Early summer brings plenty of charms to Miami (fewer tourists, woohoo), and baby birds are another side effect of this sweltering season. Now is the time of year when wee ones are hatching out of eggs all over the place -- followed sometimes by tumbling out of trees.
But should you find a gummy bear (aka a baby bird with no feathers) or any other incarnation of mini fowl, we got the skinny from the folks at Pelican Harbor Seabird Station on what to do. Check it out after the jump.
"One of the most important things, whenever you find an injured or orphaned bird, is that you don't offer it any food or water," says executive director Jessica Cline. "It has to do with where the opening to their lungs is -- if someone accidentally puts food or liquid in their lungs they can get pneumonia."
Past that, the first step is to determine if it's hurt or just going through its "fledgling" stage (when baby birds move around on the ground), Cline explains.
"If it's partially feathered and looks like it should be able to fly but can't -- that's when they live on the ground for a couple of days," she says.
No need to worry about these little guys (unless there's a cat or other dangerous animal nearby) -- the mama bird is still feeding and taking care of them.
"If it's not feathered or has just a few feathers, it's still a nestling, so that's when you want to try to put it back in the nest or even in the tree that the nest is in. You can actually put the baby in a basket or something with ventilation and put it in a tree very close or the same tree. The mom will still find him and feed him," Cline explains.
Contrary to popular belief, birds will not reject their babies based on human interference. Turns out, the vast majority of birds can't even smell. "Mom is not going to notice or even care if you touch the baby," Cline says.
Courtesy of Pelican Harbor Seabird Station
If the bird is injured, that's the time to make with the heroics.
"Is it bleeding or does it have a drooped wing or has it been attacked?" If it is hurt, or it's been picked up by your cat, bring it into Pelican Harbor and they'll take care of it. They're open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they have cages for leaving birds if it's after hours.
As far as transporting the bird: "Put the bird in a dark, quiet place to help them stay calm. If it's a baby bird they have to stay warm. If they get cold they can pass away," Cline adds.
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If you're unsure and worried about the bird's safety, you can always bring it into Pelican Harbor or another rehabber and they'll assess the situation, Cline adds.
And for any other wild bird-related emergency, Pelican Harbor is an excellent resource. Pigeons, songbirds, cranes -- they'll take good care of any avian in danger. Oh, and they operate via donations, so they're always an awesome option when you're looking to do a little charitable giving. Hint, hint.