Did you find a BABY songbird or dove?
FLEDGLINGS: If the bird is mostly or fully feathered but has short or seemingly no tail feathers, it is a fledgling who left the nest before it could fly. This is normal. The bird will spend a few days on the ground being fed by parents. Monitor continuously from a distance for 30 minutes to 1 hour and if the parents return, no intervention is needed.
If the parents do not return, place the fledgling in a box (see Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals on the previous page) and call us at 713-468-8972. NOTE: Baby doves are fed less often than baby songbirds, so the parent may take longer to return.
NESTLINGS: If the baby bird is not feathered or has minimal feathering, put the baby bird back in the nest if you can—it is a myth that parent birds will abandon babies if they’ve been touched. If you cannot reach the nest or the nest has fallen, make a false nest using a plastic container such as a butter tub using the following instructions:
- Poke small holes in the bottom of the container so that water will drain when it rains.
- Place the fallen nesting material or other material such as grass or pine needles in the bottom.
- Nail the container at least 10-15 feet high onto the tree nearest to the location that the babies were found.
- Watch continuously at a distance for at least an hour to make sure that the parents return to feed their chicks.
If the parent birds do not return, please call 713-468-8972 as soon as possible and refer to the Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals on the previous page. If the baby is injured or ill (signs include bleeding, displaced limb, lethargy), or has been caught by a cat or dog, do not try to reunite the baby with its parents. Instead, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.
If the baby is injured or ill (signs include bleeding, displaced limb, lethargy), or has been caught by a cat or dog, do not try to reunite the baby with its parents. Instead, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.
Have you found an injured ADULT songbird or dove?
If you have found an injured adult songbird or dove, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.
General Information about Songbirds and Doves in the Houston Area
Hundreds of songbird species can be found in the Houston area. Some of the most common species admitted by TWRC Wildlife Center are: great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata), northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), American robins (Turdus migratorius), and northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos),Texas' state bird.
Songbirds are mainly land birds that live in a wide variety of situations, from open grassland to forest. Although songbirds include some of the best songsters (such as thrushes), some have harsh voices like crows, and some do little or no singing at all. Spring is the typical mating season for most songbird species in Houston. The average life expectancy varies greatly from as little as 2 years to as many as 20 years.
Doves and Pigeons
Doves commonly seen in the Houston area include: mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica), Eurasian collared-doves (Streptopelia decaocto), Inca Doves (Columbina Inca), and rock pigeons (Columba livia). Doves' nests are notoriously flimsy, and they lay 2 eggs per clutch. In Houston, we typically see baby doves from as early as February to as late as October.