How to Tell if a Mother Bird has Abandoned its Nest

How to tell if a mother bird has abandoned its nest

How would you react if you found out that a mother bird had left its nest unattended? Would you panic or simply shrug off the incident? Sometimes, the birds leave their nests and fly around to gather food and sometimes they leave the nest altogether. What do you call it? Have they left the nest or will they return? In the previous article, we discussed a mother bird abandoning its egg if humans touch it. In this article, we will discuss how to tell if a mother bird has abandoned its nest.

How to tell if a mother bird has abandoned its nest

There are several reasons a mother bird may abandoned its nest. The most common reasons include:

1. Nest temperature

If the nest is too hot for the mother bird, it may abandon the nest. This can happen when there is no breeze blowing through the tree branches where the nest is located. If the nest is not ventilated properly, then the heat builds up inside the nest which makes the mother bird uncomfortable. During that time, the mother bird may choose to move to another location. In this situation, if the mother bird didn’t come to the nest you can tell the mother bird has abandoned its nest.

2. Lack of food

Another reason why a mother bird may abandon its nest is that it does not have enough food. When the mother bird is hungry, it will look for food in other places. It could be that the mother bird was unable to find food while looking for eggs in the nest. You cannot tell whether the mother bird has abandoned the nest until it returns with food. If the mother bird didn’t come for a long time, then chances are it has moved on to another location.

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3. Predators

Mother birds are very protective over their young. They will protect them from any predators such as snakes, foxes, owls, etc. A mother bird may also abandon the nest because of fear. That is why it leaves its nest and wanders around and watches over its young from a distance.

4. If the nest is a mess

Birds do not like dirty nests. They like clean nests. If the nest is messy, the mother bird might decide to abandon it. If the nest is filthy, the mother bird may feel uneasy about leaving its young alone in the nest.

5. Breeding season is over

Some birds build their nest only in the breeding season and won’t stay in the nest for a long time. When baby birds grow up, they don’t need the nest anymore. They leave the nest and stay empty for a long time. So, the mother bird abandons the nest after the breeding season ends.

6. Mother bird is sick

A mother bird may become ill and it may need to rest before it starts incubating again. If the mother bird is sick, it may not be able to take care of the baby birds. It may even die. So, if the mother bird is sick and doesn’t come back to the nest, you can assume that it has abandoned the nest.

7. No sound

Sometimes, a mother bird may just want to sit quietly in the nest without making noise. It’s possible that it wants to keep an eye on its babies. But if it hears noises coming from outside, it may get scared and run away. If the mother bird doesn’t come back to check on its babies, you can assume that it has abandoned the nest. You should wait for at least two days before checking if the mother bird has returned to the nest.

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8. Baby birds are dead

Baby birds sometimes die. Sometimes, they fall out of the nest and die. The mother bird sees this and gets upset. Then it may abandon the nest immediately. If the mother bird hasn’t returned by now, you can assume that the baby birds are dead.

How to know if a mother bird has returned to its nest?

How to know if a mother bird has returned to its nest?

A mother bird doesn’t want to abandon its nest. But when it comes back to its nest it will start “chirping”. If you hear these sounds, then you can assume that the mother bird has returned. If you see the mother bird sitting on the nest, then you can assume it has returned. If you see the mother bird feeding the baby birds, then you can assume the mother bird has returned and it is taking good care of its babies.

When you see the mother bird standing near the nest, you can safely assume that the mother bird is returning.

What I will do if the mother bird abandons its nest with babies?

If you find that the mother bird has left the nest, then you must make sure that there are no baby birds inside the nest. If you find one or more baby birds inside the nest, you must remove them carefully. Don’t let them go into the air. If you have to touch the baby birds, use gloves so that you don’t hurt them. Also, you can contact your nearest wildlife rescue centre. They can help you or they can inform you where to find a professional who can help you.

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Can I remove eggs from an abandoned bird’s nest?

You cannot remove eggs from an abandoned nest. Eggs are very fragile. Even if you try to break them, they could easily crack and cause damage to both the eggshell and the embryo inside. This could lead to the death of the embryo.

Can I remove chicks from an abandoned bird‘s nest?

Chicks are too small to handle. If you try to pick them up, you might accidentally drop them. And if you drop them, they might get injured. So, you must not touch the baby birds. Instead, call your local wildlife rescue centre. They will help you.

How long does it take for a mother bird to return to its nest after abandoning it?

It takes about 2 days for a mother bird to come back to its nest. But some mothers never come back. In such cases, you must wait until the next day.

Final thought

It’s not too hard to say whether the bird’s nest is abandoned or not. If you see any abandoned nests with babies or eggs you can contact the wildlife rehabilitation centre. They can help you or they can protect the young stay inside the nest. In this article, we have discussed how to tell if a mother bird has abandoned its nest. Hope you liked our article.

D. Silva
D. Silva

Hi there, I'm Erick, a bird enthusiast and the owner of this website. I'm passionate about all things avian, from identifying different species to observing their behavior and learning about their habitats. I hope my website can be a valuable resource for anyone who shares my love for these incredible creatures.

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