Useful Q & A on What to Do When You Find an Abandoned Fledgling Bird



We have a fledgling Crow in our backyard (also been in both neighbor’s
backyards) that appears to have been abandoned. It’s been 7 or 8 hours
and no adults have come by to feed it. It calls incessantly. I found a
good rehabber’s web site and got info from there on foods to try and
feed and finally fed it. Gave it some meal worms, dry dog food,
scrambled egg, bits of walnuts, apple, and cooked rice. It really wanted
me to put the food in its mouth, but I managed to get it to eat on its
own. It ate less than I expected it might after not getting much most of
the day, but I really have no idea how much crows eat. It can fly well
enough to get onto the fence, neighbor’s shed, and patio cover, and fly
between these structures. Doesn’t appear to have any injuries and best I
can tell is behaving normally. Once I fed it, it played around for a
while with little rocks and mulch bits in the yard, and appeared to be
trying to forage. Then it started calling again. Saw it napping for a
while earlier.

Trying to decide what to do now. Let it stay and keep feeding it for a
few more days in hopes that it’s parents/flock will come for it, or
catch it and take it to Project Wildlife. Project Wildlife website says
they are taking drop offs.

Anyone have any experience with this?


I volunteer in the baby bird nursery at Project Wildlife. Incessant calling with no adult coming is not a good sign, as you obviously suspect. Young crows tend to eat frequently and small amounts. But one issue that might be going on is dehydration. If the bird is even slightly dehydrated, it will not be able to digest food, even if it eats.

Usually we tell folks to leave a fledgling alone for several hours and watch for an adult attending to it. If one appears, leave it. If no adult appears, bring it in. You’ve done a yeoman’s work in figuring that out today and I suggest you get it to PW. Since you can tell them exactly where you found it, they can release it exactly back there if they should determine that it’s okay. But dehydration is a big concern in its survival and future development.

BTW–don’t try to give it any water. That can be a very tricky business, although you could put a deep dish of water out in case it can drink on its own. And if it’s seriously dehydrated, we wouldn’t start with straight water anyway but rather another approach to re-hydration.

PW is indeed taking drop-offs–24/7. If you stop by between 8:30 and 5 (5433 Gaines St.–new location if you haven’t been to PW in the last year or so), you will see instructions on how to do a contact-free drop-off. The Intake people will make sure that the bird is seen quickly, once you fill out the paperwork, etc. Parking is easy because there are spots reserved in the parking lot for those dropping off animals. If you can’t get there during those hours, you can still drop animals off on their secure porch, which also has instructions on how to leave an animal safely overnight.

Good luck and thanks for caring.

Further Information:

Thanks so much. Really happy to hear from someone with your level
of knowledge. Forgot to mention that I did put water out in a deep 
plant saucer and it did drink some on its own. It favored the moist food
over drier foods when it ate. So hopefully it’s OK as far as not being
severely dehydrated. Will try and catch it in the morning and get it
down to PW.

I did a drop-off once before at PW on Gaines St, so I know how it works,
although I know it will be slightly different with the contact-free
situation right now.

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