One of the most common questions we are frequently asked is whether birds do abandon their nestlings after their contact with people. With the exception of vultures, sense of smell does not play as important role for most of birds of prey, as it does for some mammals. Therefore it is possible, in some reasonable cases, to realize an adoption of nestlings into other nests, as well as to ring them safely.
Adoption is an efficient way of returning the nestlings into the wild; we have accomplished many successful cases. Nestlings do learn everything they need for life from adoptive parents in their natural environment.
One of the best known cases was the adoption of the nestling of Eastern Imperial Eagle named Karol, who was abandoned perhaps because of exploitations of forests in the surroundings of the nest. The nestling would not survive without our help. Adoptive parents and his sister embraced him immediately and the young eagle flied out of the nest successfully.
Later on, his sister was captured by photo trap in Austria.
Our experts spend a lot of time in the field, so we know how old nestlings are to be found in which nest, and where they can be placed in certain age. However, we only choose this option when there is no other choice. Because it still happens that fledglings are being saved needlessly – shortly after they fly out of the nest there is a short period of time, when they learn to fly and parents still feed them. If a young bird is healthy and unharmed, usually the best way to help is to leave it on elevated place. Its parents will indeed take the best care for it.