WHAT DO BABY BIRDS EAT? Explained Everything
Baby birds generally eat whatever their parents are having for dinner because the parent must regurgitate its food into the mouths of its offspring. Birds, when they are born, are not capable of breaking down food so their parents must first partially digest food to make it safe for baby birds.
Consult the experts if you think a baby bird isn’t being fed
If you find a baby bird that does not seem to be fed, look for an hour or two to see if its parents provide food for it again. Note that the mother bird only needs a few seconds to feed its baby, so inattentive observers could miss several feeding cycles. However, if one parent bird has to look after several baby birds in different places, parental visits could be irregular. When the baby bird is fed, you can be sure that its parents have provided for its needs, and there is no unnecessary intervention if the baby bird does not appear injured or sick.
Step 1: If the baby bird does not appear to be fed and becomes increasingly weak and lazy, the first step should be to find a licensed rehabilitator to provide, or guide you through, the appropriate care.
Step 2: If you have found a baby bird that needs to be fed but does not have contact with its parents or an animal rehabilitator, it is essential to know that a baby bird needs a portion of food similar to its natural diet. While each wild bird has its diet, different types of food can serve as an emergency ration if necessary.
What to feed a baby bird
In nature, baby birds eat the same things that their parents eat: Worms, insects, and seeds. However, chicks can eat different types of food if they are taken care of by whoever found them. You could use puppy food soaked in water until it’s like a sponge. Moist dog or cat food can also be used in a jam when at room temperature. You can also use finely chopped fruits and vegetables (such as corn or peas) and even small insects.
It is equally essential to recognize that baby birds have very different nutritional needs than adult birds. What an adult bird eats can harm its young. As a baby bird grows, its diet can be adapted to more raw meat, giving them the protein that’s needed. As for water, a baby bird gets what it needs from the food it eats.
What not to offer when feeding baby birds:
- Bread and bakery products
- Kitchen waste
Unlike mammals, birds do not drink milk and their digestive systems won’t tolerate milk. Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that mixing bread and milk makes for an ideal feed for baby birds. Milk can be toxic to birds, so avoid feeding it entirely.
When a baby bird is older, it can consume ”adult” bird foods without harming itself, and the longer it can stay between strokes.
DIY baby bird food
One easy recipe for feeding baby birds involves just two ingredients: pet food and water.
- Soaking dog biscuits or kibble in water will create a mushy consistency that’s easy to take and digest for young birds. This mimics the texture of the food given by mama birds in the wild and is also a high-protein option, which is extra important for nestlings.
- A classic biscuit treat like Milk-Bones is ideal for recipes like these. To forgo the mixing and mashing, a canned pet food like the Cesar brand is another great option. You still might want to stir in a tiny bit of water if your bird is particularly young, though.
How to feed a baby bird
Step 1: If you need to feed a wild baby bird, remember to offer foods that have a spongy consistency instead of dripping with water, which can suffocate or drown it. All dry food should be softened before offering it.
Step 2: Food should only be offered at room temperature, never heated or refrigerated.
Step 3: Keep food pieces small and proportional to the size of the bird — tiny birds need tiny bites. Cut or crush food properly to fit the size of the bird.
Step 4: When feeding the bird, be as careful as possible to minimize the risk of additional stress or injury. Never force a bird to eat its food.
Lastly, remember that feeding a baby bird should be only an emergency measure. If one is abandoned and needs care, it should be taken by a bird-rescue organization or an experienced rehabilitator as soon as possible. They can not only feed baby birds with a diet suitable for their type, but they also teach them to live independently, avoid predators, and master other skills to live in nature successfully.
- Why do birds fly into windows? The truth is kind of sad
- Aquatic turtles: Care and feeding basics every Testudines enthusiast needs to know
- Are ducks good pets? 8 things to consider when thinking of adopting these cute feathered friends
- Determined to raise backyard chickens? 6 essential things to do before you set up your coop
- Try out these 6 different kinds of best bird feeders to attract your feathered friends
What To Do If You Find a Baby Bird
First of all, it’s very common to see fully feathered young birds on their own in the spring or summer. You might not see any parents around and worry they’re in danger, but this is a perfectly normal part of their development. These are called fledglings, and they’ve left the nest to build their strength before they can fly.
If you interfere with a fledgling, you could do a lot more harm than good. If they are a monogamous species of bird, both of their parents are probably nearby. If not, at least the mother bird is likely close, looking for food or watching its young from a safe distance. Your very presence may have even scared them away in the first place! You should only touch or remove a fledgling when you know it is injured or you are certain it is abandoned.
However, if you see a very young baby bird that is bald or covered in the fluffy down (not feathers) it is called a nestling, and it may have fallen out of its nest. Sadly, it may have been ejected by its parents because it is unhealthy or likely to die. If you know for sure where that bird came from and you know it is healthy and uninjured, you can carefully put it back in its nest.
If not, that bird will need to be hand-raised and it will be dependent on humans. If you find a baby bird that appears to be injured or orphaned, the best thing to do is to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center. These centers are staffed with experts who can care for the bird and ensure it gets the proper food and medical attention it needs.
Housing an abandoned baby bird
You’ll need to find somewhere suitable for the baby bird to live until it’s old enough to be released. For a fledgling, this is easy – they’re already out of the nest so you just need to provide a safe space in the garden that they can escape when they’re ready.
For a nestling, you’ll need a box lined with something non-slip and easy to clean – birds are messy! Don’t forget that the box should be pet-proof! They’ll also need a ‘nest’, as this supports their weight and allows normal development of their bones. Place the box in a quiet place. It’s best not to use a heat lamp unless it’s very cold, as a nestling will be unable to move away if they’re too hot.
Can you give baby birds water?
Birds mustn’t get dehydrated, but it’s difficult to safely give water to a baby bird. Nestlings should not be given water – they won’t know what to do with it and might drown in it. Both nestlings and fledglings that are not yet feeding themselves will get their water from their diet – so they’ll need access to moist foods. Fledglings that can feed themselves can be given a shallow dish of water until they recover from their shock and fly away.
Knowing what to do with a baby bird that’s been abandoned is tough. Whilst our instinct is to rescue and look after them, it’s generally not in the bird’s best interests – they’re better off outside and rarely do well when hand reared.
If you do end up feeding a baby bird, take as much advice as possible from an experienced bird rehabilitation center to maximize the chances of a successful release.
Read More Article: Pink Birds-17 Beautiful Birds With Pictures
Read More Article: Green Birds- Here Are10 Green Birds
Read More Article: Are Bats Birds
Read More Article: Texas Birds
Read More Article: How Long Do Birds Live
Read More Article: German Shepherd Pitbull Mix