First Aid for birds –

What to do if you have found an injured bird.

  1. First – observe from a distance to determine if intervention is necessary.
  2. If injury is obvious, (a drooping wing, a hanging leg or a bleeding wound) and the bird is unresponsive to the threat of an approaching human, then it is likely to need attention.
  3. Approach birds quietly and calmly ensuring that you do not endanger yourself or the bird in the process.
  4. Young birds that are fledged and hop, usually have their parents nearby and are best left alone but may be placed up in a nearby a tree or shrub.
  5. Use a towel or sheet to cover the birds head and enclose their wings to prevent flapping (this also helps with seabirds to limit damage to their waterproofed feathers). Gently, but firmly pick them up holding their wings against their bodies.
  6. Be careful with Hawks, Owls and Tuis – their sharp claws can grip very tightly.
  7. Be wary of powerful beaks with Herons, Gannets and Gulls – they have an incredible reach.
  8. Place the bird in a box that doesn’t allow too much movement and has ventilation holes. Line the base of the box with leaves, newspaper or an old towel.
  9. Always keep handling to a minimum to help reduce stress.
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  11. Put the box in a warm (not hot), dark and quiet place, away from cats and dogs and give ARRC a call to determine the next best step.
  12. For birds that have flown into a window, been found at the side of the road, or been attacked by a cat, that have no obvious injuries, keep in a warm dark box in a quiet place overnight and if ok the next morning then release.
  13. When transporting birds in a vehicle, be sure to turn the radio/music system off and close car doors quietly.
  14. If there is a delay in getting the bird to a rehabilitation facility then additional care may be required such as rehydrating the bird or strapping its wing.
  15. A drop of rescue remedy or emergency essence placed on the bird’s skin is usually a useful aid in helping to minimize stress.