You’ve found a baby bird … now what?

It’s happening all around the city. Our feathered friends are busy raising their young, and you may very well encounter a baby bird out of the nest that may — or may not — need a helping hand. But how do you know if you should help?

Check out this handy flowchart to help you determine if you should help that baby bird or leave it be. And remember — if you’re in Seattle and you see an animal in distress, call the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-PETS (7387). Visit us online at for more information.

Does that baby bird need help?

It’s that time of year in Seattle, and it’s happening everywhere in the city. You may not even be aware of it until you find yourself being chirped at or dive-bombed by a wild bird that has seemingly lost its mind, or until you find a helpless nestling or awkward fledgling on the ground. Now through about mid-August, our feathered wild neighbors will be busy raising their next generation, and during this time the odds of encountering a protective parent and their naïve young will be very high. Most of the birds you will encounter will need nothing more from you than a little respectful distance, but you may occasionally encounter a baby bird out of the nest that could benefit from a helping hand.

But how will you know if the baby bird you encounter needs help? And, if it needs help, what should you do? Check out this simple, two-minute video recently posted on to help answer these questions. Additional sources of information and assistance are below.

The Seattle Animal Shelter responds to dead and injured wildlife within Seattle city limits. Give us a call at 206-386-7387 if you require assistance.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides great information on what to do when you find a baby bird out of the nest, and the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood provides a useful flowchart that asks a series of yes or no questions to help you decide whether or not a baby bird needs help. A baby mammal version is also available.