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Birds--General/dove fledgling


QUESTION: Please advise best food. I read about ensure, boost, etc.

ANSWER: Well, let me first address some questions. If this a wild dove, are you sure it was abandoned? Its parents might be around taking care of it. The vast majority of the time when someone finds a wild bird they assume it fell out of its nest. It didn't. It jumped and the parents will take care of it until it can fly. So leave it be.
Second point: try to contact a wildlife official or bird rehabilitation center as they will know what to do.

But if  you are sure it is abandoned and you can't find anyone, then a formula like ensure, boost, or anything else with protein and Vitamin D will work. Feed it at about 102 F, no hotter or much cooler. Pet shop, vet, or feed store sometimes have food for baby birds.

Release the bird as soon as possible as it is illegal to keep it as a pet.

Good luck and thanks for your concern.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your reply. I think you are right, he is well fledged, alert, etc. A friend called because her neighbor found it somewhere and put it in an old cage. Our question is should we put him right outside near our feeders and waterers, or keep him and get him to eat for us first. Wild bird seed doesn't seem to interest him. How about mixing some boost/ensure with grits or oatmeal mush. Thanks.

The best thing to do is put him/her back where you found it. The parents feed it a special  food they produce in their crop. The bird will not likely eat anything else, especially not bird seed. It is looking for its parents and they are looking for it, so the sooner you release it the better. Thanks


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Roger Lederer


Any and all questions about WILD birds - not caged, domestic or poultry. Can answer questions about identification, taxonomy, behavior, courtship, plumage, flight, or anything else. Wild birds only, please.


Taught ornithology (the study of birds) at the university level for 30 years. Have written five books on birds, published 30 scientific articles, write a blog on birds, have the website, lectured to hundreds of groups on birds,and have traveled to 90 countries studying birds.

A variety of ornithological and conservation organizations.

Real Simple Magazine, Enterprise-Record, and several ornithological and ecological journals.

PhD in Zoology with emphasis in ornithology.

Awards and Honors
Professional Achievement Award, Jack Rawlins Chair of Environmental Literach.

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