A fledgling is a young, fully feathered bird that is too big for its nest. The fledgling phase is a period all birds must go through! They will spend 4-5 days hopping around on the ground, flying short bursts, while their parents continue to look after them and feed them.
This is an important time period where birds learn how to find food on their own and avoid predators. It is a very vulnerable time for them, but the best thing to do is to leave them alone! We understand that there are predators, but there will always be predators and taking these young birds away from their parents at an important developmental stage is not recommended.
A healthy mourning dove fledgling.
Fledglings should be able to perch on a branch.
A healthy Robin fledgling. They should be able to hop and run.
A fledgling Blue Jay. Fledglings’ tails are not as long as their parents yet.
A fledgling Mockingbird.
This Great Horned Owl is a “brancher” meaning it is old enough to be out of the nest and can hop from branch to branch.
Fledgling Screech Owls.
Fledgling House Wrens.
A fledgling Broad-winged Hawk. Fledglings should be bright and alert, like this one.
An unhealthy fledgling, that might need assistance, would be lethargic, not moving around, might have its eyes closed or its head tucked in behind a wing.