Tuesday, December 23, 2014
What Do I Do?
Sometimes people come into contact with a bird that is injured or abandoned. But what should you do if you find a bird that needs help?
The first step is to determine if the bird is actually in need of your help. Young fledgling birds often leave the nest before they can fully fly, and the parents will care for them from the ground. In many cases the fledglings have short stubby tail and wing feathers with some down feathers on the head, back and chest, and can often be seen hopping on the ground. These birds are easily caught, but are not in need of help. If you are unsure if a bird is injured or abandoned, you can call your local wildlife rehab and they can advise you on what to do. The Wildlife Rehabber website has a listing of rehabs by state so that you can find one in your area.
A juvenile Barred Owl being treated for a broken wing in the WBS Wildlife Hospital
A sure sign of an injured bird is if you can see visible injuries or flies hovering around the animal.
Sometimes birds run into windows and are stunned. They can often recover and fly away with a bit of time in a safe place. If they do not fly off after some time, they may have a more serious injury and need the care of a wildlife rehabber.
If you find a bird that you believe is injured or abandoned, carefully place it in a cardboard box with a lid, and keep the box in a cool (in summer) or warm (in winter) place.
A Merlin being treated for a wing injury in the WBS Wildlife Hospital
If you find a bird of prey such as a hawk or falcon that needs help, you can place a towel or jacket over the animal to pick it up. If you have at least leather work gloves, they are recommended, too. After the bird is covered with the towel, you can grab the bird around the legs to protect yourself from the sharp talons and place it into the box. Be sure your box is secure so that the bird cannot escape while in transport.
While the bird is in your care, do not try to feed it or give it water. There are many different kinds of birds, each with its own special diet.
The best thing you can do is transport the bird to your local wildlife rehabber as soon as possible. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are specially trained to care for these animals, and have all the necessary diets and medications to administer to the animal.
Your bird will have the best chance of being returned to the wild under the care of a wildlife rehabilitator.
Submitted by Paige Davis, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist