Become a member

Help us give nature a home from £3 a month.

Print page

Orphaned birds

Now and again partly developed blackbird chicks are found outside the nest, often because of predators such as cats. If possible, the chick should be returned to the nest. Should this not be possible, the chicks survival is dependent on human care. Intervene only if the chick is not fully feathered. Hand-rearing is time-consuming and difficult, and the chance of success is low: attempt it only as a last resort. In most instances orphaned young should be passed on to an expert rehabilitator.

Young blackbirds leave the nest when they are fully feathered but not yet able to fly. They remain flightless for a couple of days. Since the parents will continue to look after it for a further three weeks, a fledgling is extremely unlikely to be abandoned. If the fledgling is in an unsuitable place such as the middle of a footpath, it makes sense to move it a few feet out of harms way. Fledglings should almost never be rescued, but should be left well alone and in the care of their own parents.

Bird guide