What Happens If A Baby Bird Died In The Nest?

What Happens If A Baby Bird Died In The Nest

What happens if a baby bird died in the nest? This may turn out to be a confusing situation due to several reasons. Firstly, it puts you in a tight spot as regards what you should do. Also, you may not be sure about the real state of the bird.

What happens if a baby bird died in the nest?

Generally, when a baby bird dies, the decomposing body begins to attract insects and scavengers. Furthermore, if you discover a dead bird underneath a tree, it must have been pushed away from the nest. Birds such as Crows will eat the dead and also when some birds die, they will be trampled upon by the surviving siblings and they soon become dry.

Did You Just Discover A Baby Bird? Tips On What To Do

If you discover a baby bird which is grown with feathers and can hop or even fly, chances are high that it is either fledging or is fully-fledged.  When a bird gets to this developmental stage, it is already supposed to be out of the nest while making attempts to jump on trees.

Within a few days, the baby bird should be able to fly and should have attained full body weight and may just require a wing or tail for it to grow longer.  It is however ideal for the bird that you leave it at the spot where you found it while you keep your cats and dogs as far away as possible.

If you discover anyone in your house and you have the aforementioned animals, you may want to consider putting them in small trees or shrubs.  Also, you can place them in your neighbor’s house if they do not have the animals you do. When you do this, the baby bird will get the attention of its parents and they would come to feed it until it can fly.

On the other hand, you may think that the bird has been abandoned in the nest, but if you will wait just a bit, you will discover that one of the adults may come around.

What You Do Not Want To Happen To You?

It is not uncommon for people who discovered a baby bird to attempt nursing them till they are strong enough. More often than not, after a few days of doing this, the baby bird dies.  Such birds, most of who were fledging may have survived if they were on their own.

We know that most people have the best intentions; however, the ideal thing to do would be to place the bird back in a safe environment and leave it. You may also opt to take it to a wildlife rehabilitator.

From The Nestle To The Fledging

Baby birds are known to grow very quickly, most times within just a few days. Upon hatching, certain birds such as the American Robin and Northern Mockingbird usually spend just 12 days inside the nest before they fledge. If you cause disturbance to the nest after the 9th day, you will see them jump out because they think it is a predator attempting to eat them.

For cavity-nesting birds, they usually take a few extra days to blossom; however, all altricial passerine birds take about 20 days. However, the biggest passerine, the Raven takes about 2 days to become fledged. About two-thirds of the fledging mortality takes place in the initial five days of being out of the nest.

About seventy percent of fledging mortality takes place during initially five days of it being out of the nest.  This is mainly because the young birds are on the floor and they are quite noisy when seeking food. The majority of mortality is because of attacks by predators such as snakes and foxes. They also face the risk of being run over by moving cars or into home windows.

It would surprise you how many predators stay within urban areas and research indicates that the densities of some of these predators are quite higher in the urban settlements than in their natural homes.

What Happens When The Little Bird Has Little Feathers?

A baby bird should not be out of the nest if it doesn’t have feathers. At such a stage, they are still nestling. Hence, if you come across a baby bird and you know where its nest is, you should place it back there.

If the whole nest of the bird has been blown away from the bush or tree, you should place the chicks back inside the nest and have it placed back in the tree. In a situation where the nest is damaged or missing, you could opt to use a small basket with dry grass a replacement.

Should You Be Scared That The Adults Will Abandon The Nest?

No! The adults usually have a rather strong instinct that requires them to return to their nests and feed their young. This instinct is so strong that they do not mind feeding the bird in a makeshift nest. However, they may find it difficult to keep the chicks warm during the night in the manmade nest if it is not their shape and size, however, they will continue feeding them.

What Should You Do If You Discover A Baby Bird?

There is always a possibility of you stumbling upon a baby bird and when you do, take note of the following points

Don’t attempt to feed the bird

This is vital so that you do not end up doing more harm than good.  It is alright if you intend to fill a not too deep water container and put it close to the bird to drink, however, don’t force it. Also, be mindful of the fact that you will need the necessary permits for you to care for birds that are abandoned.

What you shouldn’t feed your baby bird

Several birds consume several seeds and birds like hummingbirds drink the nectar that however does not mean it is all they eat. This is even more so with baby birds that are still increasing in size or still growing feathers and as such requires constant protein.

Also, you shouldn’t feed wet bread or tofu to the baby bird. The records of people who have attempted to feed the birds with this ended up killing them. Doves and pigeons give what is referred to as crop sac milk to their young.

Even though illegal, what should I feed a baby bird?

If after considering the laid down laws regarding feeding birds and you still feel a need to feed them, be smart about it. The first thing you should consider is the bird species and what the parents feed their young. Some items you may consider include earth warms crickets, mealworms, and nightcrawlers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Websites I see online suggest I abandon the baby bird is it a good idea

It is neither a good or bad idea. It is a philosophical matter and the way you handle it depends on the kind of individual you are. There is nothing wrong with mother nature playing her part in the whole process, but you will agree with us that if we depended on mother earth for everything, we won’t need doctors.

What is the chance of the bird surviving if I live it on the ground

The chances are very slim and the reason is this: according to research by ornithologists, less than a third of the little wild birds that hatch ever survive the first year and most of them are lost after a few weeks. This is for birds that properly stayed in their nests hence you can imagine the fate of those that don’t.

How can I find a wildlife rehabilitator?

You may simply place a call to your local veterinary doctor for referrals on experienced people. You may also place a call through to your local  zoo

If I decide to take care of the bird, what would be needed?

You will first need a secluded environment. It doesn’t have to be large but it should be roomy, clean and airy. Also, the temperature should be ideal.

Will the bird learn to fly

Sure. Birds have the instinct to fly. It may take extra time with a bird that is raised by you.  However,  eventually, it will fly

When should the bird be released?

The best time to release the bird is when it can eat on its own and can fly


By now, you should know what happens if a baby bird died in the nest. However, knowing what happens is not enough, you should also know what to do in a situation of emergency. Birds are delicate and this is even more so when dealing with little birds. You have to be familiar with the extant laws governing wildlife in the territory where you are. The quality of decisions you make may likely affect the quality of life the bird gets to live.

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