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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 8077
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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I have found a wild fledgling and I'm unsure how to proceed

Customer Question

I have found a wild fledgling and I'm unsure how to proceed with it
JA: What type of bird are we talking about?
Customer: It seems to be a fledgling house sparrow
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Can you tell me a little more about the sparrow's situation? How long has this been a concern?
Customer: It has minor injuries that I've been able to minorly tend to, I'm unsure whether it has more. I have kept it in a safe spot making sure to feed it appropriate food and water. This fledgling has been a concern for a day, it flew away in the morning but it was brought into my garden by a cat.
JA: What environment do you keep the sparrow in? Are there other pets or animals around?
Customer: I have a cat I keep secluded away from the bird, I'm keeping it in a shoebox that contains hay and other things that can be found in a nest, I'm keeping it in a cooler spot as the temperatures where I live are unexpectedly higher
JA: What's the sparrow's name?
Customer: I have not named the sparrow as it is wild
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about As?
Customer: I'm unsure what to do with it, I fear that if I take care of it too long it may become reliant on me, I'm also fearful that the bird's parents are dead as I have not seen the presence of any other bird of it's kind. I'm worried about releasing it due to the large cat population in my neighbourhood.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 16 days ago.

Hello, this is Dr Linda, a UK based vet with 10 years of clinical experience.

I'm sorry to hear this little fledgling has been through a lot already in its short life and thank you for caring and helping it!

Fledglings should usually be left alone except if in danger, for example, if left on a road. Obviously in this case, if a cat has been at the fledgling, here is the exception.

If the wounds are significant or infected, the little bird should be brought to a local vet who will provide vet care free of charge. Alternatively, you can call a local wildlife rescue to come and collect it.

If it seems relatively ok, leave it as close to where you think it came from. The parents may leave it for long periods and are not always easily seen.

If, however, the parents can sense the cat's or human's scent on it, they may never return. In this case, it is best to contact a local wildlife sanctuary to come and get it. This is not ideal as not all cases of rehabilitation are successful, but it is worth trying.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
It seems decently okay now however I don't want to be too certain about leaving it, my neighbourhood has a huge cat population and I wouldn't want the same thing occuring to the bird. I'm unsure of what to do in this situation. I have looked for wildlife rescues nearby to see whether or not they might be worth it, but I wanted help from a professional before I acted on anything
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 16 days ago.

Unfortunately all fledglings are at risk of cat attacks, but this is an accepted risk.

Unless there is a cat who is actively seeking it out to attack it, it is still best for the fledgling to leave it for mum and dad to care for.

I would leave it where it is, but contact a local rescue if necessary down the road.

The first printable on this web page is one I often show my clients and is very useful:

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
There is a cat that is constantly circulating around the area I live in, which is why I'm so worried to leave it outside - I do not know if it is attempting to hunt this specific bird or not. Should I contact a local rescue incase? And would veterinary clinics like the Blue Cross be of any help in this situation?
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 16 days ago.

In this case, if there is a cat who is very nearby and actively attempting to get to the bird, it is safest to take it inside.

Unless the bird is injured, vets and charities are not the best point of contact, a rescue would be.

Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 15 days ago.

Hi there, how is the little fledgling getting on?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The fledgling is okay, it seems lively and I will let it outside momentarily
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I'll keep watch over it and see if its parents return
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 15 days ago.

Oh, good! I'm glad to hear it is lively.

Fingers crossed for a happy ending for this little one, it's great it has you looking out for it.

This window will remain open so please feel welcome to check back in at any time.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Okay, thank you