Found a baby corvid

Birds of the corvid family - such as crows, magpies and jays - have an extended period of parental care that can last as long as six months. Here's what to do if you find a baby corvid on its own.

Bird flu warning

Due to the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) currently in place across the UK, some baby birds can't be handled. Please follow our bird flu and baby birds advice to check which species can be handled and what to do.

Why you might see a baby corvid on the ground

Baby corvids go through a 'branching' stage after leaving the nest, where they're fully feathered and can hop and run but can't fly properly, so instead climb and flutter around the branches of nearby trees.

Occasionally during this stage, they end up on the ground. This isn't usually an issue, and the parents of most species will continue feeding them. Baby corvids may also attempt to climb back up the tree.

When to help a baby corvid

Monitor the baby corvid from a distance. If after an hour the baby bird is still on the ground and hasn't been fed, or you're concerned it's in danger, as long as it's visually healthy, bright and active, you can help it by placing it as high as safely possible in the tree closest to where its relatives are. Continue to monitor it from a distance, and remember:

  • Before moving the baby bird, make sure the adults know it's there. You should hear the baby corvid and its parents calling to each other. If the adults don't notice the baby, you can carefully lift it up in the air to stimulate it to call to them.
  • Sometimes babies will fall back out of trees, in which case as long as they appear healthy and uninjured, you can reattempt this a couple more times.
  • If you successfully reunite the baby with its parents, check back again in 24 and 48 hours to make sure it's still with them.

Corvid fledglings

You can follow this same process to reunite healthy corvid fledglings that have been taken into human care, if less than two hours have passed since they were taken.

Contact a professional for advice if:

  • You can't see any relatives
  • The baby hasn't been attended by parents for two hours
  • The baby is sick or injured
  • You have confined them for more than two hours

Corvid nestlings

Corvid nestlings will have few or no feathers. If you find one on the ground you'll need to call a professional, as it's not usually possible to renest them.

Who to contact for baby corvids

Contact a local wildlife rehabilitation centre or vet. If they're not available, please call us on 0300 1234 999.

Share this...