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Fall Migration: How to Save an Injured Bird

Oct 16, 2015 06:24 PM EDT
This is a windblown sparrow in the northern United Kingdom. But if you find an injured bird, there are ways that you can help it to recover.
(Photo : John Haslam)

It's possible, especially during the fall or spring migration, to come upon a small (or large) bird that seems a bit off. Maybe it holds one wing slightly askew, or is hopping on grass but never gets that far away from you, a scary human.

If you find a bird that doesn't fly away and is clearly injured in some way, the Audubon Society advises that you carefully place it in a cardboard box covered with a lid or a towel. This is to give the bird a little time and space and quiet.

It's possible that the bird hit a window or otherwise hurt itself. Because birds go into shock easily and often die from this, you're helping out by giving it cool-down time, notes the website for Audubon New York. 

Don't try to feed or give water to the bird. If it is alive after a few hours, you'll want to try to find a local wildlife rehabilitator. You can find one with a web search. Each state has an association for wildlife rehabilitators, and they will be listed there.

You will also want to check to see whether the bird is a fledgling. It may have a little down, and a short tail and short wing feathers. These have weak flight muscles and are sometimes fed by parents for a few days outside the nest. If the bird has fallen out of the nest or a similar situation, you can find a rehabber through the following chart.

The Humane Society lists wildlife rehabilitators by state here. Wildlife Rehabber has a search field too. 

Information on the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website can also help you determine the proper course of action regarding fledglings.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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