the RSPCA 24-hour Cruelty and Advice line below to get more advice.

b.. If a very small ‘abandoned’ baby bird is identified as a ‘Nestling’ rather than a ‘Fledgling’. Fledglings are identified by being almost fully feathered whilst ‘Nestlings’ are recognisable by having only a limited number of feathers and are very baby birds. Nestlings are totally dependent on the security of the nest and will therefore need help if found outside of a nest. If a nestling is found you should contain it in a well ventilated cardboard box and then take the bird directly to a local vet or contact the RSPCA. You should never try to return a nestling bird to the nest.

If you think a wild animal or bird might need help, just phone one of the below and ask!!

The RSPCA 24-hour Cruelty and Advice line 0300 1234 999

RSPB Wildlife Enquiries Team 01767 693690.

‘Wildlives’ Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre  01206 251174

By Maggie The Dog Walker, Sale M33

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