Why Do Mother Birds Abandon Their Babies?

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Why would a bird abandon her eggs? Mother birds are known for their nurturing and protective nature, but sometimes they may abandon their babies. This behavior raises the question: why do mother birds leave their young ones behind? 

Various factors can contribute to this abandonment. One reason is the mother’s perception of danger. If she senses dangers like predators or disturbances near the nest, she may abandon her babies or eggs to ensure her survival. 

Lack of resources can also play a role in the abandonment of babies. If the mother cannot find enough food or suitable nesting sites, she may leave the nest to search for better options. 

Sometimes, the chicks themselves may be unhealthy or weak, leading the mother to abandon them instead of investing her efforts in stronger offspring. While abandonment seems harsh, it can be a survival strategy for the mother bird in certain circumstances. 

Understanding these reasons can provide valuable insights into the complex behaviors of our feathered friends. In this article, we will investigate why mother birds abandon their babies: 

Reasons For Abandonment: 

Why do birds abandon their eggs? There can be many reasons for the abandonment of babies or eggs. Here are some reasons why mother birds abandon their babies: 

Infantile feeding

Infantile feeding, which means feeding baby birds by their mother, can sometimes lead to the abandonment of the babies. This happens because when babies constantly demand food from their mothers, they may become overwhelmed and stressed. 

Do birds abandon their babies? The constant feeding can exhaust the mother, making her unable to keep up with the demanding feeding schedule. As a result, she might feel incapable of providing enough food for her babies and may decide to abandon them. This decision might seem harsh, but it is a survival instinct for the mother bird. 

She may believe that leaving the babies gives them a better chance of finding food and surviving on their own. So, in some cases, the mother chooses to abandon her babies to increase their chances of survival, even though it may seem heartbreaking to us.

Read More: How To Take Care of Baby Parrotlets?

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Not In Broody Mood

When a mother bird is not in the mood to care for her babies, she may abandon them. This happens because she doesn’t feel the strong instinct to protect and nurture them. You might not put in the effort when you don’t feel like doing something. 

In the case of birds, when the mother bird is not broody or nurturing, she might leave the baby birds alone and not provide them with food or warmth. This can be very dangerous for baby birds because they rely on their mother for survival. Without her care, they may be unable to find food or stay safe from predators. 

So, when a mother bird is not in the mood to care for her babies, they may sadly be left alone and struggle to survive.

Orphaned Babies Of Birds

For a variety of causes, moms abandon their young chicks who are orphaned. Due to illness or injury, the mother may occasionally pass away or become unable to care for her chicks. 

In other situations, the mother could feel in danger or afraid and decide to leave the chicks to defend herself. Furthermore, environmental circumstances like food scarcity or harsh weather can compel a mother to leave her young to survive. 

An abandoned chick forfeits the care and safety that its mother offers. The chick may struggle to acquire food or defend itself from predators. As a result, making it tough for it to live on its own. 

Abandoned By Father 

Because they play various parental duties, bird fathers occasionally forsake their offspring. The major duties of the father are to find food and guard the nest. The mother looks for feeding and keeping the babies warm after the eggs hatch. 

The father may occasionally leave if he feels the children are not his or cannot locate enough food. Although it may sound depressing, several bird species exhibit this behavior naturally. 

The mother bird can care for the young independently, and they will still have a chance to live and develop. It’s crucial to remember that not all bird fathers abandon their young, as different species exhibit various behaviors and parenting techniques.

Will mother birds abandon touched babies?

If you touch a bird, will the mother reject it? No, if a person touches a baby bird, the mother will not abandon it. Bird mothers have a strong innate need to look after and protect their young. 

They know that other people touching baby birds won’t hurt their children. Birds’ sense of smell is restricted. Thus, they cannot pick up on human odor like other mammals. 

Therefore, a newborn bird is safe even if you accidently touch it. However, it’s recommended to refrain from handling them excessively or disrupting their nest because doing so could stress the birds and even be harmful. 

Letting the mother bird alone care for her young is crucial. Therefore, observing from a distance is best and letting nature take its course if you come upon a newborn bird.

Why do birds abandon their nests with eggs?

Do birds abandon their nest? Yes, birds abandon nests with eggs for various reasons. Sometimes, predators pose a threat, so birds flee to protect themselves and ensure survival. Other times, environmental disturbances like storms or human interference can scare birds away from their nests. 

Sometimes, the eggs might not be viable, meaning they won’t hatch into healthy chicks. If a bird senses that the eggs are not developing properly or something is wrong, it may decide to leave the nest. 

Additionally, birds might abandon nests if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to changes in their surroundings or food availability. It’s also possible that a bird might abandon a nest if it perceives a better nesting location elsewhere. 

Ultimately, birds prioritize their survival and the success of their species, and they abandon their nest with babies. So if they sense danger, have concerns about the eggs’ viability, or find better options, they may choose to leave their nests behind.

Why do robins abandon their nest?

Why would a robin abandon her nest? Robins may abandon their nest for a few reasons. Sometimes, predators like cats or squirrels get too close, making the robin scared for its eggs or babies. If the nest is damaged or in a bad location, the robin might leave to find a safer place. 

Harsh weather, like heavy rain or strong winds, can also make the nest unsafe, so the robin might decide to abandon it. Sometimes, humans can accidentally disturb the nest while doing yard work or other activities, causing the robin to feel unsafe and leave. 

Do robins abandon their babies? If the robin feels threatened or something is wrong with the nest or babies, it will protect itself and its family by finding a new nest or starting over. It’s important to give robins their space and try not to disturb their nests so that they can safely raise their young.

Do baby birds push their siblings out of the nest?

It’s a myth that baby birds drive their siblings out of the nest. Until they are ready to fly, baby birds remain in the nest. They rely on their parents to provide for them and bring them meals. Occasionally, a bird may unintentionally fall out if the nest becomes overcrowded. 

But it’s not because another bird pushed them. It was just a coincidence. The young birds leave the nest independently once they are strong enough and have mastered flight. We refer to this as fledging. Therefore, young birds don’t push each other aside. They rely on their parents, leaving the nest when they’re ready.

List Of Mother Birds Which Abandon their Babies:

Black Eagle

Black eagles are not necessarily bad mothers, but they have some behaviors that may seem unusual. They lay two eggs but only raise one chick. The stronger chick competes with its sibling for food, and the weaker one often dies. This might make them appear bad, but it’s a survival strategy to ensure the strongest offspring survives and continues the species.


Cuckoos are known for being bad mothers. They don’t build their nests or take care of their young. Instead, they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. Once the cuckoo’s egg hatches, the baby cuckoo pushes the other eggs or chicks out of the nest. The host bird’s parents unknowingly raise the cuckoo chick, feeding it and caring for it, even though it’s not theirs. This behavior is called brood parasitism and makes cuckoos bad mothers.

House Sparrow

House sparrows can be considered bad mothers for a few reasons:

  1. They may abandon their nests or eggs, leaving them unprotected.
  2. They may not provide enough food for their chicks, leading to malnutrition.
  3. They may not defend their offspring from predators, putting them at risk.

These behaviors can negatively affect the survival and well-being of baby sparrows.


There are many reasons why mother birds may abandon their babies. One possible reason is if the babies are sick or weak, as the mother may believe they have a lower chance of survival. 

Another reason could be if the nest is disturbed or destroyed, leaving the mother unable to care for her young. Sometimes, a mother bird may be too young or inexperienced to care for her baby properly. 

Additionally, if the mother bird senses a threat or danger nearby, she may leave her babies to protect herself. Lastly, environmental factors like food scarcity or extreme weather conditions can lead to abandonment. 

It’s important to remember that while it may seem harsh, mother birds may make these decisions to increase their species’ overall chances of survival.


How long will a mother bird leave her nest?

Parents are required to leave the nest to seek food for themselves periodically. This distance from the nest during egg incubation could reach up to 30 minutes. However, birds don’t need to spend much time on the nest during the egg-laying phase before incubation!

Will a mother bird come back if the nest is moved?

If you move a bird’s nest, the mother bird may or may not return. It depends on various factors. Sometimes, the mother bird will return and continue caring for her eggs or chicks in the new location. However, there is also a chance that she may abandon the nest if she feels threatened or if the nest is too far away. It’s best to avoid moving a bird’s nest unless necessary.

Why do birds throw eggs out of their nests?

Birds may throw eggs out of their nests for several reasons. Sometimes, the eggs are damaged or infertile, so the bird removes them to focus on healthier eggs. In other cases, the nest may become overcrowded, and the bird eliminates some eggs to ensure survival for the remaining ones.

Is milk good for baby birds?

Bird babies don’t consume milk. Please spread the news that orphan birds should never be offered any form of milk as the baby bird season approaches! This is exceedingly harmful because birds are not designed to digest any form of milk. Unexpectedly many people come upon baby birds and want to help by feeding them.

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