Baby corvids

Corvids - such as crows, magpies and jays - have an extended period of parental care which can last as long as six months.

Why you might see one 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. Usually, this isn't 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, and if after an hour the baby bird is still on the ground and has not been fed, or you are concerned it is in a position of danger, as long as it is visually healthy, bright and active, you can help by placing it as high as possible in the tree closest to where their relatives are and continue to monitor from a distance.

Before doing so, make sure the adults know the baby is there. You should hear the baby corvid and their relatives vocalising to each other. If the adults don't notice the baby, you can carefully lift it up in the air to stimulate it to vocalise. Sometimes babies will fall back out of trees, in which case as long they appear healthy and uninjured, you can reattempt this a couple more times.

If the baby is successfully reunited with relatives, check back again in 24 and 48 hours to make sure this is still the case.

Corvid fledglings

The same process can be followed to reunite healthy corvid fledglings, which 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
  • after two hours the baby has not been attended by parents
  • 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 unavailable, please call us on 0300 1234 999.

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