I found a baby bird. What do I do?
If it is feathered, this means it is a fledgling, and you should leave it where it is. DO NOT hang a box from a washing line with it inside as this just makes it vulnerable and will become a “happy meal” for predators (hawks, corvids etc). The parents WILL be around to look after it and teach it how to survive so please give nature a chance to do its thing naturally. Please know that unless there is a genuine issue with the bird, it is actually illegal to remove any wildlife from it’s natural habitat and you can be prosecuted.
“The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) protects wild animals, plants and habitats. It prohibits certain methods of killing or taking wild animals”.
If you are concerned about dogs or cats accessing the young bird or fledgling, please keep your cats in or protect the area where it is so your dogs can’t get at it. Or pop the youngster high up in a bush or tree near to where you found it so its parents can find it. It may need a few hours to a couple of days to learn to fly properly and NOBODY can teach it how to survive better than its parents. There are predators everywhere, that is nature, if it is feathered and healthy then please let its parents do their job, leave it alone, and monitor from a far distance.
If it is NOT feathered please do the following:
• Gather it up in a towel or soft cloth and put in a box somewhere warm.
• Find a rehab or rescue ASAP or ask your local vet if they know a local rescue or ask on your local community page online for any rehab or rescue centres nearby.
• If you cannot find one, please visit www.helpwildlife.co.uk and search for your nearest rescue centre.
• Keep the box inside as warm as you possibly can. Use a warm water bottle or similar under some towels to create heat. Baby birds with no feathers need heat up to around 36 degrees centigrade but cannot tolerate the cold and cannot digest any food when their temperature is too low.
• Please keep it quiet and do not cuddle or handle it and especially, we cannot stress enough, DO NOT FEED IT ANYTHING – not even water. They need a special diet or formula depending on its age and species. Too many baby birds have come in with sour crop, blocked crop and other ailments, usually resulting in death, by being given milk, pasta, bread, and uncooked rice. It is easier for us to fix hunger than it is poisoning or alleviating a blocked crop, which usually results in a very painful and unneccessary death.
I found an injured or sick bird. What do I do?
Please put in a secure box with air holes and place some tissue paper on the bottom of the box for it to sit on, and please keep it quiet.
Please visit www.helpwildlife.co.uk and search for your nearest rescue centre ASAP.
If you cannot find a rescue easily, please ask your local vet if they know of a local rescue or ask on your local community page online for any rehab or rescue centres nearby.
If you are still having an issue, please take the bird to you nearest vet.
Any bird found with badly broken legs or wings should be taken to an emergency vet immediately.
What do I feed a baby bird?
You don’t ever feed a baby bird. Different species and different ages of birds require different diets. Plus it is very easy to kill a bird as the airway and the throat are so close together. Please do not even try. And never EVER give any bird milk!
I found a tame wild bird, is it a pet?
Usually if you find a wild bird that is allowing you to pick it up and handle it, then it is dieing and needs to be taken to a rescue asap. This is not usual behaviour and is an indication that something is VERY seriously wrong with it.
I found a pigeon or other bird with leg bands on. What do I do?
This is a privately owned racing pigeon (or privately owned bird) and the owners should be contacted asap. Please keep the bird quiet in a box with some wild bird seed and some water. Do not give it bread, rice, pasta or anything else to eat.
Write down the numbers and letters you see on the leg ring and you can find the owner via this website:
https://www.rpra.org/stray-reporting/. If you are unable to do this then please take it to a local vet or rescue centre.
Please note that some owners will arrange collection for their bird, others do not care.
Will a vet charge me for taking a wild bird to them?
Vets have a duty of care to see wildlife by law and you should not be charged, even out of hours, unless you are a rescue centre or rehabber. Unfortunately, many vets will put to sleep most wildlife that are brought in rather than treat them, so try and find a wildlife friendly vet who knows appropriate rehabbers for that species.
What kinds of illnesses/ailments can birds have?
The most typical illnesses we encounter are the following:
Trichomonas Gallinae aka Canker, Coccidiosis, Mycoplasmosis, Salmonella, Paramyxovirus, Avipoxvirus, Chlamydia, Mites, blocked crops and sour crops (both usually caused by the public feeding incorrect foods, such as milk, bread, uncooked rice and uncooked pasta!). There are many, many more but these are the most frequent we deal with on a regular basis.
Can I catch any illness from a sick bird?
Yes its is possible to catch various illnesses from a sick bird, such as Salmonella, Psittacosis and some diseases can cause conjuctivitis. You can also pick up mites and lice, which can bite humans, although they cannot solely live on a human host for a long period.
Do you put to sleep any sick or injured birds?
Yes, sadly, sometimes it is kinder to put a bird to sleep if it is suffering and cannot be rehabiliated back into the wild.
Why do you not take ALL wild birds?
We would LOVE to be able to take on board all species of bird. However, it would be unfair on the bird if we do not have adequate facilities and housing for that particular species.
We will always pass on details of other rescues who can take certain species that we cannot.
We cannot take any water birds, sea birds or poultry, birds of prey, migratory birds or kingfishers. In an emergency of course we will take anything in but they will be transferred to a suitable rescue for rehabilitation as soon as possible.
We are happy to take all regular garden birds from tiny finches to woodpeckers to corvids, of all ages.