Each year thousands of injured birds are found. Here at Wild-Bird-Watching.com we receive emails asking how to take care of injured birds found in streets or who have struck windows.
While it is illegal to possess or keep in captivity any migratory bird, there are a few intial steps you can take when finding hurt birds.
A stunned bird should be picked up carefully, upright to help it breathe, your hands firmly but not squeezing around the wings close to the body.
Put the bird in a box lined with a soft cotton cloth or paper towel, close the lid and place the box in a dark, quiet, safe place for an hour or two. The bird likely has a concussion, a build-up of blood under the skull, pressing on the brain.
If the bird remains quiet (birds tend to sit still in absolute darkness, in the absence of stimuli) the blood will probably drain safely away, without causing debilitating or fatal clots.
After an hour or two, take the box safely away from windows, but in an open area, facing woods, brush or other suitable habitat, and open the lid. If the bird flies away, fine.
However, if the bird can't fly, it will be absolutely necessary to take it to a qualified wildlife rehabilitation center. Locate one close to you by using the Wildlife Rehabilitator Directory
Small birds have rapid body metabolisms and high energy demands, but their diets are difficult to replicate. Also, many are fearful and will damage themselves in cages or other confinements.
Their anatomy is delicate and complex and even highly specialized veterinarian care too frequently fails to restore seriously hurt birds to levels of health essential for survival back in the wild.
Additionally, the bird may be one of many dozens of species, each with its own peculiarities and specific needs that are essential to its humane care.
Keep in mind federal, state and provincial legislation makes it illegal for unlicensed individuals to care for virtually any native bird species.
And finally, always seek the most qualified care that is available in your area for injured birds. As stated before, use this directory for locating Rehabilitator's. Or call your local veterinarian for help locating a wildlife rehabilitator.
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