I have taken care of several types of animals - ducks, geese, barn swallows, squirrels etc.  Even raised from babies we have a high success rate putting them back in the wild since they can eat food we put out as they are learning to survive on their own.  Two weeks ago someone brought us two newly hatched Killdeer.  We have never raised these before so I went to the net for info on food.  We started them on bloodworms and then added mealworms.  They are doing well but I was wondering when (age) and how to release them. Without a parent to show them how to find food I'm afraid of them starving.

It was clearly a mistake for your friends to take the killdeer - the parents were around somewhere, I'm sure. They should be released wherever they were found, as soon as possible. The longer you keep them, the less likely they will survive in the wild. Thanks for your concern and help but please inform the person who brought you these baby birds to let nature take its course next time.


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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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