With summer just around the corner we will soon see busy parent birds rushing around trying to find food for hungry chicks. Most young chicks are fed soft food like insects which they can swallow and digest easily and gain great nutrition from.
These take some catching!
The parent birds whilst feeding their chicks burn up lots of energy flying around constantly finding sufficient food for their new family, so it really helps if we can provide good sources of food in the garden, as well as plenty of clean water at this key time. As always make sure the feeders are clean and the food fresh as any sickness at this time affects parents and chicks alike.
Flying the nest
As the fledglings grow they will leave the nest. It can be tempting to ‘get involved’ and rescue a bird that looks like it needs help but in reality most young birds on the ground are being looked after by their parents so unless they are in immediate danger, i.e. on a road and path, the best option is always to leave them where they are and in the charge of their concerned folks. Remember if you do move it out of danger don’t move it too far so that when the parents return with food they can see or hear where the chick is. Otherwise they will presume it lost and it will starve.
A young bird that is fully feathered may spend one or two days on the ground attended by their parents before they have full flight capacity, and will still be fed by parents in this time. If you find a bird that is part feathered and out of a nest there may be a case to replace it in the nest if you are sure of the location of the nest, but be aware sick chick are sometime rejected by parents who would rather concentrate on the healthy young. So make sure the chick is in good health and strong before you return it to the nest.
A helping hand
Overall the best way of helping fledglings at this time is to keep any cats indoors whilst the fledgling season is over and encouraging others to do the same, and if you do find one on the floor leave it to their parents to look after as they are better at it than we are!
For more information and inspiration about wild birds check out our dedicated wild bird section.