Wild Wings Rescue
Re-Nesting
flicker chicks

Northern Flickers - No need for these young Northern Flickers to come into rehab.... their tree (with nest inside a cavity) fell during the storm in 2009 and they just needed to be back up high enough for their parents to be able to safely come and go and feed them.

The parents were calling and circling the area after the storm. The babies (fledglings) were within a week of flying off with their parents and learning the essentials of surviving as wild birds and soaring the wide open skies. They were also desperate and getting hungry. Fortunately for them, the homeowner acted fast and called for help. We were able to come out immediately and help her re-nest the babies.

Taking in 5 Northern Flickers would have been very expensive and unnecessary.

flickers in shoebox

Here's how we did it. The 5 babies were in a shoe box. I made sure they were healthy and not obviously injured and dropped a few drops of water on the end of their bill and then gave them some large mill worms so they were starving.

tree sections

The remaining parts to the old tree section that came down were in scattered on the ground. The nest was visible in a cavity in a section of the wood. So we wired the pieces back together, leaving a generous hole at the top so we could put the babies back inside without harm, and created a little shelter over the top so they wouldn't get wet if it rained. Another important thing is to leave an opening for the parents to get food to the babies. The hold doesn't need to be too large because when it's time for the fledglings to leave the nest the parents will make the opening larger.

tree sections repaired

Once the parts were tied together we put the babies inside their existing nest and gently raised the trunk up to another dead tree that was beside the one that fell.

tree sections
This took a tall ladder and two people. The important thing is to do this gently and not bump the trunk around and hurt the babies. Also, it's important to get the trunk as close as possible to where they were before the accident. The trunk is then tied to the other trunk securely. The next step was move away from the tree, at least a few hundred feet and discretely observe to see that the parent go up to the next and can manage to get food into the opening. They landed on the opening and began feeding the babies within 1/2 hour.

A typical nest in a tree (re-nesting story).

This baby wasn't ready to be out of the nest yet. He wasn't completely feathered. His nest was too high to reach with a ladder so we made him a special nest to get him up high enough in the same tree directly under his original nest. See the materials used below. The nesting material was mostly grasses and small twigs and the cardboard was used to keep him in the basket. He was very active! We attached the basket to the tree as indicated in the last photo. The canopy over the top is important as it gives shade and protection from the elements and predators.

Note: The baby was feed every 1/2 hr until his parents found him (read the feeding section). It's important to know that the parents are in the area and where the original nest was prior to re-nesting. The criteria for a successful nest is that it doesn't bring attention to the baby (predators), that it far enough out of a branch that rodents can't climb over to take the baby, There would also be enough foliage around and especially over the top of the nest to protect the babies from sun, rain and predators. Lastly, compare the two legs on the baby and make sure he doesn't have a broken leg before re-nesting him.

Materials: You almost always need a tall ladder, long strips of wire, wire cutters, nesting material w/o strings, and two people. Often times you'll need a deep basket of natural coloring (bringing no attention to the babies).



Starlings and sparrows usually nest in the eves of your home, so if you find a loud baby on your porch or by you house, chances are it's a sparrow or starling.

Sparrow chicks

Starling chicks

Sparrow babies (notice no down) A starling baby and a robin notice the starling's beak

Both have wide yellow beaks and make a lot of noise. Sparrows are tiny (1/2" -1" long), completely naked without any down and starlings are three times the size of a sparrow and have clown like yellow beaks. Replacing them in their nest is pretty easy, just make sure there isn't a snake or other predators around the nest. Make sure to get the babies warm before putting them back and watch for the parents to return. Never leave them for over half and hour without food or parents.

This information is provided to help caring individuals to help baby birds reconnect with their parents. There is a lot of information that is important but may not be provided here. Please feel free to call and seek additional information as needed to a permitted wildlife rehabber who works with birds, or call 678-576-1655.

2010 Brenda Lajoan, All Rights Reserved