Our animal rescue officers and inspectors went out to over 82,000 reports of animals in need in 2019 - and almost 10% of those were about baby birds! 

Whilst we are happy to help any baby birds, in many cases there is no welfare issue. It is very common for well-meaning people to disturb or accidentally rescue a baby bird which doesn't need rescued at all! Moving a baby bird away from the area where it is learning to fly can permanently separate it from its parents. Whilst we are able to care for and release young birds at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre, we would much rather as many birds as possible grow-up with their parents in the wild. 

Check out our FAQs. Our advice is simple. If the baby bird is fully feathered, it's highly likely it doesn't need help. If it has no feathers or is fluffy, give our Animal Helpline a call on 03000 999 999 right away. 

FAQs about baby birds

If you come across a baby bird on the ground, it will either be a fledgling or a nestling. 

A fledgling is a fully feathered young-bird which will be learning to fly if its out of the nest. A nestling will either be fluffy or unfeathered and it should never be out of the nest. Basically, there's nothing to be worried about if you see a fledgling out of the nest but there a nestling out of the nest likely needs help.

A fledgling on the ground should be left alone and, provided there is no immediate dangers around (for example, if the baby bird is on a road or vulnerable to nearby predators), try and move it to safety but keep it within range of where you think its parents are. 

If you are able to, monitor the fledgling from a safe distance for a couple of hours. If there's no sign of any parents after this, give our Animal Helpline a call on 03000 999 999.

If the fledgling is clearly sick or injured upon first look, please call our Animal Helpline immediately. If you can do so safely, please contain the baby bird in a well-ventilated box until we arrive. 

If the baby bird you've found is a nestling, which means it has no feathers or is fluffy, give our Animal Helpline a call on 03000 999 999 immediately. A nestling is too young to survive out of the nest and is highly vulnerable.

Please try and contain the nestling in a well-ventilated box until one of our Animal Rescue Officers gets there. 


We strongly advise against trying to place a baby bird back in a nest, whether it is a nestling or a fledgling. Even though it is with the best of intentions, disturbing a nest which may have other baby birds in it, as well as parents, will but all animals under great stress. 

It is also illegal to attempt to deliberately damage or move a nest whilst it is in use or being built. All birds, their eggs and their nests are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.