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Scottish SPCA: needy chicks may not be orphans

By Tom Ramage

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The Scottish SPCA is dealing with over eight times as many reports of baby birds as it was just one month ago.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity responded to 296 reports of baby birds in need in the week ending May 15.

That compares with just 35 for the same period in the month before – a rise of over 700%.

The society last month launched its #WildlifeWise campaign to educate the public on when they should contact them about young wildlife. The aim of the campaign is not to create orphans unnecessarily.

'I'm OK, honest!'
'I'm OK, honest!'

Of the 82,000 jobs the society’s inspectors and animal rescue officers took on in 2019, almost 10% involved a fledgling or a nestling.

A fledgling is a fully feathered young bird which will be learning to fly if it’s out of the nest. A nestling will either be fluffy or unfeathered and it should never be out of the nest.

There is no cause for immediate concern to see a fledgling out of the nest but a nestling out of the nest is likely be in need of help.

Now, the charity is reiterating its #WildlifeWise message that many baby birds do not need assistance. Many fledglings which are out of the nest will just be going through the natural process of learning to fly.

Mike Flynn, the Scottish SPCA’s chief superintendent, said: “Every year, we see a massive spike in reports of baby birds as we move from spring to summer. This year, we believe the increase may have been so dramatic as recent easing of restrictions means folk are out and about more often.

“People spot a fledgling out of the nest and approach it with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, this can scare off the parents, meaning we have to take the baby bird to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre until it is old enough to be released and survive in the wild on its own.

“We love caring for these birds, but we’d love it even more if we could keep families together in their natural environment."

Info: www.scottishspca.org/wildlifewise

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