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June 21, 2012
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COLLINS: What to do if you find a baby bird

A: Most baby birds do not need rescuing, so it is important to determine if the bird is truly orphaned. If the baby is fully feathered, you might interfere with the course of nature by "rescuing it." Fledglings might be on the ground because they are learning to fly. If the bird is not in danger from predators, you should leave it on the ground.Keep yourself out of view and watch for at least two to three hours for the return of the mother or father bird. If no parent returns during that time, you might have found an orphaned bird.If the bird is not fully feathered, it probably fell from or was blown out of the nest. In this case, it is most likely an orphaned bird.When orphaned, and if you can locate a nest, you can return the baby bird to the nest. If you cannot find the nest, make a nest with a small box and cloth shaped like a nest. Place the baby in the box and place the box in the closest tree. Hopefully, the parent birds will locate the baby, and continue caring for it. Birds cannot smell a human scent so the parent birds will not reject the baby bird if you touch it.

A: Many birds fly into windows because they cannot see the glass. During migration, this can be particularly deadly because birds can hit windows with incredible force. Some birds fly at the window because they see their reflection and think it is another bird invading their territory. Others fly into windows when being chased by a predator.Here are some things you can try to make your windows safer for the birds, and for yourself:• Locate your feeders and birdbaths 30+ feet from your windows. If you like your feeders close to your windows, then move them as close as possible. Perhaps move them to within one to three feet of the window, or put up a window feeder. That way, if birds hit the window when fleeing a predator, they will not be going fast enough to harm themselves.• Where practical, use window screens.• Place decals, including cutouts of raptors, mylar strips, windsocks, or leaded glass decorations in windows. Anything that moves in the breeze and reflects light may help.• Put vertical exterior tape strips four inches apart on windows.• Use interior vertical blinds and open the slats halfway.• Cover windows with soap if appropriate.• Plant shade trees outside windows to reduce the reflection.Local bird expert Larry Collins owns Wild Birds Unlimited, 2454 Hwy. 6&50, which caters to folks who want the best backyard birdfeeding experience possible. Email your birdfeeding and birding questions to and he'll answer them in his bi-weekly Q&A column in the Free Press.

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The Post Independent Updated Jun 21, 2012 04:16PM Published Jun 21, 2012 04:15PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.