Human contact with bird eggs or a baby bird will not cause the parents to abandon all hope of the family. The parents will come back. Most birds can’t even tell that you have been there at all.
But this is what grownups tell children, likely to safeguard the birds from little fingers.
Birds don’t lay their eggs until they have put a lot of work into building a strong nest. And aren’t likely to desert it at a time when they need it the most. But no one can argue that it is probably best to leave them alone. Looking at babies when they have hatched from a suitable distance will be fun for your grandkids, but touching them is not advisable. They are babies, after all.
But there might come a time when you need to move a birdhouse. If it is not absolutely critical, the best option is to wait until the young have flown out. The breeding season is a short one, and the time it takes for eggs to hatch and babies to be strong enough to fly away is not such a long time if moving the birdhouse is not crucial. Waiting until the chicks have left the nest is the best choice.
But, if there is a reason that it must be moved… perhaps it is in a place where your cat can get to the nest— then by all means, move it.
First, make sure that the receiving location is set up completely. If you begin the process and have to interrupt it, you will stress the birds unnecessarily. Then plan to move the nest during the daylight hours, as gently as possible. You want to be able to preserve the eggs intact, if they haven’t hatched or keep the young ones from bouncing around. Keep the birdhouse upright throughout the move.
Don’t be alarmed if the parents raise a stink, they will get pretty noisy – they want you to leave them alone. As soon as you get the birdhouse relocated, you should get away from the area so that they will feel being to feel secure in their new place.
Once it has been moved, you can watch from a safe distance, hidden from view if at all possible. If the parents were away when you moved it, they will usually find the new location pretty easily and they should begin feeding the young or resume sitting on the eggs in a very short time. But, if it looks as if the parents have abandoned the nest because of the move, it’s advisable to contact someone in your area who has expertise about the species you are watching.
If you can put off moving a nest until the young have flown, this is always the best option.