Songbirds act as a two-parenting unit (mon and dad). They take great care of the eggs in the nest and upon hatching and take turns getting food for their young. This often means bringing back insects and other food items several times an hour, from dawn until dusk, which is a herculean task, and one that is very time-consuming for any wildlife rehabilitator who takes in orphaned birds. 

Baby birds learn invaluable information from their biological parents, such as their species-specific song. Therefore, it is vital to make sure a baby bird is truly orphaned before taking it in for care. Some young birds fly out of the nest directly and are on their own, others spend time on the ground before being able to fly, receiving parental care for varying amounts of time. 

Stages of Development:
  1. Nestling - "infants"
    • Hatched and wait to be fed
    • Strong enough to stand and perch
  2. Fledgling - "toddlers"
    • Strong enough to flap wings and hop around, but not fly
  3. Young Adult - "teenagers"
    • Strong enough to fly but may still need help from parents finding food
People often wrongly assume that such birds are abandoned because they are not flying yet, leading to many “kidnapped” young birds. There are many different species of songbirds and they come in all sizes and colors. There are other major differences such as seed eaters, versus insect eaters, and migrating species versus those species that remain in one geographic location, year-round. To provide species-specific information would require pages of content, but there are commonalities when determining whether they require our assistance.
(not fully feathered or in immediate danger)

(injured or sick)