Please don’t abduct me!!!
Birds nests, swooping magpies and fledglings. This is what Spring is all about in Melbourne. Children learning to run fast past that Magpie that swoops everyone on the way to school or wearing helmets with zip lock ties sticking out at all angles. Finding birds nests or tiny fragile eggshells on the ground. These are the things that delight children as the warmer months progress. One of the most common presentations to a veterinary clinic during October is the bird that can’t fly. That bird that has been ‘rescued’ by good Samaritans and brought into the clinic for help.
On closer inspection, most of these ‘injured birds’ turn out to be healthy fledglings that have recently exited the nest in their early flight lessons. Usually it takes a few days of practice before the skill of flight is mastered. Unfortunately the nest is too high up in the tree for the baby bird to get back into. So fledgling usually stay on the ground until they have mastered flight.
What Happens to Fledglings That Are learning To Fly?
The parents of the fledgling will closely watch their young. Feeding it and protecting it from dangers such as cats, dogs and people by swooping on intruders. In time, these young birds master the act of flight and take to the trees themselves.
Please, if you come across a fledgling learning its way in the world, do not abduct it from its parents. They are doing a fantastic job of raising their young as they have done for hundreds of years. Take a wide path around the family and keep any dogs on leash. Do not linger close by. You will likely be swooped by the parents doing their best to protect their babies from the present danger.
If you do believe that a fledgling is injured or no longer being cared for by its parents, watch the bird for a good couple of hours before deciding that it is indeed orphaned or injured. Gently move it away from traffic or people into nearby scrub or under trees and watch for the parents who will usually be around close by. If you are sure it is not well, then take the bird to the closest vet clinic for assessment but wait for the verdict because if it is OK, the best thing to do is to take it back to exactly where it was.