Hello and help on fledgling question, please.


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Hello and help on fledgling question, please.

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Hello there!

I am so happy I found this forum. I have a question about a blue tit fledgling if I may. I did check the sticky regarding fledglings and the advice on there is what we were told when calling the RSPB but I'm a little concerned about something, or rather, I would appreciate having my mind put to rest on it if that's ok.

A friend came round this afternoon with a little baby bird she'd picked up in the park (later identified as a blue tit). She'd apparently found it on the ground on a pathway used regularly by dogs and walkers. For some reason, she thought she'd bring it to my house because she thought I would 'know what to do'! My immediate reaction was oh no, no, I'm sure it should just stay there because I've had nesting robins before and I know they go on the ground for a while and the parents will stay with them. To try and cut the story short, I called the RSPB and they said to return it immediately so we popped it into a shoebox (holes in lid) with some toilet paper (I didn't want to handle it more than necessary) and headed straight back for the park.

The RSPB said to put it back into the tree or a shrub near the tree so the parents could find it. When I got there, though, the nesting box (which has been put on the tree by the council) was way up a sheer side of a really big tree. I'm unclear how the bird got on the ground but the lady who works in the park pointed out the nesting box side had fallen away and seemed to think the poor little thing had fallen out. The council were supposed to fix the cover today but had to go home or something (grrr). This tree is also right near the park refreshment stand, the park playground, right next to a seating rotunda and smack bang in the middle of four converging paths. No shrubbery or ground cover near the tree at all. We then all debated for a while and then went over the road to a really kindly neighbour who lent us a ladder. It was too short unfortunately so then we debated calling the fire brigade, decided that probably wasn't a good idea so I called my vet (thankfully still open).

They said it probably sounded really odd but to leave the bird near the tree, step way back, and the parents would actually help it climb. The side of this tree is really vertical though but I thought it was probably all we could do. I had asked if I should take it home for the night and wait for the council to fix the side of the box but the vet said it wouldn't survive the night in my house and she suspected it was due to go out the nest anyway or very close to the time anyway. At this point we had established the mother was nearby and was observing the chick on the ground and it was calling out to her which was apparently a good sign.

We then all stepped way, way back and lo and behold the little thing started hoping off past the refreshment hut and close to another much smaller tree with sloping branches which it promptly started to hop up! Amazing. We were so happy. The mother then turned up and started feeding it and a little while later the father. To say we were overwhelmed with relief is an under-statement. It then, though, hopped straight out the tree and onto the ground again near a flower-bed and then about fifteen feet away, a series of shrubs. The mother kept coming in to feed it and we stayed around for another couple of hours just watching it and asking dog walkers to stay clear, etc. (everyone was very nice and understanding).

The situation now is that we have left it at eight thirty (daylight has gone but park is open until eleven). It is still the flower bank and the parents were still feeding it. It didn't make any attempt to either go into the flower-bed or the nearby tree. What I would like to know is, did we do the right thing leaving it there? Even though it is near all this traffic, it's not on any direct path. My feeling was to put it in the shrub or on the ground near it but it was quite heavily covered in vegetation and my friend and the park lady and another lady all seemed to think the parents would move it off if they felt it needed more shelter and that it might get trapped in the vegetation anyway.

I'm just really worried that I should have put it in the shrub. Most people don't use the park past about eight and there weren't any dogs around but I'm really worried about foxes. I'd appreciate it if someone could let me know if we did everything right and this is normal behaviour for them - i.e. to stay on the ground in relatively open areas and the parents will move them off if they feel it necessary. I also thought about trying to get it back in the smaller tree but again, everyone felt the parents would encourage it to do this if they felt it was in the wrong place (i.e. on the ground).

I am also truly sorry for the length of this post but I couldn't think of another way to give all the information.

Verified Answer
  • Hi Beenaut and welcome from me.

    Yes, you did the right thing. If the parents think the baby is in danger they will call it to them, and it will follow their call. Parents know best in these cases, and please don't worry too much. You have done all you can.

  • Hello Beenaut,

    Welcome to the forum from me. Like the others have said you done everything right. The parents always come looking for the young ones, so don't worry.

All Replies
  • Hi Beenaut and welcome from me.

    Yes, you did the right thing. If the parents think the baby is in danger they will call it to them, and it will follow their call. Parents know best in these cases, and please don't worry too much. You have done all you can.

  • Hello Beenaut,

    Welcome to the forum from me. Like the others have said you done everything right. The parents always come looking for the young ones, so don't worry.

  • Ok, thank you so much. That really makes me feel better. I figured that we had done all we could to put it back into as natural a situation for it as possible and that what will happen now is up to the order of things. I'll still say little words to the universe for it tonight anyway.

    Apologies again for the post length but thank you and thank you very much for the welcome, too. It seems really nice here so I will definitely stay and hopefully learn loads. I focus a lot on bees but I'd love to have more birds around too so this is perfect.

  • Oh sorry. I should have said to all three of you, Doggie, Sparrow, and Wren, thank you. Just finding my feet so to speak :). But yes, thank you very much.

  • That's OK , hope you will enjoy yourself,and ask any questions.  

  • Oh actually, I have one more question (sorry!).

    In terms of this bird box that it fell out of (that has its cover missing and the council is replacing them ). Would it be a good idea to call them to ask them to move it to a tree that has better ground-cover, etc.? (obviously only once this nest has finished being used this year). I did get the number for them from the park lady and I can definitely call them, no problem.

    From the little I've learned from reading online tonight, they do tend to go on the ground quite regularly so my thinking is bird boxes should probably accommodate for this or do you think it's ok where it is? I don't mind hassling the council to get them to move it but I obviously don't know very much so would appreciate more experienced or knowledgeable input. They have a few I noticed dotted around that, again, have nothing on the ground beneath them in terms of cover and so on but I assume they must know what they're doing (although I don't know).

    Apologies. I meant to ask this in the first post.

  • Hi doggie!

    Yes, I see that! I've already gone banging on ad nauseaum in one thread and I'll keep rooting around for more. Learning a lot about birds on the way, too. Lovely forum. Doing my RSPB membership now as well. Oh, and I texted my friend because she's been feeling really bad so she feels much better now as well, so thank you all again from her. Big lessons learned all round today.

  • Hi. Welcome to the forum.

    Any news on the baby bird?

    Have your been to the park today?


  • Hi there! Thank you. I haven't been down yet, no. My friend is going down in a bit with the dogs so she'll speak to the park lady. To be honest, I'm being really cowardly about it because I'm worried it didn't make the night but I didn't express this to her so I'm sure she'll get an update and tell me. If the worst has happened or we see signs of it, I think we'll just have to take it as a massive warning lesson. I'll be absolutely gutted, though. But yeah, I'll definitely post an update for sure.

    Ok, cool, thanks Doggie. I'll give the guy a call and ask if they can move them. If I get any indifference, I'll make a complaint although they should be fine about it. I might write to the RSPB too and ask them to contact them to give them advice anyway. That one certainly seems to me to be in a terrible place but then you assume, don't you, that the parents aren't that thick and if they feel it's good enough, it probably is. Nonethless, it's broken anyway so they may as well remove it altogether.

    Anyway, that's the situation now but I'll post updates on everything in a bit. Thanks again to everyone.


    Ok, GREAT NEWS! Apparently, according to both my friend and the park lady, they checked extensively round the area and there were no signs of the little guy (or girl) and no feathers or other indications of the worst outcome. Also, rather unbelievably, there are now three babies in the nest as opposed to the two that were definitely there yesterday which can only mean that after we left last night, the parents must have somehow got it back up!

    I don't know HOW because it really is a massively vertical climb but this is exactly what the vet said would happen if we left it. I told her repeatedly that it's really vertical and high and she just kept saying 'no, no, they know what to do, just go away from them, baby birds have been falling out of trees since forever, the parents know what to do'. So, in a way, leaving it where it was was actually a great thing to do as if I'd put it in the shrubs or vegetation, I can foresee that it would have been a more than exhausting situation for them to get it out. My sense is they knew we were somehow interfering so were just feeding it and so on, keeping an eye on the situation and in a close enough spot but reasonably sheltered until we left before they could get to proper work to get it back. Even though we had the best intentions, the expert advice is obviously spot on for all sorts of reasons and if we'd left earlier they probably would have had a sooner opportunity. The reason we didn't though, really, was because of the doggies floating around so we were there more to marshall them out the way than anything else.

    I mean, I don't know and I feel that I'm rambling with relief but there are definitely three there today and there were definitely only two yesterday so this can only be what happened. That, or it somehow got flying, but they've definitely checked really closely and they can't see a sign of it anywhere in the vicinity either on the ground or any little feathers and I know for sure we definitely saw the two in there yesterday because you can see right into the nest and we could see the parents going back and forth feeding them as well. I am just so happy and my friend is in tears of relief. Thank God for all the calm, level-headed people that helped us out yesterday.

    Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know. I've called the council guy but he's out today so I'll get onto him tomorrow. For now, though, I think the chances of anything else happening are slim as the vet has said they're more than likely due to go out pretty soon anyway and that lovely park lady is there too so she's keeping an eye on things. My friend and I will both keep heading down there too regularly over the next few days a few times a day to see it's all ok as well. Longer term, I'm going to keep on at the council and get other walkers and residents to help out with pressure if necessary. They should put notices on all park boards, I think, giving RSPB advice on what to do with fledglings and mainly just making the point to leave them and stay out the way so the parents can help out.

    Thanks again all so much! All indications are it turned out just fine and the little guy is back where he belongs and we are just so happy it's silly. What a great result.

  • That is absolutely great news.  I'm so pleased for the little bird and his parents. And also to you. I know how you feel. I had a bit of a dilema a few weeks ago with a baby blue tit - you can probably read my story if you click on my profile.

    Panic over for you now.


  • Thanks so much, Suzy. I had a look at your little guy - so sweet. And yeah, excellent sensible work on your part. I know little to nothing about birds but one thing this whole experience taught me is they're actually pretty tough and have loads of evolutionary skill but sometimes need a little help from people to get them out of people-created problems I guess. I'm really happy it worked out for you and thank you again :)