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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Warning to leave baby birds alone
Baby birds can often be waiting for their parents' return

Wildlife experts have urged the public not to move baby birds which appear to be injured or abandoned.

Every year the RSPB takes thousands of calls from well-meaning members of the public who find or provide shelter for chicks in their garden.

However, the charity said moving the birds can often result in their deaths.

RSPB spokeswoman Annabel Lee Williams said: "This year, we're imploring people not to touch any bird they find in their garden."

More birds are hatching early this year due to the mild winter and chicks can often be found on the ground.

Some young birds can look fully grown, but cannot fly yet and wait while their parents find food, only to be mistaken for injured birds.

It's a crucial time for birds, as they become familiar with their habitat, learn to feed and eventually fly
Annabel Lee Williams
RSPB Scotland

Ms Williams said: "This can be a very busy time of year for us, as many people call up with concerns about young birds in their garden, or even worse because they've picked up chicks, brought them into the house and are now wondering what to do with them.

"With the best intention in the world, people need to understand that that's the worst thing they could possibly do to a young bird, and it is unlikely to survive."

She added: "It's a crucial time for birds, as they become familiar with their habitat, learn to feed and eventually fly.

"By taking them out of their natural habitat, they will never learn these skills and it's usually a death sentence for them."

The RSPB also urged people to avoid cutting hedgerows between March and August as they could contain nests with chicks inside.

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