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We recently found a nest in the back garden and a little bird inside. Can you help us identify it? The nest is quite small like the bird so we are wondering whether this is the parent or a baby chick. Is there anything we can do to help it or are we better off leaving it alone?

Update: I'm from the UK, currently in Oxfordshire to be more precise.

enter image description here

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9  
Took me a ridiculous amount of time to locate the bird in the picture :L – Rory M Apr 22 '12 at 18:30
    
Looks like a Carolina wren. They are common small brown birds. The call is a loud three syllable call that sounds sorta like cheeseburger cheeseburger cheeseburger. Regardless it is certainly better off if you leave it alone. – KennyPeanuts Apr 23 '12 at 10:39
    
Well it's not a Carolina Wren, then... – KennyPeanuts Apr 23 '12 at 16:43
2  
@RoryM still can't find it. Now I'm afraid to keep looking at the picture, lest it be a joke with a monster who pops up screaming. I mean, I know it surely isn't the case, but still... – o0'. Jul 6 '14 at 22:54
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It looks like a passerine bird, but I can't really tell the species without seeing the whole body. As for what to do with it, your best course of action is to leave it alone. Trust me. Once placed tissue paper over a pigeon's eggs to keep them warm, and the mother crushed them when she landed on the nest because she didn't see the eggs.

If there are eggs in the nest, try noting down what color they are. Passerines have colored eggs.

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The bird needs to be left alone; that's the best help you can give it. Anything more than watching it is liable to lead to nesting failure (e.g. abandonment of the nest). The bird looks attentive and quiet, and so is most likely an adult keeping the eggs or chicks warm. The bill suggests a seed-eating bird, but there are large numbers of those (e.g. finches, sparrows, grosbeaks, ...) and I can say little more from the evidence.

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This is not really an answer. – WYSIWYG Mar 17 at 4:21
    
@WYSIWYG, it responds directly to the last sentence of the post, to wit: " Is there anything we can do to help it or are we better off leaving it alone?" It also gives addresses the other question ("Can you help us identify it?") by giving more information than the accepted answer, i.e. by naming three specific possible subgroups of the passerine birds. – mgkrebbs Mar 17 at 5:01

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