Warning issued against moving young birds

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THE SCOTTISH SPCA (SSPCA) is appealing for baby birds to be left alone this spring, warning that well-meaning members of the public could be doing more harm than good.

The nestling and fledgling season in Scotland is now under way, but many baby birds have needlessly ended up in the charity’s care.

It is currently caring for more than 100 ducklings, baby birds and fledglings at its wildlife rescue centre, with more arriving every day.

Although some of the young birds were rescued after being abandoned or injured, others are in good health and were picked up by worried passers-by.

Colin Seddon, SSPCA wildlife rescue centre manager, said: “It is understandable for people to be concerned when they come across a young bird on the ground that appears clumsy and unable to fly.

“However, this is a vital part of the learning to fly process and the parents are very likely to be nearby, watching their young making their first efforts to take to the skies.

“We would ask anyone who has concerns to try to monitor the fledglings from a distance to see if the parents appear.

“If it does seem that the fledglings have been abandoned or orphaned, they should call our animal helpline for advice.”

Mr Seddon advised members of the public to only intervene immediately if a fully feathered young bird is in danger and move them to a safer spot.

He said: “Any unfeathered birds found on the ground are most likely to have accidentally fallen from their nest and it may be possible to put them back in, ideally wearing gloves.

“Under no circumstances should anyone who discovers a nest try to touch or move the fledglings inside. This could cause the parents to abandon them and would also be illegal.”

Further advice is available by calling the SSPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.