Let’s show some TLC for baby birds: Dos and Dont’s of bird rescue
Delhi is a haven for bird lovers as it is home to over 300 species of birds. And this is the time of the year when baby birds start to hatch. As is the law of the jungle, they are faced with hardships, the most common one being dislocation from their nests. Due to reasons that may range from storms or people sweeping away their nests in a bid to clean their houses, these baby birds find themselves in a state of shock, injury and hunger.
Musician Manta Sidhu, who runs Angel Eyes Bird Rescue, released a video on her social media elaborating on how to save abandoned baby birds. “Our natural tendency to pick up a baby bird and bring it home is unnecessary in most cases. Immediate priority should be finding the nest, putting the babies back and reuniting them with their families,” she says in the video.
Caution should be exercised when handling a fallen bird as there are chances the baby bird might be injured. “Put a towel over it so that it cannot see you. If a baby bird can’t see you, it won’t try to attack, nor would it try to flee, ensuring its safety. Put it in a cardboard box and make small holes in it. Try and locate its nest, but in case you can’t find it, contact a rescue centre,” says Muhammad Saud of Wildlife Rescue.
Baby birds can be classified into two stages of development, and depending on their physical characteristics, they are called nestlings and fledglings. Nestlings are too young to leave their nests, have no or few feathers and have not yet learnt to hop, perch or walk, whereas, fledglings have grown all their feathers and are now learning to fly. “If you have found a nestling, remember that its nest will be directly above the area where it was found since it cannot fly or walk. If it is a fledgling, you must observe it from a distance for an hour or two hours; in most cases, the parent birds can be seen hanging around the baby. If after observation, the baby bird is still found on the ground, identify the species and the parents, and follow their movements to locate the nest. If the nest is too high to reach, place the baby at an accessible height that is as close to the nest as possible,” advises Sidhu.
Birds of prey, as well as elements like traffic, pose a threat to the survival of these fallen baby birds. Then there are people who try and sell them, looking to make a quick buck. The recovery rate among fallen birds, then, depends on their age and nature of injury. “They weigh more when they are young and their feathers aren’t developed either. They fall with a thud, leading to fractures and internal injuries. If they are slightly older, their feathers help them glide as they fall, cushioning the impact. It is best to contact experts or bring them to a centre for proper medical care,” says Saud.
“Rescued baby birds must not be force fed any food or water without consultation with an expert,” seconds Sidhu. With a little bit of patience, baby birds can be rescued and given a new lease of life. Every act of kindness goes a long way.
How you can help:
1. Learn about bird species so that identification becomes easier.
2. Make provisions for nesting in your house. It could be safe corner or a hole in the wall, away from the prying eyes of crows and cats.
3. Keep water in bowls on your terrace or balconies.
4. Grow vines and climbers at your house if possible. They help provide necessary shade and shelter.
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