Will a Mama Bird Reject a Baby Bird if You Touch It?
Baby birds are hatching all over Central New York - including in our front door wreath. If one of those babies falls out of the nest, is it safe to put it back in?
We've got baby birds living in a nest in the wreath on our front door. Of course, we're now completely emotionally invested in their futures. We check on them every day, and have watch them grow from eggs, to little pink blobs, to fuzzy balls that actually resemble birds.
We also have two dogs that frequently go out that same door. My biggest fear is one of the birds falling out of the nest and getting eaten - or worse, partially eaten - by one of the dogs. My heart could not take it. I mentioned this to a friend, and they said I can't put a baby bird back in the nest because the mama bird would smell me and reject the bird.
Is that really true or a bird myth? I decided to do some research.
Here's what I learned.
- It's hard out there for a baby bird. Only 30% of them survive.
- When deciding whether to put a bird back in the nest, it depends on how old the bird is.
National Geographic says you can tell by how "cute" the baby bird is. If it's sort of ugly, pink and squooshy and doesn't have many feathers - you can put it back in its nest. It's either a hatchling or a nestling.
A bird that is out of the nest, has a bunch of feathers - so basically "cute" by the National Geographic standard - is a fledgling. While they can't quite fly yet, they likely left the nest on purpose. Mama bird is still close, keeping an eye out and feeding the baby bird. You don't need to put these birds back in the nest, but you can place them out of harm's way - especially away from cats (or dogs).
Is it overboard if I just sit outside for a few days until they've all left the nest. You know, just making sure they're okay?