What To Do With An Injured Bird?

If you find an injured bird, the first thing you should do is assess the bird and determine if it is in immediate danger. If it is, make sure to move it away from any potential threats before attempting to help it. Next, you should put on gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from any potential diseases or parasites the bird may carry. Once the bird is in a safe location, you can assess the extent of its injuries.

If the bird is suffering from minor injuries, such as a broken wing, you can provide supportive care until it is well enough to be released back into the wild. However, if the bird is suffering from more serious injuries, like a fractured skull, you should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. They will be able to determine if the bird is a candidate for rehabilitation and provide the necessary medical care it needs to recover.

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  • Wear gloves and gently place the bird in a cardboard box or paper bag with a lid, making sure there are air holes.
  • Place a cloth or towel in the bottom of the box/bag, to keep the bird warm and comfortable.
  • Put the box/bag in a quiet, dark place, and do not try to feed or give the bird water.
  • Immediately contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for assistance. Check with local pet stores, veterinarians, or your state’s wildlife agency for rehabilitators in your area.
  • If the bird is fully feathered, alert, and active, it can likely be released within 24 hours of capture. Make sure it is in an area away from cats, dogs, and other predators.

Determine the Type of Injury On the Bird

  • Look for external signs of trauma: If a bird has an obvious wound such as a broken wing, missing feathers, or a visible wound, then it is likely experiencing a physical injury.
  • Look for signs of illness: If a bird appears to be lethargic or not eating, or if it has any unusual behavior such as circling or head-tilting, then it is likely experiencing a medical injury.
  • Look for signs of poisoning: If a bird is exhibiting signs of being poisoned, such as a bloody face, difficulty breathing, or convulsions, then it is likely to experience a toxic injury.
  • Have the bird examined by a veterinarian: The only way to accurately determine the type of injury is to have the bird examined by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to diagnose the injury and provide treatment.

Determine the Extent of the Injury On The Bird

The first step in determining the extent of an injury on a bird is to observe the bird closely to identify any visible signs of injury, such as cuts, bruises, swelling, or broken bones. If the bird is unable to fly, it should be carefully examined for wounds or fractures on its wings or legs.

The next step is to take the bird to an avian veterinarian for a thorough physical examination. During the exam, the vet will assess the bird’s condition and take X-rays to determine the extent of any internal injuries or fractures. The vet may also take blood tests to check for infection or other health concerns.

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Finally, the vet will provide a treatment plan based on the extent of the injury and the bird’s overall health. Treatment may include pain relief medications, antibiotics, wound care, and physical therapy. The bird may also need to be kept in a quiet, warm, and safe environment while it recovers.

Determine the Species of Bird

  • Look at the physical characteristics of the bird, such as size, shape, color, bill shape and length, and tail shape.
  • Check for field marks, such as stripes, spots, or other distinctive markings.
  • Take note of the bird’s behavior and habitat.
  • Listen to its call and song.
  • Use a field guide to identify the species.
  • Consider the season and location when identifying the bird species.
  • Use a smartphone app or other online bird identification resources.

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  • Put on a pair of gloves, then gently pick up the bird with both hands.
  • Gently wrap the bird in a towel or soft cloth and place it in a cardboard box.
  • Place the box in a warm, quiet, and dark area.
  • Taking a trip to the vet is best. In the meantime, use a shallow dish of warm water and a little salt or sugar to encourage the bird to drink.
  • Offer food and water in a shallow dish.
  • Provide a warm and safe environment to help the bird heal.
  • Monitor the bird’s condition and watch for signs of infection.
  • If necessary, immobilize the injured area with a splint, bandage, or other support.

Resources for Injured Bird

  • The Avian Welfare Coalition: The Avian Welfare Coalition is a coalition of bird-focused organizations, including sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers, that are dedicated to the welfare and protection of all birds.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory: The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory lists wildlife rehabilitation organizations around the world, including bird sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers.
  • Bird Emergency Assistance & Re-Homing (BEAR): BEAR is an organization dedicated to providing medical care and rehabilitation to injured, sick or abandoned birds.
  • The Raptor Center: The Raptor Center provides medical care and rehabilitation to injured birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, and owls.
  • Wild Bird Rehabilitation: Wild Bird Rehabilitation is an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild and exotic birds.

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Prepare a Safe Space for the Injured Bird

  • Create a safe, quiet location away from any other pets, away from noise and distractions.
  • Gently place the bird in an isolated box, lined with paper towels, and a few clean towels.
  • Place a heating pad underneath half of the box, and set it to low temperature.
  • Place a shallow dish of water in the box, as well as a few pieces of seed or mealworms.
  • Position the box in a dimly lit area, away from drafts.
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If you find an injured bird, the first step is to keep it calm and warm. The most important thing to remember is to not handle the bird too much. This can cause the bird to become stressed or cause further injury.

If possible, you should place the bird in a dark and quiet environment, such as a cardboard box. This will help to keep it calm and reduce any stress or fear.

You should then wrap the bird in a clean cloth, such as a towel or t-shirt. This will help to keep the bird warm. Place the bird in a warm area, such as near a heater or a warm window. If you can, you can also place a heating pad or hot water bottle next to the bird.

It is important to remember that the bird should not become too hot. If the bird is not responding to the heat, or if its body feels hot, then the heat should be reduced.

If the bird is still alive and conscious, you should offer it water. This can be done by dripping water onto its beak or by providing it with a shallow dish of water.

Provide Nutritious Food and Water for Injured Bird

Providing nutritious food and water for an injured bird is essential for its recovery. A bird’s diet should consist of a variety of foods, including seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, and insects. For injured birds, soft foods such as cooked rice, oatmeal, boiled eggs, and cooked vegetables are easier to eat and digest. Feeding an injured bird should be done slowly, in small amounts. If the bird is unable to eat on its own, it may need to be hand-fed.

In addition to providing nutritious food, an injured bird will also need access to clean, fresh water. Provide a shallow bowl of water that the bird can easily get to on its own. If the bird is unable to drink on its own, provide a dropper or syringe to give it water. Make sure the water is changed daily to prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants.

Determine if Professional Help is Necessary For The Injured Bird

If a bird has been injured, it’s important to assess its condition before determining whether professional help is necessary. First, check to see if the bird is still alive. If it is, check to see if it can move or fly away. If it is not able to move or fly, gently cover the bird with a towel and place it in a secure container.

If the bird is still alive and unable to move, it may need professional help. Signs that indicate that it needs help include wounds that are deep, open, or bleeding, wheezing or labored breathing, paralysis, or an inability to stand. If any of these signs are present, contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or a veterinarian who is experienced in treating birds. It’s important to get help for the bird as soon as possible, as its condition may worsen without proper care.

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  1. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: This act protects most species of wild birds in the United States, including their eggs, nests, and feathers. It makes it illegal to possess, transport, buy, and sell wild birds, their eggs, nests, and feathers without a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  2. State and Local Laws: Depending on where you live, there may be additional state or local laws governing the care of injured wild birds. For example, some states have laws that prohibit releasing wild birds that have been taken into captivity, even if they are rehabilitated. It is important to research your local laws before attempting to care for an injured wild bird.
  3. Veterinary Care: It is important to contact a licensed veterinarian if you are attempting to care for an injured wild bird. A veterinarian can provide medical advice and treatment and can guide how to best care for the bird.
  4. Sanctuaries and Rescue Facilities: In some cases, injured wild birds may need to be taken to a licensed sanctuary or rescue facility for long-term care. These facilities are typically staffed by trained professionals who are knowledgeable about wild bird species and can provide the best possible care.

Releasing the Injured Bird Back Into the Wild

Releasing an injured bird back into the wild should only be done if the bird is deemed healthy and fit enough to survive on its own. If the bird is still injured, then it should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator who can provide the necessary care and treatment to help the bird make a full recovery.

Before releasing the bird, it is important to ensure that the release site is safe and suitable for the bird and that the bird will not be in danger from predators or other threats. It is also important to provide the bird with adequate food and water sources, as well as a suitable shelter. Lastly, it is important to monitor the bird for a few days after its release to ensure that it is adapting to its new environment.


In conclusion, if you find an injured bird, you should take the necessary steps to help it, such as providing a safe place to rest, giving it food and water, contacting a local wildlife rehabilitation center, and observing it from a distance. The best course of action depends on the situation and the bird’s condition. If the bird is in danger or severely injured, you should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. The rehabilitator will know the best steps to take and will be able to provide the bird with the best medical care and rehabilitation.

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