Millennium Post

Building a better life

Responsible ownership, positive training and a better understanding of other species are key to successful human-animal interactions

Building a better life

I found an abandoned baby bird in our balcony. It has no feathers. I cannot identify it. How should I treat it?

First task is to identify what type of baby bird is it. Whether is a nestling or fledgling. A nestling has few or no feathers, and if found on the ground, they need your help. These baby birds are too young to leave the nest and are unable to fly.

Fledglings are juvenile birds who have a mix of fuzzy down and adult feathers and are learning to fly. You may come across them hopping along on the ground, perching on low-hanging branches, or hiding under bushes, but as long as they're healthy, just let them be. Healthy fledglings can stand upright and will tuck their wings tightly against their bodies.

If you come across a fallen nestling who isn't injured, shaking, or weak and you can locate the nest, use clean or gloved hands to place the bird back into the nest quickly.

If you can't see or reach the original nest, make one out of a small basket, kitchen strainer, or small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom. Ideally the nest should be cereal-bowl shaped, well-padded with tissue paper, and of a non-slippery material, otherwise the bird's legs could spread out sideways and become deformed.

Fasten the nest in a sheltered area of the tree closest to the bird's original location but out of range of any cats or dogs.

Watch quietly for a few hours to make sure that a parent comes back to feed the nestling. If the parent doesn't return, then secure the bird by using clean or gloved hands to place the bird inside a cardboard box lined with paper towels.

While you're working to get help for the animal, keep him or her warm and quiet by placing a heating pad on the lowest setting under half of the box or placing a small hot water bottle inside the box. Then put the box in a closet or another warm, dark, quiet, and safe place away from people and animals.

Take a picture of the bird and send it to as many wildlife organisations as you know, asking for identification and what food to feed it. In the meantime try mincemeat, worms, small pieces of fruit like the melon variety, soaked rice or oatmeal. It needs food every hour.

What should I do when I see a community dog in danger or ill-health?

Don't attempt to hug an injured dog and keep your face away from its mouth.

Perform any examination slowly. Stop if the dog gets agitated.

Call the vet before moving the dog, so they can be ready before you arrive.

If it is a wound or a minor injury, then you can treat it but if you even have a hint of a major bruise then contact an animal hospital or an animal protection group.

If you see any act of animal cruelty then mention it. Never allow an animal to stay in danger. File a First Information Report and then contact an animal protection group.

Make sure to follow up on the dog's health.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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