Help! I found a baby bird.

If you're outside during spring and summer, sooner or later you're probably going to find a baby bird. Look it over. If it's injured and needs medical attention, take it to your local veterinarian or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Call your local game warden for the name and phone number of the nearest wildlife rehabilitator or check the Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory.

If the bird is uninjured you should ask yourself, "Is it really an orphan?" Nine times out of ten the answer is no! Look for nests in nearby trees and shrubs. They are usually well hidden and hard to get to. If you can find the nest, simply put the bird back in it. It's a myth that the parents will not care for young birds that have been touched by humans. In fact, birds have a poor sense of smell. Great horned owls kill and eat skunks without even noticing their overpowering stench.

If you can't find the nest, put the baby bird in a shrub or tree - somewhere up off the ground. As soon as you leave, the parents, who were probably watching you the whole time, will return and continue to feed the fledgling. If you want to be sure the parents are still around, observe the baby bird from a distance, preferably with binoculars. If the parents don't return to an undisturbed nestling in two hours, something may be wrong. The parents may have been killed by predators or hit by a car. Don't worry if you only see one parent. A single parent can raise the young alone.

Every May, Bird TLC has a Baby Bird Clinic. Yes, you also can become a baby bird mom or dad. I let you know as soon as we have this years clinic scheduled.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Under federal and state laws, it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to possess a native wild bird.