Can I raise a baby bird I found?

April 20, 2009
Baby birds are cute but need expert care; find a licensed and trained person to care for them. Photo by Brian Hampson via Birdshare. Baby birds are cute but need expert care; find a licensed and trained person to care for them. Photo by Brian Hampson via Birdshare.
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We strongly advise you not to, for two reasons. First, it violates federal and state laws, such as the Migratory Bird Act, to possess any wild native American bird for any length of time without proper permits. Second, even with expert care and feeding, people simply cannot provide baby birds with most of the skills they need to negotiate the natural world.

For excellent, well-reasoned information about the pros and cons of raising baby birds in captivity, visit Dr. Kevin McGowan’s webpage, “I Found a Baby Crow.” Much of the information about baby American Crows applies to other songbirds as well.

If you want to give your children wonderful experiences with wild birds, encourage them to spend time helping a local rehabber, bird bander, or researcher.

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