In the spring, many birds fall out of their nests before they can fend for themselves. Some of the babies are learning to fly, some are pushed out by nest mates and others are removed from their nest by larger birds, cats, and people.
All wild birds, except for English house sparrows and starlings, are protected by state and federal law. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1972 prohibits individuals from possessing wild birds (including bird parts, feathers and eggs) without special permits. It is also unlawful to harass or deliberately destroy the nests of protected species. The State of California Department of Fish and Game and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are the law enforcement agencies responsible for enforcing the law. The current fine for illegal possession of wild birds is US$1,000.00!
What You Can Do To Help Injured or Orphaned Birds
If you find a young wild bird that appears to be healthy, the best thing that you can do is to carefully place it back in its nest. If the entire nest has fallen, try to place it back where it came from. If you cannot reach the nest, leave the bird where you found it so that its mother can take care of it. If the bird is in an unsafe location (on the sidewalk, in the street, in full sunlight, etcetera), place it in a safer location (in a nearby bush or tree with some shade) close enough so that its mother can still find it. The mother bird will not reject her babies if they are touched by a human (please be careful, however, since birds are fragile). Do not attempt to care for the bird yourself. Even with the best intentions, wild birds that are cared for by untrained individuals generally do not survive.
If you find a wild bird that needs assistance: