As the weather warms and we start to linger longer outside, it is not uncommon to see young birds sitting on the ground. It is a common experience that many of us have had. You see a baby bird out of the nest, apparently alone and in distress. As it chirps and hops around, initiating your desire ‘to help,’ it is natural to wonder whether you should pick up the bird and offer assistance or leave it alone and let nature take its course.
The latter is typically the better choice. Most often, the bird is a fledgling, not a baby, and is not in need of human help. Fledglings are similar to the awkward teenager years of humans. They are too big to stay in the nest and thus are more likely to be encountered by humans. Though it may initially seem like it, they are not alone. Their parents are nearby and still feed and protect them. These fledglings, though covered in feathers, haven’t quite learned how to fly, which is why they are found on the ground. They can, however, flutter quite well and use this as practice for flying over the next few days. Between the watchful, though often unseen, eyes of the parents and their ability to flutter, the fledglings usually get themselves out of harm’s way.
A good rule of thumb to follow is, as the wildlife experts say, “If you care, leave it there.”