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Birding/sick bird? help please


I found a baby sparrow and the momma bird wouldn't come back. 3 hours and no sign of her. There was many stray cats so I couldn't leave it there. I took I home and fed it mealworms from petco. today my bird looks terrible! hes laying down and looks dead but he keeps trying to fly but he cant control his head. it looks like hes paralyzed but didn't get hurt because I kept him in a open box. I need help please! what do I do!

If the young bird has enough feathers to try to fly, you should put him back where you got him. Birds jump out of the nest before they can fly and the parents take care of them on the ground until they can. You should never pick up a bird unless it is obviously injured. He may or may not be sick or he may just be malnourished. At this point the only thing you can do is contact a wildlife rehab place. If there isn't one nearby, put the bird back where you found it. Its parents might find it and take care of it. I know you meant well, but the best thing to do in almost every case is let nature take care of things. Good wishes.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.


Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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