With baby bird season upon us, you’re likely to see fledglings making attempts to leave the nest from now into summer.
We often see lots of native fledglings like Tūī, Kererū and Silver Eyes coming to The Nest Te Kōhanga, but the best place for them to be is near their parents.
It’s pretty normal to see fledglings chirping alone on the ground – it’s all part of growing up. Their parents will be encouraging them to leave the nest, and some baby birds can spend up to two weeks on the ground as they learn how to fly, while still being fed by their parents.
If you do come across a New Zealand native fledgling on the ground, it will most likely be practicing its flight training or waiting for its parents to return with food. To give it the best chance, leave the fledgling where it is and keep an eye on it from a distance. This is a great time to make sure your cats are inside at a safe distance.
While it can be tempting to care for young birds, this is best left up to their parents. Young birds need to learn foraging behaviours from their parents so they can thrive in the wild. If you notice a fledgling with visible wounds to its body, such as blood on its feathers, drooping wings, or if you see that the bird isn’t alert or responsive, then get in touch with us at the Zoo. Our Vet Team will be able to tell you if it needs to be brought in for treatment.
If you spot a non-native fledgling that may require help, the best thing to do is to either place the young bird under a bush and hopefully the parents will come back and find it, or look for the nest and carefully place the bird back inside.
If you find an injured native bird, you can call the Department of Conservation on their DOC Hotline on 0800 DOCHOT or The Nest Te Kōhanga on (04) 803 0764 or try Wellington Zoo on (04) 381 6755.
For advice on injured non-native bird species, contact Wellington SPCA on (04) 389 8044.