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Don't Interfere With Learning to Fly

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has issued its annual warning to leave " grounded " baby birds well alone.

In 95 per cent of cases, the birds are not injured and are simply learning to fly. Our intervention however well meaning usually puts the fledglings at greater risk. This time last year, the society was flooded with calls from concerned members of the public.

Many had already taken kindly but inappropriate action, in the belief that the young birds had been abandoned in their gardens.

In fact, fledgling birds can spend 10 days on the ground learning to fly after leaving the nest.

But until they can look after themselves, the parents will be nearby to protect and feed them.

Sandra Bonar, manager of SSPCA's Middlebank Wildlife Centre, near Dunfermline, said: " We must do everything we can to get this message across before hundreds of young birds die.

"With spring coming early this year, it is imperative that people understand the best help they can give baby birds to survive is to leave them alone unless there are obvious, physical signs of injury.

Ground Rules

Watching young rooks leaving their nest to flap around for a few days, reminded me of some important ground rules.

Animal welfare organisations, stress that when you find a baby bird you should leave it where it is if it is not in obvious danger. The reason as explained above being that its parents are probably nearby just waiting for you to move away so thay can take over again.

Baby birds are at their most vulnerable after leaving the nest. All sorts of predators know this. I've often watched crows, magpies and jackdaws pouncing on young birds of starling and sparow size, pounding their heads into pulp with a few well-aimed blows of a pointed beak.

To us it seems horrific, to them it's just an opportune chance for some extra protein.

Wild Birds seen in Glasgow Zoopark area checklist