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Found a Baby Bird

I Found a Baby Bird, Now What?

Not all birds fit neatly into categories, but it is common and practical to describe baby birds as either altricial or precocial.

Is the bird altricial or precocial?

Altricial birds

Many of our backyard songbirds, such as finches, sparrows, robins, jays, and flickers, are altricial birds. Altricial babies hatch naked and helpless with their eyes closed. These birds live in a nest or cavity. Over time, they develop down, their eyes open, they grow feathers, and learn to fly.


Ducks, geese, quail, rails and shorebirds are examples of precocial birds. These babies hatch with a covering of down, their eyes are open, and they can walk or swim, but not fly, soon after hatching. Many of these baby birds can feed themselves after hatching. Many, though not all, precocial birds in our area have webbed feet.

If you are unsure of the species of bird, call Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at (303) 823-8455, and we can help you to identify the bird.