Finding a Young or Injured Bird

If you have found a bird, you should first determine whether it is very young. Taking in a young bird of a native species, which may appear to be abandoned, is illegal. It is best to leave it alone since the parents are probably close by and will be looking after it.

To determine if the bird is very young, look for the fuzzy, short down feathers on the body and short tail and wing feathers that are characteristic of that age. These fledglings often have weak flight muscles as well, and are fed for a few days by their parents outside of the nest. This is a very vulnerable time for young birds, as they are easy prey for roaming cats and other predators. It is important to do your best to keep fledglings safe, while still allowing the parents to continue feeding them. For example, you may be able to move them off a busy sidewalk to a safer spot nearby.

If you find an injured adult bird, carefully put it in a cardboard box with a lid or a towel over the top, and place the box in a cool, safe place. Birds go into shock very easily when injured, and often die from the shock. If a bird has hit a window and is still alive, it may just need a little time to regain its senses, after which it may be able to fly away. Do not try to force feed or give water to the bird. Once the bird is safe, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator.

Click here for a list of animal hospitals and rehabilitators in our area that accept birds. Click here for detailed information from Volunteers for Wildlife on what to do when finding not only young or injured birds, but also rabbits, squirrels and opussums!

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