Frequently asked questions

“Will the parents take the baby back if I touch it?” 

Yes! A parent’s instinct is stronger than any scent you may leave on the animal. 

“I can’t reach the nest. Am I able to put the nestling in a makeshift nest?”

Birds will only tend to one nest. An exception can only be made if the nestling is a day or two from fledging. The rehabber can determine the age by photos, and the rescuer needs to be available to watch the other nest to make sure parents feed the baby.

“Can I feed it?”

No! The most important lifesaving thing to do first in a rescue is warm it up. Do not do anything else until further instruction from the rehabber. Don’t trust the internet. 

Not feeding the bird will not kill it, but feeding it the wrong thing or the wrong way can cause harm or death. 


“I haven’t seen the parents in two or three days. I think they’ve abandoned the nest.”

Parents rarely ever abandon a nest without reason. Mites or predators may cause the parents to flee. Most of the time, when people no longer see the parents, it’s because the babies don’t need to be brooded or fed as often. The parents could also be staying away to encourage the babies to fledge. 

To summarize: The most important information for anyone to know is…

*If the animal appears warm and healthy, recommend trying to renest or reunite it with the parents. 


*Keep the animal warm and quiet in a box with fleece or soft bedding. 

*Do not offer food or water 

*Contact a rehabber for next steps

  • in Chattanooga 
  • nationwide