A:  In late spring and early summer, many wild birds experience a fledgling stage of development.  These birds are old enough to leave the nest, but still need the attention of a parent.  Typically these fledglings jump around and practice flying, but usually cannot completely master the skill yet.  Think of these fledglings as “bird teenagers.” 

The mother will usually be keeping a pretty close watch over fledglings.  They help them find food and avoid predators.  Sometimes you may see a panicked mother bird trying to distract you if you walk to close to her offspring.  It is important to leave the fledgling alone, so the mother continues to care for it.  Keep your cats and dogs indoors or closely supervised if you have a fledgling in your yard.  Many of these birds die from interactions with pets or because well meaning “rescuers” take them away from their mothers.

In Virginia, all wildlife legally belongs to the Commonwealth.  Individuals are not allowed to care for wildlife other than to bring them to a veterinarian or licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  These laws are for the protection of the animals and public health.  If you suspect any wild animal is sick or injured, leave them in place and contact a veterinarian or animal control for advice.