Copyright © 2019 Mother Lode Wildlife Care

How to Help an Orphaned or Injured Bird of Prey

 

Always think carefully about your own safety. Even a sick or injured or baby bird of prey can severely injure you. They have incredibly strong talons and very sharp beaks. Never attempt to capture a large bird of prey – call us. Some people confuse a bird’s size with its age. Different species vary significantly in size. A small, fully-feathered bird may well be an adult, meaning that yes, it can hurt you.

 

 

Very young babies

 

  • Very young birds have no feathers, just down. Birds at this stage need to be in a nest and have the best chance of survival with their parents.

 

  • If the baby is uninjured, try to find the nest or call us for information about making a substitute nest. Do not attempt to return the baby to an existing nest without contacting us first.  You may cause other birds in the nest to fall out or you may be attacked by the parents.  If you see parents nearby, leave the baby alone. The parents may attack if you try to take the baby. Call us!

Branchers and Adult birds

 

  • Branchers are almost ready to fly, fully feathered, but still have downy fluff. Adults are fully feathered with no downy fluff.

 

  • If a brancher is on the ground in a safe place, wait a few hours to see if the parents return. If they don't, call us.

 

  • A bird is injured or sick if you saw it being attacked or picked up by a dog or cat, or you can see blood, a broken leg or drooping wing, or if it is shivering. Adults who will not fly away when you approach are also in trouble.

 

  • Do not attempt to capture the bird. Call us and try to keep track of the bird until you hear from us.

In all cases

 

  • If you’re not sure, call us.

 

  • Never provide the bird with food or water. We know you want to help, but you are more likely to hurt the bird than help it if you attempt to feed it.

 

  • Always make a record of the date, time and location you found the bird.