Watch out above—and below! With spring in full bloom, your morning run through the park could be interrupted by a newborn bird looking for a helping hand.
Every year around early spring, infant birds begin their journey away from the nest. Some species will spend their first few days on the ground learning survival skills before eventually taking flight. While that’s just a regular part of growing up, a number of chicks do fall from their nests, landing in people’s backyards and even onto your jogging route. So, what should you do? Do you take the little fuzzball home, or leave it up to the laws of nature?
The handy video above—created by Slate and vetted by experts from Audubon and other bird groups—provides a short guide on what you need to do next. There are tons of misconceptions about how humans should handle baby birds, but Slate’s little explainer will help you know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s also vital to distinguish between hatchlings, nestlings, and fledglings—a point that YouTube star Joey Graceffa learned during his recent visit to the Audubon Center at Debs Park.