Different Types of Baby Birds
- There are two types of baby birds: altricial and precocial. The difference between these two types of birds is how developed they are when they hatch. Altricial birds are born bald, with no feathers and their eyes are closed, and these types of birds are usually those of song birds that build nests in trees. Precocial birds are usually the young of large birds such as geese, ducks and raptors, and these birds hatch with feathers and open eyes.
- Baby birds are also divided into two more types, depending on their life stage. Nestlings are baby birds that have hatched and are still dependent on their mother, while fledglings are baby birds just learning to fly or leave the nest. The Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center has a chart with photographs to help you determine what life stage a baby bird is at.
Rescuing Baby Birds
- Many people are confused as to what to do when they come across a baby bird in the wild, and what to do depends on the type. Baby birds that are just learning to fly, or fledglings, should be left alone as it is more than likely their parents have not abandoned them. In most cases, the baby bird will return back to the nest on their own once they figure out how to fly. Altricial birds that are slightly fuzzy and still have their eyes closed can be warmed in the hands and then placed back in their nest. According to the Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center, the misconception that parent birds will abandon a baby bird because of your smell is false, and birds do not have a good sense of smell anyway.
- If a baby bird is injured, you can take it to your nearest veterinary office or wildlife rehabilitation center to recuperate. Before taking baby birds out of the wild, consult your local laws because it may be illegal to disturb, touch or remove some species of birds.