Lucky, The Baby House Finch

by Sandy
(Canton, Georgia)

A few weeks ago I noticed a couple of little birds building a nest in a flower arrangement I had on my front door.

I looked at pictures of native birds and determined they were house finches. When the nest was finished it wasn't long before mother bird had laid 4 small eggs.

Just over a week after that 4 fuzzy little baby birds hatched. Then a disaster happened.

I was watching television one night and I heard a thud at the front door. I looked out the window and saw a cat, I immediately went outside and found the nest on the ground.

Fortunately I found only one of the babies; at first I thought it was dead as it was so cold but I brought it inside and put it on a heating pad.

It perked up quickly so I put it in the nest and got on the computer to find out how to take care of it.

I found out there was a formula for baby birds so I went to the pet store the next day and picked some up.

When I first found the baby it was only about 5 days old, its eyes were not open yet and it was almost bald.

Anyway I have been feeding it the formula and she ( I think it is a girl, she is so spunky) has blossomed. She's probably about 3 weeks to a month old now and is beautiful.

She is out of the nest and has all her feathers. She cannot fly yet and she should be weaned about now but I can't get her interested in seeds.

I am going to call the National Wildlife people tomorrow and see if they can advise me. Much as I would love to keep her I intend to set her free as long as I know she can take care of herself in the wild.

It has been a wonderful experience and I am so glad I saved one baby bird's life.

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Oct 22, 2016
House Finches Do Fine
by: Randy

House Finches have spread all over the country, starting in the East as escaped house pets. They aren't native to the east or Midwest and now they're abundant. Seems they do just fine transitioning from home to the wild. I have one I rescued yesterday from a couple of scrub jays.

Aug 05, 2016
Wild birds should be wild
by: Anonymous

I have rehabbed a Brown Thrasher, a Robin, and six Carolina Wrens, and all were released successfully, even after "imprinting" on me. Once they matured, and were allowed to fly outside during the day, and come in at night for safety, they gradually got less interested in me.

The Wrens were the most interesting. It took 6-7 weeks for them to be completely free. The last two weeks, they would mob me when I went outside, and wait for me to throw crickets on the ground for them. They eventually stopped mobbing me, although I still see them in the yard occasionally.

It is tough to release someone you have cared for, but just like parenting children, they must eventually be free. The only exception I would make is if an animal had a disability of some kind that prevented them from surviving in the wild.

I am currently rehabbing three House Finches, and I am hoping to see an answer about how to get them eating seeds. These are my first seed eaters.

Jun 19, 2015
Adopted Baby Chipping Sparrow
by: Joyce

My dog found a baby bird in the grass on her walk 3 years ago. I waited for 1 hour in the evening for the mother to try to reclaim her. As dusk was approaching, I took her home, fed her every 2 hours, 12 hours a day for 6 weeks.
Now it is 3 years later and she lives in a cage on my counter top -- I should have released her, but she did not accept seed and and it was too late to release her-- I was imprinted as her mother! It has been fun but now that she is older and we changed residences, she just allows me to clean her cage and provide her with new seed. Good Luck!

Jun 19, 2015
To Faith
by: Gene

Faith- don't be in a hurry to get involved. It's not uncommon for the adults to withhold food and not visit the nest in order to get the young to leave.

Jun 18, 2015
*no title*
by: Anonymous

Well, I was not sure what to title this, but first off, you did a good job taking care of him/her!

There is a baby abandoned bird in the nest outside. She/he is the only baby and may be a house finch so I think I may try to do what you did.

For Celeste- I may be a little late, but your bird probably can not survive the wild if he/she has been with you for 2 1/2 years. I think the idea of getting a new bird may be good.


Dec 27, 2013
House finch 2.5 years old
by: Beatrice

Can someone please advise me? I had a house finch that I found at a week old. She is now 2.5 years old.

Before you judge me please note that Getting wildlife protection on the phone for a house finch in LA country is not easy.

Then I had to move so I brought my girl with me. She became really close to me. She's a happy bird! Sings, bathes, eats like an queen and flies around. She even showers with me from time to time haha.

I put her cage outside sometimes. She seems nervous about it, like she wants to fly- but also squeals for me if I leave her too long.

Lately a lot of male and females alike flock to her instantly. I feel lately like she deserves to be free and she still has very wild instincts. I don't know how she would eat. Would the other birds teach her or kill her?

If I left food for her, will she be able to stick around and eat or will she get lost and freeze one night!? We've had some chilly ones this year.

She's happy, healthy, but not complete. Is it too late to let her go free? Should I just get another bird so she has company? If so, what kind?
Thank you,


Jun 30, 2013
House finch eyes not opening
by: Steve

We have a three week old house finch which we found a week ago. We've been feeding him or her baby bird formula and it's doing ok. The eyes don't seem to be opening, any ideas?

Jun 05, 2013
male house finch
by: donna

First off I live in Yuma and summer here now it is pretty "HOT" 103 I had the fan going to cool down the shop and here sat the finch, my husband picked it up for me and brought into the cool of the house.

I have him in a cage I put towel down on the bottom so he does not hurt his feet, I am not sure what has happened to him, it looks as though he is blind....he is eating and drinking ok and today he is still just resting doing fine. I am sure he will not make it...just a matter of time but I will keep him safe, fed and out of harms way in the cool of our house till then. however long that is. I love birds so beautiful.

Aug 08, 2012
Viceo of Mrs. Birka Birka Bathing :D
by: Anonymous - Here's a video of wormslayer/littleskunky aka Mrs Birka taking a bath.

Aug 08, 2012
Mrs. Birka
by: SKuNKy

I have raised a robin from about 4-5 days old(tops) and she is now 2 and 1/2 months old. I raised her to start with on dry dog food that I soaked in water until mushy then squeezed out the excess, and also hard-boiled egg-yolks.

I know it is illegal to raise wild birds(though this is stupid since all birds are wild and the ones that are legal just come from other countries) but none of the 4 wildlife rehabbers I called would take her :( .

I have raised quite a few animals in my life from rabbits and squirrels to birds and she is spoiled rotten.

I let her fly free in my apt. because I don't have the heart to cage her. She is still young but definitly ready to go now.

I am going to slowly try and adapt her to the outdoors and I guess since I have certain whistles that she comes too I will be able to keep tabs on her and bring her back inside at night and during storms for at least the first couple weeks.

I will also decrease her food slowly so she'll be forced to hunt(she's a meat eater). After she grew up some I started feeding her basically anything I eat, just without all the seasoning, she loves it all :).

I have kept close tabs on her weight and what not and even though she eats like a pig she is perfect weight :).

It is going to break my heart to see her go, but I want her to at least be given the chance, she deserves the skies and a mate.

If she doesnt end up adapting then she can always come back and live with me :D . I have many names for her, my favorites being WormSlayer and Mrs. Birka Birka(based on the sound she makes in the early morning and at sunset.)

My advice is don't let the man-made laws stop you from doing what you know in your heart is right.

I found my bird when she was way too young to survive and her nest and siblings had been torn to shreds by something so it was either take her in or leave her to die.

It really wasn't a choice to me, like Ghandi said "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the ways its animals are treated". also "I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man".

Guess Ghandi was definitely an animal lover and respecter like me. :D Good luck to all you animal lovers in your quest to help the innocent and helpless.

Jul 31, 2012
by: Anonymous

I found a 2-day old house finch in front of the house, I feed her the dog food mixture on one of the website's , she is now 34 days old, she is doing very well, I give her mealworms, vegies, and fruit, seeds too, I am having a hard time letting her go, but know it is the best thing to do, today is the first day I have left the cage open in the backyard and am at work for the day, hope to see her when I get home, I will call her, for 10 days she has been coming and going from the cage, but I bring her in a night, she comes when I call her, but today is the first day I will not be calling her for 9 hours, so not sure what she will do.

Jul 08, 2012
by: laurenms

My husband and I found a baby house finch at work after a nest was pushed out of a dryer vent. The baby is home with us, and we have had it for 3 days. We have been feeding it baby bird formula, and her feathers have developed quite nicely. The only cause for concern is when she spreads her wings, skin is still showing and there seems to be a small hole that looks like ligaments behind her neck that I cannot find anything about. She has been eating and been a joy to us so far and we want to help her as much as we can. I am scared because when we tried to feed her tonight she was very lethargic and didn't eat quite as much as she normally has. Anyone found this issue, or am I just freaking out for no reason? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Jun 10, 2012
by: Theresa Moss Currier

I has reading the other posts and wondered if anyone found a good way to wean the babies from formula?

We have a pontoon boat, my husband brought it home from storage, a day later we discovered a nest with four house finches and an unhatched egg. Sadly, mom got left behind. So, as I have done in the past with doves, we began feeding them with baby bird formula and an eye dropper.

They have grown tremendously in 3 weeks and can fly now. We moved them to a large cage outside.

Now I need to wean them so we can release them back into the wild. Tonight I dipped the end of the eye dropper into some seeds to try and give them the idea.

Weaning doves was fairly simple because I just kept tapping on the tray of seeds until they learned to peck. Not so with the finches!

Anyone with any tips would be appreciated.


May 19, 2012
home finch

Thank you for your article. I found a house finch and doing the same as you did, syringe and baby bird food at Petsmart. How is your bird doing now and do you still have it.



May 21, 2011
Baby House Finch
by: Joyce

8 days ago my dog found a baby house finch while out for her daily walk. I observed for any parents trying to find the bird and there were none. I brought the bird home, made a nest in a deep, square box and the first night fed it softened cat food.

The next day I bought NutriStart and bird vitamins. She has grown, has most of her feathers, except under her arms and neck. I have added softened (liquid) cat food to her diet and feed her with a very small syringe. She is now jumping around and is trying to fly.

I have put her in a bird cage, but know nothing abut weaning her and what food she will eat as an adult. Could you help me?

She is already imprinted I am afraid and she will have to remain in our home if at all possible. Thank you for any help you can give me.

May 11, 2011
NOT true.
by: Stranger

That's not true. It is fine if you touch her, and if you teach her how to do the things that a bird must do to survive (eat, drink, fly), she will be easy to release back into the wild.

There are several birds in my neighborhood that have been raised by me, and now that they have been in the wild, they are just as flighty and frightened as any other bird.

Believe me. Lucky will be able to return to the wild. No wild bird should be kept forever.

Jul 05, 2010
by: Peter

Hi there!... Terrific page! I'm writing from Eastern, Atlantic Canada, where I've found a baby House Finch. He's got almost all his feathers, save for his little poof of a nubby tail. He's peeping and hopping about, like mad, trying to get out of the tub I've put him in.

I've raised European Starlings, baby Grackles and even an injured Barn owl. But this is the first time I've ever even attempted to save a little peebler like my new Finchy mate. He/She doesn't want to seem to eat...... Yet. There was an overture at "begging" a little earlier last night, but for the most part the little fella' seems more intent on making good his escape.

Problem is, though... He REALLY can't fly. He's still his pin feathers and no "adult" tail feathers to speak of, so all It's attempts at liberation have involved pecking at the sides of the plastic wash-tub, and a whole lot of fluttering straight up... then down. He's(?) really quite bold and doesn't seem VERY afraid of me at all.

I'd love for him/her/it (whatever) to survive, but I honestly don't have a clue as to what I'm doing. We've no Aviary vets here, and the Humane Society (I've found) really isn't all that "humane" in dealing with tiny lives that are difficult to care for. So, I'm stuck... Albeit, somewhat gladly... But I need help.

Is there anything you could tell me about the care of partially fledged baby House Finches? Any information you can give me would be GREATLY appreciated!

Aug 15, 2009
our newest family member Louie
by: naomi

we just found a baby finch on the ground while mowing the lawn. We have decided to keep him and try to get him to eat but had no idea what to give him. he has feathers but still has a few bald spots and that fluffy stuff on his head. I got him to take water out of a medicine dropper and eat a couple of small knats...but do not know what else to give him.

Jul 16, 2009
what to do?!?!
by: new momma

hello, i loved this page that you wrote! I myself had found a baby house finch at our barn, and was wondering what to do with him. (he acts like a him) my family and i have been feeding him dog food soaked in warm water and have let him hop around for a few minutes on a towel. However we are still discussing if we should take him to a wildlife shelter or not. He's is doing fine for now, but what should we do while we discuss the shelter thing? Does he need anything else? Seeing that you have had one, I thought that maybe you could give me some advice.

Jul 16, 2009
by: Anonymous

I am not sure how this turned out. It is almost better to keep her, but most states will not even allow you to keep a feather or it is illegal, let alone a bird. I am sure you could secretly keep her though. It is so nice that you took care of her, and shame on that cat! Most birds do not make it on their own, especially after being cared for by a human. If you are caring for them you should never make eye contact, and never let them touch you, but to keep a warm blanket. Feeding is also tricky because it is very easy for a baby bird to aspirate. I hope that she made it, I would get her a comfy place in your home and heart though for the rest of your life. She is used to humans now and will never make it on her own because of it, she is too trusting, and we are not all nice.

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