Every spring and summer at the PAWS Wildlife Center we receive dozens of young songbirds in need of help. Many are healthy orphans who have lost or become separated from their parents. Some are injured and require medical care. All require proper nutrition for their growing bodies as well as proper enclosures in which they can complete their journey from sitting in a nest to flying free.
The songbirds we receive represent a diverse group of species, and each species has its own unique behaviors. From the charmingly polite whistle of the young Black-headed Grosbeak to the soft but insistent trill of the Cedar Waxwing, this diversity is especially visible in the way baby birds beg to be fed. The video clip below will give you a glimpse of just a few of the young songbirds who were helped by PAWS this summer.
The clip begins with a Red-breasted Nuthatch fledgling who has begun to forage for himself in his aviary. The next bird you will see is a fledgling Black-headed Grosbeak who is not quite ready to feed himself. The soft whistle and the trembling wing is his way of asking for a bite to eat. Next you will see a younger, and more insistent Cedar Waxwing trilling and flapping to indicate that she is hungry. Finally, you will see three fledgling Tree Swallows requesting a meal in their own way and being fed as a result.
It really is amazing to work with baby birds and to discover each species’ unique character but, unless you have the proper permits and experience, you should never attempt to raise orphaned baby birds yourself. If they are fed an improper diet or housed in an inappropriate manner they can very quickly develop irreversible and life-threatening issues. If you do find a young bird you believe needs help, always contact PAWS or another licensed wildlife rehabilitator to receive guidance on how best to help the animal.