Copyright © 2019 Mother Lode Wildlife Care

How to Help an Orphaned or Injured Waterbird

 

MLWC doesn’t take domestic ducks or domestic geese. It is legal for anyone to help domestic animals, so you don't need us for that.  We are here to help with all migratory birds and other protected species.  If you don't know what kind of waterbird you have found, if it's possible to take a photo and text it to us, we can help you identify it and figure out where to go from there. 

Downy Babies 

If you have found a baby duck, goose, coot or other waterbird: if it is uninjured, and you are near a body of water where the waterbird's parents are likely to be found, take the baby in a box to the shore and let it peep.  Look for other babies of the same age and species in the vicinity.  Monitor the adult birds with those babies.  The parent bird will respond to the peeping of the baby in the box.  If an adult bird approaches, let the baby out of the box.  It's a wonderful feeling to see the baby reunited with the parents.  Canada Geese will accept a gosling of the same age as their goslings, even if it's not their own.  Mallards can recognize their young even if they've never seen them (a late egg hatching after they've all left the nest) by the peeping from within the egg.  If you can not find the family, call us.

If the baby is injured, wrap it gently and loosely in a soft cloth, put it in a paper bag or box with holes, keep it warm and call us

Injured Adult Waterbirds

 

If you feel you can safely capture an injured waterbird by throwing a towel over it, wrap it up in the towel and place the wrapped bird in an appropriately sized box and call us.   Beware: Egrets and herons can stab with their beaks and geese have powerful wings.  If you can not safely capture the injured waterbird, you can try herding it into a confined space (fenced yard) until we can get there.