Opening Hours

Animal Viewing Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 3pm

General Hours: 
Most Days: 9am - 5pm
Wednesdays:  10am - 5pm
CLOSED: Sundays and Public Holidays

Fledglings & The Good Samaritan

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018
Spring is a time for nesting and rearing young

The first week of Spring is upon us and an easy walk around our “Bush Capital” will tell you that the wildlife knows this too. The change of season brings along a variety of new beginnings and at the same time challenges for our animal friends. One issue we see at RSPCA ACT is fledgling birds and the ‘Good Samaritan’.

In previous springs, our Shelter has received hundreds of fledglings when good Samaritans mistakenly ‘rescued’ baby birds they find on the ground. While we love that people are looking out for the welfare of animals, it’s important to note that all may not be as it seems. These fledglings are doing exactly what nature intended - leaving their nest before they can fly.

During nesting season, birds that have recently left the nest can be found on the ground, causing concern to people walking nearby. The birds might look abandoned, but more often than not, parent birds are feeding nearby.

Few of these baby birds are injured; they just haven't mastered the art of flying yet. Fledglings can spend a few days on the ground while their feathers complete their growth and for their wings to become strong enough for flight. A vital part of the learning to fly process means learning from the ground up - literally.
If you are unsure of whether a fledgling needs rescuing, monitor it discreetly from a distance before taking any action. If they are upright and mobile, it’s best to leave them be. The fledgling stage is a critical time of development for baby birds. During this time they learn survival and feeding skills under the watchful eye of their nearby parents.

If the fledglings are at risk, try placing the bird in a nearby tree or nest. Don’t worry if you have touched the baby. Parents will still accept babies that have been handled by humans. Regardless, handling should be kept to a minimum to avoid frightening them any more than necessary. It’s imperative for their welfare to make every attempt possible to ’re-nest’ or reunite a healthy, uninjured fledgling with its parents.

If you can’t find their nest, you can make a makeshift one out of an old container. We suggest lining the new nest with dry grass, pieces of the original nest and surrounding foliage. Poke it with a few holes and wedge it in the tree, so it’s secure.

So what do you do if you find a bird that has been injured or abandoned? First, try to keep them safe, tranquil and warm. Try loosely wrapping the bird in a towel and gently placing it in a secure and well-ventilated box away from the noise. It’s imperative that you do not attempt to feed the bird as this could cause further health concerns. Seek professional advice from ACT Wildlife or RSPCA ACT.

At the end of the day, the best place for any baby animal is with their parents to raise them in their special ways.