What should I do if I find a chick on the ground?

We are in spring, the breeding season for birds, and it’s common to find chicks on the ground around this time. From Clínica Nido, we want to offer you a simple guide on what steps to take.

The first thing to do when you find a chick is to ASSESS ITS CONDITION WITHOUT TOUCHING IT, simply by observing it from a distance. You should evaluate whether the bird is healthy or not, looking for signs of distress such as bloodstains, wounds, inability to move, fractures, etc.

If the bird shows any SIGNS OF DISTRESS, it should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center or an exotic animal clinic where it can receive care.

Find a cardboard box or a shoebox.
Line the inside with paper towels, newspaper, or a towel.
Create holes on the sides and cover for ventilation.
Provide a source of warmth during transport.
A bottle filled with warm water wrapped in paper or cloth.
A heating pad.

If it is a native species (sparrows, swallows, swifts, hawks, blackbirds, etc.), you should take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. In this case, it’s important to note that keeping these animals in captivity is PROHIBITED. The nearest wildlife rehabilitation center in the city of Valencia is:

“La Granja del Saler” Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
Address: Avda. Los Pinares, 106 (CV-500), 46012 El Saler-Valencia.
Phone: 961 61 08 47
Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Weekends and holidays: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

If it’s a common bird or you are unsure of the species, take it to a specialized exotic animal clinic like Clínica Nido.

If the bird shows no symptoms and APPEARS TO BE HEALTHY, once you’ve determined that its health is good, you should ensure the bird is safe and that the parents can retrieve it.

For Nestlings (featherless chicks with closed eyes) that cannot fend for themselves, try to return them to the nest or create an artificial nest with a small wicker basket or a plastic container with holes in the base for drainage. Hang the artificial nest in an elevated location near where you found the bird, away from predators like dogs or cats.

For Juveniles/Fledglings (mostly covered in feathers), they may have fallen from the nest while attempting to fly. Leave them on the ground, away from dangers and predators.

Once you’ve safely placed the bird, leave the area and return after an hour or two to observe if the parents have returned and are caring for it. If not, contact a wildlife rehabilitation center.