I have found a bird, now what do I do?
food and water is available.
Unsure if a bird needs care – see our tips here.
Tips for saving a bird
- Never force water into a birds mouth! We cannot stress this enough.
- Place the bird in a container with torn rags or paper in the bottom.
- Do not feed the bird if: it is lethargic, or cold.
- Keep the bird warm and dry – birds like temperatures of approx. 100. If a bird is cold, it’s must be warmed before treatment can start and it also will not digest food properly. A bird must be warmed before feeding. Place the container on a heating pad set to low. Do not place the heating pad inside the container. If you do not have a heating pad, find the warmest location possible and place container in that area.
- If the bird is on the ground, watch it for a little while.
- From April-July fledglings maybe on the ground as they are still learning to fly and are likely still being feed by the parents.
- If the bird is still fuzzy, look around for a nest. you can put the bird back into the nest or nearby. The parents should hear it and come to it.
- If no one comes and feeds the bird within 30-45 minutes, bring it to us.
- If you see an injury, blood, a drooping wing, or the bird is lethargic, bring it to us immediately.
- If a cat or dog has had the bird in its mouth, the bird must be treated with antibiotics within 24 hours. If you are unsure, better be safe and bring it to us.
- NEVER put water in a bird’s mouth. A bird’s airway is located on the bottom of their mouths behind their tongue.
- Feed baby birds any dry cat or dog food when the bird is warmed. Place the food in lukewarm water and wait for it to soften. Squeeze the excess water out and take small pieces and place in the back center of the bird’s mouth. Baby birds need to eat every 10-20 min.
- Adult song birds can be offered food when warmed. Adult birds have varieties diets, so offer a small variety of fresh fruit or water moistened dog/cat food. Place food in container and allow bird to choose. Do not feed a raptor, or lethargic bird. If you have a hummingbird and do not have one of our emergency kits, prepare sugar water recipe found here.
- If you do not know what kind of bird it is, be prepared to describe the bird (fuzzy, has feathers, size of a quarter, size of a golf ball, color of the beak, etc) or send us a picture (email or text).
- Raptors are carnivores that only eat once a day. Warming the bird and getting it to a rehab with the proper diet is the best way to help this type of bird.
What is the best way to describe the bird I have found?
Hatchling/Nestling: baby that is unfeathered or partially feathered with skin showing.
Fledgling: baby that is feathered and begins perching on its own. Fledglings are clumsy and learning how to fly and become a bird. This is the most common time for bird injuries and fatalities.
Not sure what kind of bird you have?
Is it true that if I touch a bird, its parent(s) will no longer take care of it?
No, this is a myth. In some cases, parents have been known to abandon a nest if it is distressed by too much human contact and no longer feels safe.
What do I do if a bird is no longer in his/her nest?
If you can find the nest and it is intact and the bird is not a hummingbird or a raptor, you may place the baby back into the nest.
If you have cut down the branch that the nest was on, try putting the nest near it’s original location (preferably same plant). If the parents can hear the babies, they will come to them.
In both cases, watch for the parents to return for care. If they do not return to care for the baby within 2 hours, bring the baby to a licensed rehab (like Fallen Feathers).
How do I know what kind of food to provide a bird while trying to contact/drive to a licensed rehab (like Fallen Feathers)
If you are unsure of the type of bird, provide a variety of food. Most birds will not eat if not kept warm (approx 98 degrees).
Suggestions of food include bird seed, small pieces of bread, crushed dry cereal (not sugared), mealworms, fruit, vegetables, crushed dog or cat food).
REMEMBER NEVER TO FORCE WATER INTO A BIRD’S MOUTH.
Water may be provided in a small dish.