Will birds return if you touch their nest?

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It’s always been said that you should never touch a bird’s eggs, or its nest, in fear the parents will not return to take care of it. Well… Recently we had a heavy thunderstorm come through with high winds. The next morning we noticed that a bird’s nest had been blown out of a tree. This has happened before, but this time there was a baby bird that had fallen out. I have never seen such a small bird, and to our surprise it was still alive after falling out of its nest. It had no feathers at all, but you could see it breathing.

So the question arose!! Should we try to put the little guy back in its nest? Would touching the baby Robin AND the nest make the parents abandon it?


After doing some quick research, we were surprised to learn that birds have a low sense of smell. So we decided to try and put the bird back in its nest and put the nest back into the tree.

So after getting the nest and the bird back into the tree, we checked with binoculars to see if the mother would come around and care for it. To our surprise she did rather quickly! As we watched, we noticed it was unhappy with the location or positioning of the nest. She kept throwing sections of it on the ground but the baby was still inside hanging on by a thread. So we started to worry and decided to take the nest with the bird and set it in a better place for the mother.

It has been a couple of days and the baby is doing great. Its feathers are starting to come in now, and the parents are doing great with it. The mother Robin keeps it warm, feeds it and is just waiting for it to grow big enough to fly away with her.

I would have to say that not being able to touch a bird’s nest or its young when it needs help is an old wives tale. It can be done, however, you should keep a watchful eye over it for a couple of hours to make sure the mother is coming back to take care of the eggs or babies.  So the next time you are hesitant to help out a baby bird in need, try to remember that a life is at stake! And you can help without worrying about it not being taken care of.