Often in spring and in early summer you can see a young chick on the ground, staying still or hopping about, without any sign of its parents. This is completely normal! The parents are probably nearby, looking for food and keeping an eye on their young from a hidden spot.
For many species of birds it is normal for the young to leave the nest before they have learned how to fly. However, this does not mean that they are in trouble and need saving! This is an important stage of their natural life cycle and we shouldn’t interfere. The best thing we can do is simply to move away from the spot as soon as possible.
However, there are situations when we do need to interfere. Here are a few tips about how to respond depending on the situation.
Despite being the better reaction for wildlife too, keeping away is a legal obligation – according to the Bulgarian Biodiversity Act the disturbance and capture of almost all species of wild birds in Bulgaria is prohibited. The Act doesn’t aim only at preserving nature – touching a wild bird (or any animal) can be dangerous for humans – many birds carry diseases, or they can injure their ‘attacker’ in self-defense.
Attention! Little owlets!
Young owlets leave their nests at a very early age and it is natural for them to wander about, climbing on trees and branches before they know how to fly. For the average person the owlets might seem lost and in danger but if you try to approach them and catch them, you could be attacked by the parents that watch them attentively. They will attack your eyes with their talons. This is another reason for you to move away from the spot as soon as possible!