Best to leave suspected injured or orphaned birds undisturbed

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) wants to remind the public to leave suspected injured and orphaned birds alone and undisturbed.

It is best to refrain from intervening in the normal fledgling process and become familiar with common behaviors of fledgling birds, young birds who have grown too large for the nest and need room to stretch/flap their wings and practice flight.

Each year LDWF receives calls from concerned citizens who have found what they believe to be abandoned birds. It is against the law to capture, transport or possess birds listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Treaty Act list and other wildlife. Generally, birds and other wildlife are better off left where they are found.

It is not uncommon to find young birds away from their nests during the spring and summer as they learn to fly. Young birds can be found hopping on the ground or in shrubs, fluttering their wings and may appear to be in distress. In reality, the young bird is continuing to be fed by its parents and is simply practicing for flight. If left undisturbed, adult birds will call and wait for a response from their young and provide the necessary care for the fledging during this process.


There are cases where intervention may be beneficial. Individuals who encounter displaced nestlings, birds which are mostly featherless, may immediately return the bird to its nest if at all possible and then leave the area.

Birds do not recognize human scent and will not abandon a nestling because of it. If you are unable to locate the nearby nest, you can create and return the nestling to a false nest attached to the nearest tree or shrub where the bird was found. Instructions for false nests can be found on LDWF’s wildlife rehabilitation webpage at Remember-IF YOU CARE, LEAVE IT THERE!

Individuals who believe they have encountered an injured bird, should leave it alone and contact a biologist at their nearest LDWF Regional Office or an LDWF licensed wildlife rehabilitator. A list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators can be found on the Department’s website at

Anyone interested in LDWF’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program should contact Melissa Collins at 225-763-8584.