• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

URGENT Baby Bird Help !! (1 Viewer)

Hello please help!

I live in Colorado. I am not a bird enthusiast but I do have some basic common knowledge on how to deal with wildlife. However, today while I was out for a walk in my neighborhood I came across a young pigeon or dove on a pile of rocks in someone’s front lawn. I believe it to be a mourning dove although it’s too young for me to identify. It was not yet a fledgling as it hadn’t fully developed all its flight feathers. It was definitely too young to be outside of the nest and it was whimpering and looked very needy. I know it is not advised to bother baby birds found on the ground as usually their mother is monitoring them and within the area. But where I was, there was no trees nearby or even other baby birds. I had hardly noticed it until it saw me walking on the sidewalk and it began to crawl over to me as fast as it could. When I saw it coming towards me out of the corner of my eye I knelt down and put my hand out, which it began prodding with its beak for food and eventually climbed on. I found it strange that it was not afraid of me so I figured it was desperate and starving and saw me as it’s last resort.

Being 5 months pregnant I supposed my own mother instincts kicked in, especially because it kept following me and looked very vulnerable and weak. Maybe I should have left it in the area but instead I picked the little bird up and took it home. I decided I’d have to figure how to feed it on my own. I desperately tried to get it to eat because it was clearly starving. But it would not open its beak despite prodding at whatever I was offering. I figured I didn’t have the necessary tools or food and got discouraged until I remembered there was a House Finch nest in a planter on my back porch. I looked inside and saw 3 baby birds, quite small compared to the dove, but I figured since finches and doves have very similar diets, it might do well. I placed the bird in the nest and left it alone.

Later I checked the nest and mama finch was inside, she flew out when she saw me but I noticed the dove was still there. I believe it has been adopted by the finch but I’m not sure. The finch babies are a lot younger and of course smaller than the dove. The dove also does not open its beak the way the finches do (with the wide open bright yellow beak I’m forgetting the proper terminology) or at least I haven’t seen it do so.

My question is, will the finch be overwhelmed raising the dove along with its own babies? Will the finch even understand how to feed a baby dove that’s a bit older than her own babies and has a different beak shape? Should I gather my own parrot formula and syringe and try to raise the dove on my own?

I’m very worried about the fate of this dove especially because I intervened and maybe I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t just walk away from it! I did go back to the area I found him and searched every tree within 20 yards of the area and found no nests or even other birds at all. Please get back to me as soon as possible as I’m sure time is of the essence, I don’t want the dove to starve! I will continue to monitor in the meantime.

Edit: I’m also afraid that I may have broken a law (???) by interfering with the finch nest!?! I’m so new to all of this and I just realized my mistake after reading similar baby bird threads. Please tell me how to fix this!!


  • 9574EB4A-AC6D-4795-9FFF-58A418F1503D.jpg
    42.5 KB · Views: 19
  • 073967A2-234E-498E-810E-5F449E7D62F5.jpg
    41.3 KB · Views: 19
Last edited by a moderator:

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Hi Gabby and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

It sounds like you've done the best you can to me. I think it may help if we get a proper identification for the bird, so I'll move your post to the ID forum and subscribe you to the thread so that you can find it easily (just click on the link in the email you receive with any replies and you will come straight here).

When you know the species, you could try phoning a local Rehab centre and ask their advice too. Do try not to interfere with the finch nest again until then, at least, as the last thing you want to happen is for the female to desert her young.

Please let us know what happens.
I’ve finally got an ID. It is a mourning dove as I originally suspected. 5-10 days old and too young to be out the nest as it can’t regulate body temp! I’m not going to remove it from the finch nest for now as she may be providing it with much needed warmth at the moment. But of course I will definitely be calling rehab. I don’t know the protocol, if they take the bird or tell me how to care for it until it can be on its own. But the finch is a song bird and doves do not feed the same as song birds, apparently doves stick their beaks inside their mothers beak and she can feed them that way. Instead of the other way around as typical with finches/song birds! So it will starve! I have done more research and found a method to hand feed the dove if need be. Just waiting for the morning to hear what rehab tells me to do.

Users who are viewing this thread