Sometimes, but not always. Here are some things to watch for:
Baby birds that are beginning to leave the nest are called “fledglings”. Their flight feathers haven’t fully developed, but they can flutter from branch to branch. Don’t be alarmed if you see a fledgling on the ground. It could be taking a rest from its first flight or it could be waiting for one of its parents to feed it. Do not attempt to replace such a youngster in the nest. Leaving the nest is a part of their normal development and it is best not to interfere with the process.
A chirping baby robin on the ground, for example, is most likely telling its parents that it is hungry and it is letting them know where they can find it. Parents coach their fledglings to find suitable cover, and feed them even after they are able to fly. Like all parents, adult birds can’t be everywhere at once, so if you watch a grounded fledgling for a half an hour or so you should see one of its parents bringing it several snacks. Keep all pets, children and curious adults away from the area and let the parents carry on with the process of rearing their young.
Many species of birds, especially precocial birds, nest on the ground. Precocial birds are ones that hatch from the egg with their eyes open, fluffy and ready to follow their mother. Quail, ducks and sandpipers are examples of this type of bird, and if you see one on the ground and a parent is anywhere nearby, leave it alone! It is supposed to be on the ground and its chances of survival are greatly reduced if it is taken away from the parents.
If the peep of the bird is weak or it can’t stand, and/or after 30 minutes of observation the adults do not appear, you will need to bring the bird to the Center.