Spring is in the air and birds are nesting. It is not uncommon to find baby birds on the ground this time of year, and Atlanta Audubon Society receives many calls each spring from well-meaning citizens who have found a baby bird and want to help.
“In many instances, the best way to help a baby bird is to leave it alone,” says Adam Betuel, Director of Conservation for Atlanta Audubon Society. “Fledgling birds hop out of their nests before they are fully flighted and their parents will tend to them on the ground. If you find a young bird with feathers on the ground, chances are very good the parents are nearby and looking after the bird. As long as the baby is not in danger from cats, dogs, or traffic, leaving it alone and observing from a distance is generally the best course of action.”
On occasion, featherless hatchlings fall out of the nest due to high winds, predators, or other causes. These birds are not ready to leave the nest and should be returned to the nest if possible. Parent birds WILL NOT abandon a baby bird that has been handled by humans. If it is not possible to return the hatchling to the nest, constructing a make-shift nest out of a berry basket or small plastic container and placing it in a tree is often all that is needed. Parents will often tend to the baby in the new makeshift nest.
If the baby bird appears to be injured or, if after an hour of distant watching, the parent birds are not observed tending the youngster, then calling in a wildlife rehabilitator may be appropriate. A list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators may be found on the DNR, Wildlife Resources Division website at
It is illegal to possess a wild bird without a permit. Baby birds require specialized, full-time care, so it is important that well-meaning individuals do not try to raise the bird at home.
Atlanta Audubon has created a flow chart to guide you if you find a baby bird on the ground. To view the chart or for additional resources, please visit
Saturday, June 9 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Chattahoochee Nature Center
9135 Willeo Road
Roswell, GA, 30075
Would you like to become one of our Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Program Volunteers? As the number of certified sanctuaries grows, we're looking to expand our pool of volunteer certifiers so that we can create a network of certified habitats throughout the metro area.
Atlanta Audubon will be hosting a certifier training for our Wildlife Sanctuary Certification program on Saturday, June 9, taught by Henning von Schmeling, Senior Director of Operations at Chattahoochee Nature Center.
The training will be a full day of learning. The morning session will include both a classroom portion and hands-on outdoors portion where will learn about native plants and how landscaping can provide high quality habitat for wildlife. We will break for lunch, and then move onto the afternoon session where trainees will tour several nearby sanctuaries alongside current certifiers. Come learn how you can make a difference for Atlanta's birds as a sanctuary certifier! The event is free to attend but registration is required.
Click here for more information or to register.
Ground has been broken for a Bird-friendly Habitat, complete with Georgia’s first Chimney Swift tower, in the Piedmont Commons area of Piedmont Park as part of a cooperative effort between Atlanta Audubon Society and Piedmont Park Conservancy. Slated for completion in September, Atlanta Audubon is planning a dedication ceremony to coincide with the inaugural ‘Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month.’
An urban haven for wildlife, Piedmont Park hosts more than 160 species of birds throughout the year. The Bird-Friendly Habitat Educational Exhibit will have two components — a native plant garden and a Chimney Swift tower. Both components will not only provide quality bird habitat in Piedmont Park, but also create new opportunities for interpretive education and wildlife observation while raising awareness about how urban greenspaces can benefit biodiversity.
Located along Clear Creek, the Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Piedmont Commons will provide high quality habitat for birds and wildlife and educate the public on the value of native plants. Consisting of an assortment of mainly native grasses and wildflowers, the garden will be a designed plant community that mimics the natural ecosystem and invites exploration by birds, people, and pollinators.
A common bird in urban areas, the Chimney Swift provides excellent — and free — pest control since their diet consists of flies, mosquitos, wasps, ants, and other insects caught in flight. A single Chimney Swift may consume up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects per day. Chimney Swifts are migratory birds that breed in Georgia during spring and summer. In recent years, Chimney Swift populations have declined due to loss of tree cavities. Now, their alternative nesting habitats — chimneys— are frequently capped eliminating these nesting and roosting sites. Constructing Chimney Swift towers is a relatively new conservation tool to curb declining swift populations. Towers provide a nesting location for this species as well as a roosting site during migration. In late summer and early fall, Chimney Swifts gather in sizable flocks and spend the night in communal roosts. As the swifts descend on a tower at dusk, a large swarm forms and they then pour into the chimney like smoke.
Atlanta Audubon is working on the tower design with John Monnat, a Seattle-based architect with extensive experience in parks and recreation, and Pierre Coiron, with Decatur-based Stability Engineering. After the tower is complete, Atlanta Audubon will collaborate with the Piedmont Park Conservancy to develop interpretive signage and educational programming, such as ‘Swift Night Out’ gatherings to observe the roosting birds. The Chimney Swift tower at the Piedmont Commons will stand 24 feet tall and be located in the center of the demonstration garden. The tower will provide crucial habitat for the swifts of Atlanta and a unique educational experience for park visitors.
“The Bird-friendly Habitat Educational Exhibit at Piedmont Park is an exciting demonstration of how Atlanta Audubon and parks groups can work in partnership to meet the needs of both people and wildlife,” says Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Society Executive Director. “The installation of a native plant garden and Chimney Swift tower will bring visitors to this serene area of the park, offer multiple educational opportunities, and provide relevant and necessary conservation actions for our birds.”
The project is being fully funded by Atlanta Audubon Society thanks to a donation from a private individual and from a National Audubon Society Burke Conservation Grant.
The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy raises over $3 million each year to enhance and maintain the park. Learn more at piedmontpark.org.
Atlanta Audubon Society is committed to building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.