FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What to do if you find a baby bird:
1) Look for any sign of injury:
If the bird is injured (bleeding, been attacked by a cat or other animal, or some other obvious injury), it needs to get to BPRC, a raptor rehabilitator or wildlife veterinarian.
Click here for a list of Texas Wildlife rehabilitators. Click here for local partners with BPRC that will get the bird to us.
2) If you see no injury, then is the bird completely feathered?
If it is, it is probably fine. Baby birds that are learning to fly (known as a fledgling) often end up on the ground. It is a normal stage in learning for birds. It takes practice to fly (just like humans fall down a lot learning to walk). As long as it appears uninjured, leave it alone, do your best to make sure other people or animals aren’t in the area that could harm it, and then leave the area. Parent’s won’t feed or approach a baby while people are around.
3) If it has little or no feathering, then try to find the nest. The best thing for a baby bird at this stage (known as a nestling) is being in it’s nest. Look up in the nearest trees or bushes.
4) If you find the nest, go ahead and put the baby back in the nest. It is a myth that birds can smell human scent and won’t take care of it (most birds have a terrible sense of smell).
If you can’t find the nest, or it is unreachable, you can make a substitute nest.
Using a small berry basket or plastic tub (put drain holes in the bottom), fill it with grass and attach it as close as you can to the original nest or as close to where the nestling was found.
Once it is back in its nest, or in the nest you have created, leave it alone. Birds will not return if you are in the area. If you can watch from an indoor location, that is fine. Don’t worry if the parents don’t return right away. It can take quite some time for a parent to be comfortable in approaching.
The best chance for baby birds to survive is to leave them alone. In most cases, a baby bird that somebody tries to raise will die. And in many cases, if the bird survives being hand-raised, once released back into the wild it won’t have the proper skills to survive. Remember, only a parent can teach a baby the appropriate skills its kind needs to survive in the wild!!
Remember: Attempting to raise a wild bird is illegal unless you have obtained the proper federal and state permits to do so.
BPRC partners with many organizations and animal control services to receive raptors. Please click here to go to our injured/orphaned page for help.
Want more information about becoming a wildlife rehabilitator? Contact your state’s wildlife agency, Texas Parks and Wildlife or U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Raptors are birds of prey in the orders falconiformes and strigiformes. In English, that means eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, osprey, kites, and others.
The main feature of a raptor is a hooked beak and long, sharp talons.
Do you handle only raptors?
Yes, we are licensed for raptors only. We cannot accept or keep any other kind of bird.
What are the common hawks we see in North Texas during the summer?
The more common species of hawks seen this time of year include:
(Click on the links below to read more about each of these raptors).
Only the Swainson’s Hawk is a summer visitor. All the other species are year round residents.
Cool fact about raptors: In the raptor world, the females are approximately 30% larger than the males. This is known as reverse sexual size dimorphism. Reasons for this difference in size: the need for the female to protect the nest, and it gives a mated pair the ability to go after prey of different size and species.