Birds | Winnipeg Humane Society
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The Winnipeg Humane Society protects animals from suffering and promotes their welfare and dignity – including Manitoba wildlife.

Nestlings (pink baby birds, without feathers)

Infant birds (pink, or with minimal feather development) will fall from their nests, particularly on windy days in the spring or summer. These babied should be placed back in their nest if possible. Their nest will not by far, as they have more than likely fallen out of the nearest tree.

If the nest is too high up, you can create a substitute nest out of a margarine container. Line the container with twigs and grass, and poke holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. This makeshift nest should be placed as close as possible to the bird’s original nest.

Despite what many people have heard, it’s okay to touch a baby bird. Bird’s have a poor sense of smell and will not abandon their baby because of a human scent. Monitor the nest and see if the mother continues feeding the baby bird.

If the baby is pushed out of the nest again, it could indicate intentional brood reduction. If the babies are pushed out more than twice, please call Wildlife Haven immediately.

Nestlings are difficult to raise in captivity, as they must be fed every 15 minutes during the day. Missing a feeding can be detrimental and could lead to deformities or feather abnormalities. This intensive care restricts the number of nestlings Wildlife Haven can care for at a given time. It’s important to note that the bird will have a much better chance of survival if it is placed with its parents.

Fledglings (juvenile birds with feathers, can’t fly)

Before birds can actually fly, they jump out of the nest and spend a few days on the ground. These young, feathered birds look like their adult counterparts except for one thing: their tails are much shorter. This is when the birds sharpen their foraging skills and practice take-offs from the ground. Fledglings can be mistaken as adult birds with wing injuries because of their failed attempts at flying. This is a perfectly normal stage of development that humans should not interfere with. They only need help if there is visible sign of an injury (one wing droopy, blood, problems standing, etc.).

If you monitor the bird, you will see the parents swoop down approximately once an hour with some food. This is a very quick exchange and you’d need to watch carefully, without looking away, to be convinced the bird isn’t orphaned.

It is important not to interfere with the fledgling’s development. Humans cannot teach the bird how to sing or recognize an alarm call – only their parents can do that. If you’d like to help the bird, the best thing to do is keep your pets indoors and away from the birds.

Crow on the ground

From early June until mid July it is common to find fledgling crows on the ground. Just like other birds, this is normal and part of a crow’s development. Feldgling crows will look awkward on the ground and may look like they have an injury, but in almost all cases they are fine and should be left alone. The best way to test if a fledgling crow is okay is to approach it. If you hear its parents cawing at you from up in the trees, then the bird should be left alone unless an injury is apparent.

Ducklings and mom

Only approach ducklings and their mom if they are in danger (i.e. on a busy road) and escort them to the nearest water source. If water is not accessible, put the ducklings in an open box and carry them to the nearest water source. Make sure you and the box are in the mother duck’s view the entire time.

Many ducklings (over four) and no mom

Place the ducklings in an open box with a shallow pan of water. Place it in a safe and open area for the mother find. Wait for two hours (or half an hour on a hot day). If the mother does not come, please bring the ducklings to Wildlife Haven.

One to four ducklings and no mom

Unless you can find the ducking’s parent or siblings nearby, bring them to Wildlife Haven as soon as possible.

Bird involved in cat attack

Any bird that is attacked (signs of injury or not) must go to Wildlife Haven. The bird will need to be treated with antibiotics.

Bird involved in window collision

Ever year, especially during the spring and fall migration, Wildlife Haven is flooded with birds suffering from injuries due to colliding with a window. If you find a bird that has hit a window, place it in a small box (shoe boxes work especially well), with a non-fraying towel at the bottom and air-holes poked from the inside out. Do not place any food or water with the bird, as they may drown.

Place the bird in a warm, quiet, and dark area for a couple hours. Afterwards, take the box outside and remove the lid. Often the bird will fly away beautifully. However, if the bird does not attempt to fly or cannot fly far, it should be transported to Wildlife Haven as soon as possible.

To prevent birds from striking windows, there are several things you can do such as: hanging windsocks, sheered garbage bags, wind chimes, and falcon silhouettes.

Birds of prey

Birds of prey are considered dangerous because of their beaks and talons. Please contact Wildlife Haven for assistance.

Where to drop off wild life

Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre: 204-878-3740 OR
Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: 204-510-1855 OR