Hatchlings -Newborns. Eyes are closed, fuzz instead of feathers, looks like a bug and is the size of a shelled peanut, 1/2-3/4 inch. Gape when they are hungry or stimulated. 0 - 7 days old. Should not be out of their nest.
Nestlings - eyes are open, but feathers are pin feathers and they have naked tummies. 3/4 - 1 1/2 inches. Gape when they are hungry and have no fear of humans. 10-21 days old. Should not be out of their nest.
Fledglings - fully feathered and can fly a little. Their beaks are shorter than adults and so are their tails. They look a little fluffy. 21-36 days old. They still gape and are dependent on the mother for food. But...they can fly. So they practice their flight and peep when they are hungry. This calls the mother and she feeds them wherever they are (on the ground, in a tree, in the street). She feeds them every 30-45 minutes during daylight hours. Before there were so many people here, they would fledge into bushes and leaf litter and stay hidden, while they perfected their flying and feeding skills, with mom's help. But humans usually like a neat yard and remove the camouflage, so they fledge onto grass, gravel, cement, driveways, and pools. They sit on the cement and get cold, or they land in the cat's food, and become, well, cat food. This is why it is so important to keep kitty indoors (for her safety) and the safety of young birds who don't have the skills, strength, or common sense to stay off of the ground and low branches. Fledglings are dependent on their mothers for 2-4 weeks after they leave the nest. When folks say, "they flew out of the nest and are gone", they are only half correct. They flew (fledged) out of the nest, but they are nearby, being fed, tutored, and protected by the mother for the next 2 weeks, at least. You can't go from 0 to 25 mph right out of the barn (nest), there has to be time to build up those flight muscles.
Adults - 1 1/2 - 2 inches long. Beak is at least an inch long. Colors are vibrant, often with color on the throat (gorget) that is orangish, magenta, or purple. They are shy of humans and if you can hold it, this is usually a very bad sign.
Condition - generally, if they are on the ground with any of the following: eyes closed, looking puffy, wings extended, missing feathers, on their side or back, any obvious injury....they need your help.
Please click on the Age Identification tabs for information per age.