Young birds (like these baby blue jays) leave the nest, but are protected and fed by their parents. Watch first to see if the fledgling needs help.

In early spring and summer, young birds are taking their first flaps out of the safety of a nest to which they’ll never return.

“I call it a leap of faith,” Maureen Eiger, director of the bird rehabilitation and education organization, Help Wild Birds said. “When it’s time, a fledgling—a young bird with feathers—will just jump.”

Plopping into the grass, they “fly-hop”, strengthening and testing their wings. But that flailing is alarming to people who fail to realize the bird doesn’t need help, its parents are feeding and guarding it, and this is the natural process for birds like robins, mockingbirds, and blue jays and some other birds that don’t nest in tree cavities.

For Eiger, it’s all birds, all the time. She cares for birds – as she talks on the phone, she’s just received an indigo bunting whose wing has been torn off—in a facility beside her house. She’s on the board of the Virginia Bluebird Society, before that the vice president of the Roanoke Valley Bird Club. She is a state and federally permitted wild bird rehabilitator who runs the busy rehabilitation facility, Help Wild Birds in Roanoke.

She s one of few rehabbers if bird is non-releasable, she’s sent birds to zoos like the National Zoo and the rose-breasted grosbeak to the Columbus zoo and a screech owl to…

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