Injured Birds - what to do in case you found injured bird?


videos illustrating hand feeding, caring (from youtube)

all kinds of birds

hydration formula for birds


Remember - wild birds are NOT pets.

They are naturally frightened of humans and it is also against the law to keep them in your home without a permit

As a rescuer of an injured or orphaned wild bird you play a very important role. The information presented below should provide you with basic guidance to both assist with the rescue and to make the bird comfortable until it can be delivered to the Wild Bird Care Centre or other rehab centre in your local area. Due to limited staff and time the Centre is unable to pick up birds from rescuers. If you are unable to deliver the bird to the Centre yourself, try a friend or neighbour. If you have exhausted all possibilities then please call the Centre to discuss further options.

It is VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE BIRD RECEIVE PROFESSIONAL CARE as soon as possible. Please do not try treating the bird yourself. With fractures and breaks, the longer the injury remains untreated, the more difficult it is to fix. With young birds dehydration and starvation are quick to set in.

How do you rescue/capture an injured bird?

Catching an injured bird is not usually a problem since the bird is often incapable of moving and is too weak or shocked to put up any sort of resistance to handling.

Pick the bird up by grasping it gently around the shoulders so that the wings are held against the body and cannot flap. At this point the bird can be places in a cardboard box with a soft towel on the bottom and a cover on the top.

If you are having trouble catching the bird, or you are afraid to touch it, a towel can be used. Simply drop the towel lightly over the bird. The darkness will calm and immobilize the bird so that it is easier to pick up.

Picking up Raptors: always use extreme caution when handling birds of prey such as Hawks and Owls. Be especially careful of the talons and the beak which are extremely sharp and strong. The bird will be most easily caught by covering it with a towel and restraining the feet. If available, thick leather gloves can be worn but do not depend on them for total hand protection. If you are at all unsure of how to approach these birds, call the Centre for advice.

Picking up Herons, Bitterns, Loons and other long beaked birds: like raptors, caution should be used when approaching these birds. They have very long, spear-like beaks that are used for catching fish and these are positioned on the end of a neck that is equivalent to a coiled spring. The beaks of these birds should be held when picking them up, and a pillow case placed over the head to prevent any injury from the beak. Protect your eyes! If you are at all unsure of how to approach these birds, call the Centre for advice.


How do you keep baby birds warm?

Baby birds, especially those who are featherless, need to be kept warm. Birds have a higher body temperature than humans, and babies should be warm to the touch. Heat can be provided by hot water bottle or, if this is not available, plastic shampoo bottles filled with warm water are a good substitute. These should be placed under the towel that lines the box, so that bird does not get burned. Using two bottles, one on either side of the body, will provide even more warmth. This type of heat helps to prevent pneumonia and dehydration by applying the heat to the body but not to the environment. Finally, do not place the bird in the sun. Although birds need to be kept warm, the hot, direct sun could quickly overheat the bird, which may not be capable of moving itself into the shade.

What can you feed a bird until you are able to get it to the Centre?

Babies should be fed at least every hour and every half hour for featherless babies. If you live far away and are unable to get the bird to the Centre right away, you should try feeding the bird. It is important to identify the bird before any feeding is attempted as different birds have different dietary needs. If you do not know what kind of bird it is, call the Centre and we will help you with identification.

Babies should be fed three to four mouthfuls of food every hour from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. Feeding can be done with a toothpick or, if the bird is larger, a smooth rounded chop stick. Each feeding should be followed with a couple of drops of water from an eye dropper, or dripped off the end of a finger. Do not hold the bird while giving food and water unless absolutely necessary, and if the bird must be held, never hold it on its back to give food. Care should be taken in giving food and water since too much of either could easily choke or suffocate the bird. Also, do not squirt water directly down the bird's throat. Just drop a little bit on the end of the beak and let it move down by capillary action. Finally, be careful not to get water in the bird's nostrils.

DO NOT GIVE MILK OR BREAD to birds. They are not mammals and therefore milk is not part of their natural diet. Milk may also cause diarrhea leading to dehydration and bread does not provide the protein and vitamins needed by small babies.

The following is a guide of substitute foods for both babies and adults. Babies have to be hand-fed while small dishes of food and water can be put in the box for adult birds who eat on their own. It must be emphasized that these foods are only substitutes and are not adequate for long term nutrition. The foods we use at the Centre have been tested and researched for many years and the sooner your bird can get on the Centre's food, the better its chances of survival.

Robins, Starlings and other insectivores: tinned cat or dog food, preferably beef for robins; small pieces of earthworm can also be offered on the end of a toothpick

Sparrows and other seed eaters: slowly scrambled eggs which can be moistened with water for babies; budgie seed and wild bird seed can be offered to adults

Cedar waxwings: grapes, blueberries and other berries cut into small pieces

Hummingbirds: 4 parts water, 1 part sugar - boil water, dissolve sugar, cool to room temp - this nectar can then be offered at the tip of the beak with an eye-dropper

Ducks: whole corn, lettuce, duck starter (with water added for ducklings). Duck starter can be purchased at feed stores or pet food stores. Do not place ducklings in water as they chill easily and die quickly.

Pigeons and Doves: Adults - any type of wild bird seed, corn. Babies - bring them to the Centre as soon as possible as they need special feeding via tubation which you can not do yourself at home.

Jays: a small amount of peanut butter may be added to a bit of tinned dog food

How do you transport a bird?

To carry and house the bird, during the trip to the Centre, use a cardboard box lined with a soft towel. Cardboard causes less feather damage than a wire cage when transporting an exited bird that might be jumping around inside the container. Do not use shredded paper or cotton to line the box, as these can easily get caught in the bird's toes or get wrapped around its neck. As well do not use green grass cuttings, as the dampness could give the bird a chill. Finally, do not use old bird's nest. These may harbour mites and vermin harmful to the bird. For younger or injured birds, a towel or facial tissue can be bunched around the bird to provide support and prevent it from resting in an uncomfortable, splayed position. Once the bird is tucked safely in its box, a lid with holes punched in it or a paper towel can be placed over the box to prevent the bird from jumping out and to also give it some privacy. Frightened birds find darkness calming.

Can you contact diseases from rescuing the bird?

The chances of you catching anything from a wild bird are very remote. Over 60,000 birds have passed through the Centre, most of them sick or injured and no staff member or volunteer has caught anything from them.

Birds have higher body temperatures than humans and as a result, humans do not act as hosts to bird parasites which demand warmer temperatures for survival. If bird mites do get on you, simply wash your hands with soap and water and the mites will wash away.

If you are afraid of touching the bird, get a friend or neighbour to pick it up or pick it up using a towel or gloves. If a bird does have parasites on it, it is a sign that it is in really bad shape and in need of your help even more than its injury would indicate..




videos illustrating hand feeding, caring (from youtube)

kind of birds 

all kind of birds - source:

hydration formula for birds 

Ute Fitzgerald half a cup of lukewarm water, half a teaspoon of sugar and pinch of salt..

  • Ute Fitzgerald just as an emergency measure..til help can be obtained..


  • Mohamed Habib rib fig full of carbohydrate and mineral plus water ,this will post the energy very quick than protein (e.g warm )


    Chris O'Quinn

    You can temporarily feed the bird wet, softened catfood kibble along with the worms. It is an insect eater as Tallie indicates, not a seed eater. You can pry its beak open with your fingers gently starting at the tip but be careful not to break or bend the beak. I find using my fingers safer than using tweezers or a toothpick. Too easy to injure the bird with those tools. The wet catfood will give it all the moisture it needs. It does need to stay warm and quiet.

    Overall rescue important instructions by dear Sharon St. Joan

    The bird must not be kept in a cage like that -- when she begins to fly (soon) she will damage her feathers on the wires. I will send an email with more details. Please let me know who has the bird, and I will write to that person. The most important thing is to feed the bird a lot of food! They eat much more than mammals. The bird is a pre-fledgling and cannot eat on her own -- even if she takes one or two bites on her own. Yes, she is an insect-eater -- and so needs either tiny pieces of worms or as Truus said a mush made with dry cat food. The cat food must be soaked thoroughly for half an hour, then all the water squeezed out! Then make it into a little ball, the size the bird can swallow.11 minutes ago • Like

    Sharon St. Joan Feed the bird every hour! Do not put water into the bird's beak. Let her drink by herself, but she will get water from the food. Feed several little balls of catfood, like this, every hour. At first you may have to open the beak to put the food in at the back of the throat. Open the beak by pressing gently near the face -- not the end of the beak. She will soon open her mouth when she is hungry -- and will stop opening her mouth when she's had enough. But she must be fed several little catfood balls every hour for 14 to 16 hours a day. That is essential or she cannot survive. If you feed very small worms -- or pieces of worms (which is healthier, the amount and timing is the same. She needs either a nest made of cloth or a perch (probably both) since she is transitioning from one to the other.6 minutes ago •

    Put her in a cardboard box -- and make a large window out of screening -- like window screen or mesh, soft if possible, not hard wire. Tape the big window into the box, so she gets light and air. The cage will ruin her feathers. Keep her rather warm -- but not in the sun. And yes, straw on the bottom would be good. Do not pet her, if she is to be releasable, do not treat her like a pet. Please contact me -- whoever has the bird, please contact me via my Facebook page. I hope this helps! Good luck!

    One thing that is extremely important is not to release the bird as soon as she begins to fly. Birds learn to fly before they learn to eat, so she must not be released until a couple of weeks after she begins to fly--only when she is fully self-feeding. How to release the bird is also extremely important, so please contact me.