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Why Do Birds Throw Babies Out of the Nest? (6 SHOCKING Reasons)

Birds are known for being some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. They can do things like fly, build nests, and catch prey.

However, one thing that puzzles many people is why birds sometimes throw their babies out of the nest.

Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon and explore some of the possible reasons why do birds throw babies out of the nest.

Developmental Stages of Baby Birds

baby birds chirping

Baby birds go through several developmental stages [1] before they fledge or leave the nest. In the first stage, which lasts about a week, the hatchlings are born naked and helpless.

Their eyes are closed, and they cannot regulate their body temperature. During this time, the parents must care for their young constantly, providing food and warmth.

The second stage begins when the hatchlings start to grow feathers. At this point, they can thermoregulate and begin to feed themselves.

However, they are still not able to fly and must stay in the nest for protection. The third stage is when the juveniles start to learn to fly.

They will leave the nest for short periods, returning when they get tired or hungry. Finally, they will fledge and leave the nest for good when they are fully grown and independent.

Each stage is crucial for the baby bird’s development, and parents must provide the necessary care to ensure their young ones survive.

READ MORE: How to Remove Bird Nest With Eggs

How Do Baby Birds Learn How to Fly?

pet bird flying

Have you ever wondered how baby birds learn how to fly? It’s a pretty amazing process. Baby birds are born without the ability to fly.

Instead, they have “flight feathers [2].” These specially adapted feathers help the bird generate lift and propel itself through the air.

As the bird grows, the flight feathers gradually fill in. This process is known as “fledging.” During this time, the young bird will spend lots of time flapping its wings and jumping around.

Eventually, it will develop the muscle strength and coordination necessary to take off. So the next time you see a baby bird taking its first flight, remember that it’s the result of lots of hard work and practice.

CHECK: How to Tell if a Bird is Dead

6 Reasons Why Adult Birds Throw Babies Out of Nests

baby bird being held

It’s a disturbing sight: a baby bird lying on the ground, crying for its mother. Why would a mother bird abandon her offspring?

As it turns out, there are several reasons why this might happen.

  1. The nest is too full, and there isn’t enough food to go around. The parents may also be trying to thin out the brood to increase the chances of the other chicks surviving.
  2. In some cases, the chick may be sick or injured, and the parents are giving it a merciful death by tossing it out of the nest to focus their attention on those with the best chance of survival.
  3. The baby bird is a member of a different species. This often happens when two different birds build their nests close to each other. If the parents believe that their chick doesn’t stand a chance against its rivals, they may choose to get rid of it.
  4. In some cases, the parents may also be sick or injured, and they may not have the strength to care for all of their chicks.
  5. In some cases, the mother bird may be reacting to a predator threat and trying to protect her chicks by drawing the predator’s attention away from the nest.
  6. Babies thrown from the nest will instinctively start to flap their wings and try to fly.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that ejecting babies from nests is not an act of cruelty but rather a survival strategy employed by many bird species.

What Should You Do if You Find a Baby Bird on the Ground?

baby birds being held

If you find a baby bird on the ground, the first thing to do is take a close look at it. If the bird appears to be injured or ill, it will need professional help, and you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator.

However, if the bird looks healthy, you can do a few things to help it. The most important thing is to ensure that the bird is kept safe from predators.

This means keeping it away from pets and children and ensuring that it has a safe place to hide. Once the bird is in a safe place, you can try to reunite it with its parents.

This can be done by placing the bird in a nearby tree or bush and calling out to see if the parents come to claim it. If the parents don’t appear within a few hours, you will need to contact a wildlife rehabilitator.

How Can You Help Baby Birds Get Back Into Their Nests?

Baby birds are incredibly fragile and need the warmth and protection of their nests to survive. If you find a fallen nest, you can do a few things to help get the chicks back home safely.

First, try to find the mother bird and see if she will put the chicks back in the nest herself. If she is nowhere to be found, gently place the chicks back in the nest and tie them securely to a nearby tree or bush.

The next step is to keep an eye on the nest to ensure that the mother bird returns [3]. Once she does, she will likely build a new nest for her chicks.

In the meantime, you can help protect them by keeping cats and other predators away from the area. You can give baby birds a fighting chance at survival by taking these steps.

FAQs

Do birds kick their babies out of the nest?

mother bird feeding her babies in the nest

Yes, they do ensure the survival of the strongest brood.

Why do mother budgies kill their babies?

There are various reasons including protecting healthy baby birds from diseases and predators

Do birds reuse their nests?

a nest of baby birds

No. Many birds usually do not use their old nest a second time, no matter how clean it is. They make a new home every time.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why parents might choose to evict their offspring from the nest. There are a few key benefits to getting rid of their chicks early on in life for birds.

Birds do not throw their babies out of the nest as an act of cruelty, but rather as a way to help them learn how to fly and survive on their own.

In fact, birds have been observed helping young ones back into the nest after falling out.

By throwing their babies out of the nest, birds are allowing them to hone their flying skills and build up strength to eventually make it on their own.

baby bird on a palm of a hand but Why Do Birds Throw Babies Out of The Nest

Resources

  • 1. Stages in chick embryo development | Mississippi State University Extension Service. extension.msstate.edu. http://extension.msstate.edu/content/stages-chick-embryo-development
  • 2. Matloff LY, Chang E, Feo TJ, et al. How flight feathers stick together to form a continuous morphing wing. Science. 2020;367(6475):293-297. doi:10.1126/science.aaz3358
  • 3. Should You Put a Baby Bird Back in the Nest? Depends If It’s Cute. Science. Published June 29, 2015. Accessed June 3, 2022. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/should-you-put-a-baby-bird-back-in-the-nest-depends-if-its-cute
Peter
Peter

Peter is an experienced freelance writer with a passion for helping others navigate new situations. When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys spending time with his cat.
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