During the late spring and summer months it is likely to encounter a baby bird that appears abandoned on the ground. A fledgling bird is actually taught to seek food on its own, while its parents observe from a distance. Do not assume the bird needs your help at first. If the bird remains on its own all day and doesn’t appear to have help from parent birds then you may choose to feed the bird and care for it until you can get it to a wildlife rehabilitator.
Feed a fledgling bird the same as a dog or cat. Soak dry dog food or cat food in water to make it moist and easy to swallow. The contents of the pet food will be the best temporary diet for the bird, according to the Louisiana SCPA. The bird will open its beak in an attempt to beg for food when it is hungry. Don’t forget to make a homemade nest for the bird to sit in, such as a small bowl lined with paper towels.
For many species a baby bird’s diet requires a lot of protein in order to grow at a fast rate, according to The Aviary website. Meat should make up the majority of what you feed to a fledgling bird. Cut up small pieces of raw kidney or liver and give it to the bird using a pair of tweezers to drop into the mouth. Aside from meat, baby birds may also get protein from the whites of a hard-boiled egg cut into small strips. They will also eat the boiled yolk of the egg if it is mashed into a paste. Protein rich dog biscuits soaked in water will also work as a temporary food for fledglings.
Do not use milk to soften dry foods for birds, as they are not able to digest it properly, according to the Louisiana SPCA. While it may seen natural to feed babies milk, remember that these creatures are not breast fed mammals and their requirements differ from other animals. Avoid dairy products, because the bird may already be having a hard enough time surviving, without having to cope with digestive problems too.
A fledgling bird will need to eat every 15 to 30 minutes from dawn until dusk, according to the Louisiana SPCA. Carefully drop the foods into the mouth of the bird and continue to feed it until it stops opening its mouth and begging for more. Do not touch the bird unless absolutely necessary and keep it in a warm place where it will not be disturbed.
Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.