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What to Do When You Find a Cold, Injured, or Abandoned Bird?

If you accidentally found an orphaned or injured bird, what should you do? Although our first instinct may be to help it, knowing the right steps to take is crucial to ensure the bird’s well-being. In this blog post, we will guide you through the proper measures to take when you encounter such situations.

How Do You Tell If a Bird is Injured or Orphaned?

Before taking action, it is essential to assess its condition from a distance. In some cases, a healthy bird may have temporarily been left alone by its parents, so be wary before intervening. There are a few signs to look for to determine if a bird is injured or orphaned:

  1. Observe the bird’s behavior: If the bird is struggling to fly or walk, seems disoriented, or is unable to stand properly, it may be injured. Injured birds may also be found on the ground, unable to take flight.
  2. Check for visible injuries: Look for any obvious signs of injury, such as bleeding, broken wings, or limping. Injured birds may also have their feathers fluffed up or be holding their wings in an abnormal position.
  3. Observe the surroundings: If you see a bird’s nest nearby with other healthy birds or adult birds actively caring for the young, it’s best to leave the bird alone as it’s still under parental care.

If you are unsure, it’s recommended to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or a local bird rescue organization. They can provide guidance on whether the bird needs assistance or if it should be left alone.

How to Help an Injured or Abandoned Bird?

If the bird is shivering, unable to fly, or has visible injuries, it’s clear that immediate help is required. In this section, we’ll explain what you can do to help an injured or abandoned bird.

1.Safely Contain the Bird

If the bird is injured, you should carefully place it in a warm, dark and quiet area away from any potential threats. Be mindful not to startle or stress it further, as injured birds can be frightened and may attempt to flee. If it’s a songbird or injured fledgling, you can gently throw a soft towel or cloth over it. This will help prevent it from flying away and potentially causing more harm. But remember to wear thick gloves while handling larger birds like pigeons or seagulls to protect yourself. Then, you can put them in a cardboard box or pet carrier. Ensure the container has good ventilation, drainage holes and is appropriately sized based on the bird’s size. Line the bottom with a soft cloth or shredded paper to provide comfort.

2.Don’t Offer Food or Water

Feeding a bird without proper knowledge can cause more harm than good. Many birds have specific dietary requirements and forcing food or water on them may lead to complications or choking. Moreover, injured birds are usually stressed and shocked, and forcing food or water into their system can cause further stress and harm. They might not have the ability to consume food and water due to their injuries. Besides, birds have specific diets, and providing them with the wrong food can do more harm than good, which may lead to digestive issues. More importantly, wild birds can carry various diseases and parasites which can be transmitted to humans. For the safety of both parties, it’s best to leave nourishment to professionals.

3.Contact a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Do not attempt to treat the bird’s injuries yourself, as you may cause more harm. Just leave medical care to the professionals. Wildlife rehabilitation centers have trained professionals who know how to handle and care for injured or orphaned birds. They can provide appropriate housing, nutrition, and medical care, which is often crucial for ensuring the animal’s successful rehabilitation and eventual release. Additionally, in many countries and states, it’s illegal to keep or care for wildlife without proper permits and licenses. By contacting a wildlife rehabilitation center, you ensure that the injured bird is in the hands of legal professionals who can provide appropriate care.

Here are some tips on how to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center:

  1. Research: Look for wildlife rehabilitation centers in your area. You can search online or ask local veterinarians or nature centers for recommendations.
  2. Reach out: Once you find a local wildlife rehabilitation center, note down their contact information, including their phone number and email address.
  3. Describe the situation: When contacting the rehabilitation center, you should provide a detailed description of the bird’s condition and behavior. It will help them determine the level of urgency and advise you on the next steps.
  4. Follow the instructions: Wildlife rehabilitation centers may provide specific instructions on how to safely transport the bird or how to provide immediate care until help arrives. Follow their guidance carefully.
  5. Be patient: Wildlife rehabilitation centers are often busy, and it may take some time for someone to respond to your call or message. Be patient and if it is an emergency, inform them of the urgency.

4.Keep Children and Pets Away

Injured birds are already in a vulnerable state and introducing children or pets can cause added stress. They may try to defend themselves by pecking or scratching, which can potentially harm children or pets. Additionally, some birds may carry diseases or parasites that can be transmitted to humans or other animals.

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