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Baby Birds Move Out of the Nest

But they're still pretty clueless and clumsy!

After they leave the nest but before they take flight, many baby birds - especially robins and flickers - spend time on or near the ground. If you see such a baby bird, and your first thought is to "rescue" it, the better thing to do is let it be. Protect it from cats. Then watch from a distance, to see if an adult comes to feed it.

If a bird or other animal is truly sick or injured, locate your local wildlife rehabilitator.

Full Transcript



Baby Birds—Out of the Nest

Written by Ellen Blackstone

[A few notes from “Can't Help Lovin' That Man” in the background]
Fish gotta swim. Birds gotta fly… But before they do, many baby birds spend time on or near the ground. Young robins and flickers, in particular, spend a few days at ground level after they leave the nest, and before they learn to fly. And although it’s sometimes dangerous for the birds, it’s natural. So if you see a baby bird on the ground, and your first thought is to “rescue” it, the better thing to do is let it be. Make sure that there are no cats nearby. Then watch from a distance—maybe even from inside—to see if an adult comes down to feed the baby.  [The plaintive cheep of a baby robin]
Unless the bird is injured or you know for certain that it has been abandoned, you should leave it alone. Transporting a baby away from its nest area will guarantee an interruption of its natural life. [The plaintive cheep of a baby robin]
To learn more about what to do when you find injured or orphaned wildlife, visit our web site,
 [A few more measures from “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man”]
BirdNote’s advisors include Dennis Paulson, Herb Curl, Idie Ulsh, Connie VanDeventer, Victor Scheffer and Bob Sundstrom. Our producer is John Kessler and our Executive Producer is Chris Peterson. I’m Frank Corrado.

Plaintive peeps of baby robins recorded by Martyn Stewart,
Short clip from Billie Holiday “Can’t Help Lovin’ that Man”
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© Seattle Audubon 06/06/06


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