There’s an injured bird on my porch! How can I help it?

We found and helped out a baby owl! Increase your knowledge about what to do when you've found an injured or orphaned bird before you assume the role of caretaker.
We found and helped out a baby owl! Increase your knowledge about what to do when you’ve found an injured or orphaned bird before you assume the role of caretaker.

The first thing that you should do would be to call a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator. For a list of local Wildlife Rehabilitators that are licensed to care for wild, injured animals, visit the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website. They will be able to further help you in either picking up the bird or directing you as to how to properly transport it to their facility.

The second thing you should do is put the bird in a safe container. For smaller birds, such as songbirds, a small shoebox will work. Make sure that holes are punched in the box so that the bird will be able to get air. Line it with some sort of soft cloth like tissues, toilet paper, or a t-shirt. DO NOT use shredded material like nesting material, grasses, or shredded newspaper.

After creating a comfortable transport box, the bird needs to be gently added! Put on gloves and cover the bird with a towel, sheet, or pillowcase as you scoop it up. DO NOT add food or water to the box. Many birds that are injured are also in shock and force-feeding it can potentially kill it! If transportation to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility can’t immediately happen, place the bird in the box in a warm, dark, quiet place. Keep the box away from direct sunlight, air-conditioning, and heat. It may be a challenge for some curious animal lovers, but don’t allow anyone to talk to it or handle it unnecessarily as these things can be stressful to the animal.

Being a care-taker for an animal can be very rewarding and ensuring its safety is the number one goal. You may feel inclined to keep the bird and nurse it back to health yourself, however it is against the law to keep injured or orphaned birds without the proper permits. In many cases, the bird will require professional attention in order to survive and be successful integrated back into the wild. Many rehabilitators understand that you have formed a bond with the little animal and will provide you with a case number so that you will be able to call and get a status update regarding the bird you rescued!

If you are local to the Bucks County Area, there are a few places to take your injured bird.  AARK Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is located in Chalfont. Visit their website here. Another place is Mercer County Wildlife Center, located on Route 29 near Titusville, NJ. Their contact information can be found here. Please note that neither of these locations have the ability to come get your injured bird; however, they will both gladly care for the animal once you have transported it there.

Resources

Humane Society and Injured Animals

BCAS Pinterest has “injured wildlife” pins!

Everything you need to know about birds! (ID, location, care information, and attraction info)

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