Baby bird fell out of nest.
June 23, 2013 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I noticed a baby seagull running up and down the sidewalk outside my flat. It's not able to fly and the mommy seagull is flying above it, but has apparently stopped feeding it. Should I pick up the bird and move it to a park? (I'm in the middle of the city.) I've always been told that touching a baby bird will leave a human scent on it and the mother will abandon it? Is this true?
posted by three blind mice to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I found a baby bird ... Now what?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:20 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:22 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't touch it.

We had a seagull chick in the enclosed parking lot at work last year. We never saw the parents feeding it, but it they must have been doing it when we weren't looking, because the chick grew up just fine.

The other reason not to touch it is that momma seagulls are overprotective assholes who will divebomb you and straight up try to peck your eyes out.
posted by the latin mouse at 9:28 AM on June 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Obligatory picture
posted by the latin mouse at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The scent thing is a myth. In a nutshell, helpless undeveloped birds should be helped back into the nest, semi-mobile juvenile birds still learning to fly should not be helped, because you're letting it cheat on its flying lessons. (Remember what they say about learning to fly.) Both should be protected, if possible, from cats.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:00 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the quick answers. I will reluctantly let it be. There are multiple nests on the roofs around my building and no way of knowing which one is which. (Plus I am afraid - no, not afraid - cautiously respectful - of heights and there is no easy way to reach any of these nests.)

Cats are not a problem. Cars are. But the little guy seems smart enough to not leave the sidewalk.

Good to know that the scent thing is a myth. This is what I have always heard.
posted by three blind mice at 11:19 AM on June 23, 2013

Seconding the last line of the latin mouse. We're a bit inland here and haven't got this particular problem, but friends in Göteborg had it every single year - in their own garden: apparently hapless little monsters being melodramatic around the lawn, and enraged parents diving after human's hairdo and worse. That little guy of yours will likely be fine and grow up into someone's else's Nemesis in due course.

[seagulls are only useful because they shed and thus provide feathers that can be used for historically appropriate harpsichord plectra]
posted by Namlit at 11:37 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Of a coincidence, there is an article in our local newspaper (Borås tidying) today about this very question. Ornithologists are telling the public to leave these young birds alone. They still do have contact with their parents; and even if you'd manage to put them back into their nests, they'll likely be pushed out by their siblings again; they're sort of supposed to be doing this at this time of the year.
Here's the link (note: the cutey ducklings on the pic of the web version are new. The printed edition had in fact: seagulls)
posted by Namlit at 4:17 AM on June 24, 2013

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