THE RSPCA's wildlife hospital is swamped with patients as almost 100 animals a day are brought into care.
Spring is called trauma season by RSPCA wildlife staff because of the high number of casualties, especially with birds leaving the nest and attacks from cats and dogs, says RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty.
"Our vets are seeing close to 100 patients a day," he said. "It's the breeding and birthing season so animals are on the move and giving birth.
"We're also seeing large numbers of baby birds, some of which maybe should have been left where they were.
"Sadly this happens all the time. People think they're doing the right thing by 'rescuing' chicks that are healthy and being looked after by their parents.
"They mean well but it often ends up very badly for the chicks."
RSPCA veternarians advise that if you find a chick, the first thing to establish is if it is a nestling or a fledgling?
If it does not have feathers, only fluffy down, then it is a nestling, and needs help straight away, as it cannot keep itself warm. Take it to a vet or bring it in to the RSPCA as soon as possible.
If the bird has its flight feathers, then it is a fledgling. Before rescuing a fledgling, ask yourself:
Is the bird calling or making a noise? Is the bird bright and responsive? Can the bird perch on your finger? Can the bird spread its wings evenly and flutter to the ground when encouraged to fly?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then the baby bird should be reunited with its parents. It is best for a baby bird to be with its parents, as no human can teach a bird all it needs to know to survive.
To try to reunite the baby with its parents, place it on a low branch in a bush and watch to see if the parents come to feed it. You can also place a chick in a bucket with a few drainage holes, some grass and a stick that will allow it to climb out. This will help protect baby birds from predators.
Cats and dogs kill and severely wound wildlife, particularly the young and flightless so pet ownership includes confining cats and dogs, particularly at night.
People can help native birds by planting bushy indigenous shrubs and ground cover to provide protection and camouflage.
This will help increase the survival rate, and will significantly reduce the injury and mortality rates of all wildlife.