Every year the Scottish SPCA cares for thousands of baby birds, or fledglings, who have been found out of their nest and unable to fly.


Although some young birds are rescued because they are injured, others are in good health but were picked up by well-intentioned passers-by when they should have been left alone.

What is a fledgling?

A fledgling is a fully feathered young bird who is typically found out of the nest, learning to fly. Unless they are in harm’s way, these young birds are usually fine and actually developing life skills i.e learning to fly.

Any unfeathered or fluffy birds found on the ground will be in need of help so please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 if you find one.

What can I do about a swooping gull?

Please know that gulls will become aggressive when trying to protect their fledgling young or nests and once nesting season has finished the gulls will move on.

Should the gulls pose a risk to public safety please contact your local council.

As a temporary measure we would suggest using an open umbrella as a deterrent when leaving your property if they are nesting near your home.

Should I call your animal helpline for help?

It’s understandable for people to be concerned when they come across a young bird on the ground that appears clumsy and unable to fly. However, this is a vital part of the learning process and the parents are likely nearby, watching as their young takes to the sky. If you’re unsure if what you have noticed is normal, please call our animal helpline for advice.

If you think a baby bird has been abandoned or orphaned, please call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 for advice.

Under no circumstances should anyone who discovers a nest try to touch or move the fledgling or nestlings inside. This is illegal and could cause the parents to abandon them.

Follow #SSPCABabyBirds on social media to find out more about the baby birds in our care!






Bird rescued by the Scottish SPCA being fed

Please help

You can help save sick and injured wild animals in Scotland