If you can’t do that right away, or if there is no vet or animal rescue near you, it will need to be fed. Baby birds have delicate digestive systems and can only tolerate certain types of food. If you’ve just rescued a baby bird, it is important to contact a vet or a bird sanctuary quickly so that they can assess if it is injured and get it back to its nest.This guide can help you know what to feed a baby bird, how to encourage it to eat, and how often to feed.
Identify the bird’s species. Before you can feed a nestling, you need to know what kind of bird it is. Different types of birds eat different types of food. For example, some birds eat only seeds, while others eat only insects and worms. Other birds, like vultures, are meat-eaters. If you feed a seed-eater a diet of worms, he will die. It is very important to identify the species before attempting an emergency feeding.
- For help identifying your bird’s species, visit http://www.babybirdid.com/, where you can view a gallery of images of common nestlings.
- If you have a large social network on Facebook or Twitter, you can also try posting a picture of the baby bird and asking for help with an identification. When you get a response, be sure to do a Google image search to verify that the identification is correct.
- Once you have identified the bird, you need to search the internet or a reliable reference book for information about that species’ diet. For example, if you have found a baby chickadee, an internet search for “what do chickadees eat” or “chickadee diet” will tell you that they mostly eat insects but also like some seeds
2Do not give a nestling water. Birds breathe through a hole in their tongue and can drown if you put water into their mouths.
- Birds get plenty of water through the appropriate food source for their species, so it is not necessary to supplement their diet with water. Doing so can be fatal.
3Feed songbirds appropriately. Songbirds are the most typical kind of bird you’ll encounter. Most songbird nestlings eat insects, but some, like house finches, don’t.
- For insect eaters: chopped mealworms (available at pet stores) or insects like flies, crickets, grasshoppers, and moths.
- You can supplement the insects with chopped, cooked, and cooled to room temperature hard-boiled eggs.
4Feed seed eaters the right food. Seed eaters tend to be the smaller birds (sparrows, chickadees, doves, etc).
- Feed seed-eaters high protein dry infant cereal mixed with water (for example, Gerber brand baby oatmeal), wheat germ, corn or oatmeal that has been powdered in the blender.
5Feed meat eaters the right food. Meat-eating birds tend to be the biggest ones, birds of prey like falcons and so on. They will need to be fed even more frequently than the smaller birds and are more dangerous to handle, but they are also the ones you’re least likely to encounter.
6Avoid mixing batches of food more than a day ahead of time. Otherwise the food will go bad and will harm, or even kill the baby bird. Remember that caring for a baby bird requires a lot of work and energy and you’ll be mixing a lot of batches of food.
- Feed them high protein dry kitten or dog food that has been soaked in water so that it is soft, or canned pureed meats prepared for infants such as chicken or beef.
- You can also feed them boiled chicken or live insects like flies and mealworms.
- Mix up the amount of bird food that you will need for one feeding at a time– generally just a few teaspoons for a small bird.
- Remember that most baby birds eat food that has been digested and regurgitated by their parents, so keep the consistency wet but not liquidy.