From nestling to fledgling

Observations in your garden

June is an extraordinarily frantic time of the year. Breeding has just about reached its crescendo and many mother birds are beginning to lay eggs after much time spent building secure nests for raising their broods. It’s also a moment to take pause on common observations of garden bird activity and really think about what’s happening.

In essence, the three key stages throughout this period are breeding, nestling and fledgling. Each is a demanding time for parents and time moves swiftly from May to July without much pause for reflection. As with the symphony of Dawn Chorus, you will still observe an abundance of noise from all directions with birds flitting from here to there in search of nutritious sustenance. But, what about this activity and, what can you do to help out?

As always, provide plenty of water in your garden by placing it in your bird bath or dish every day. We also recommend using our Ultiva Fledgling Seed Mix, which is a special blend of kibbled sunflower hearts, pinhead oatmeal, kibbled peanuts and millet. This is a safe and hugely popular seed mix for fledgling birds.

What will you see in your garden?

There are likely to be two types of young birds in your garden right now: nestling and fledgling. Nestlings are those birds that have yet to fully develop their feathers and are incapable of flight. Fledglings are those birds whose feathers have fully formed and are therefore close to flight.

But what should you do if you see one alone in your garden? We’ve put together our top five tips below.

  1. Monitor closely

Fledglings can often be seen on the ground in your garden. While it’s tempting to interfere, try not to unless it’s absolutely clear the bird requires help. They are, in most cases, still being fed by their parents.

  1. Nestlings WILL require specialist help

If you do notice a nestling on the ground, it’s always best practice to contact the relevant wildlife rehabilitator or organisation (contact details below)

  1. Do not disturb nests

It’s never a good idea to disturb nests at this time and, especially, avoid handling and trying to reintroduce fledglings to the nest.

  1. Do not touch!

Our advice is simply not to touch or handle fledgling or nestling birds unless you are absolutely sure an injury has occurred.

  1. Allow quietude and warmth

If you do notice a genuinely injured bird, the most comforting environment for it is in a dark and quiet location; a ventilated cardboard box lined with newspaper would be ideal. If possible, take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Contact information:

RSPCA: 0300 123 4999

Try the following for your garden fledglings