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Injured or orphaned songbirds

Baby birds

If the bird has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information. 

If the animal is not injured, review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

The most common injuries inflicted on birds are cat or dog attacks, hitting windows, hit by a car, and being removed from a nest by predators. Tree removal and storm damage can also displace birds. The most common reasons nests are abandoned are because the parents or young have been attacked. Nests can also be abandoned if one parent dies, if young are sick or the ill may be pushed out of the nest. Nests will be abandoned if they are moved from their original location. The last baby to leave a nest can be abandoned by parents who are busy feeding the ones already out of the nest. Baby birds who have just left the nest can easily find themselves in trouble because their flying and food finding skills take time to develop.

If you've found a baby bird, please know that most perching baby birds are fed insects by their parents, regardless of what they eat as an adult. Bird rehabilitators have a complicated bird formula that tries to imitate the nutrient value of insects. It is best to get the baby to a professional so this formula can be fed to the baby. You can offer birds lukewarm water dripped off the end of your finger onto the corner of the bird’s bill. If the bird is thirsty it will swallow, if not it will shake the water off. A baby bird leaves the nest about two weeks after hatching. It grows so rapidly that missed feedings can cause it to die overnight if it didn’t get enough to eat during the day. Birds eat dawn to dusk and rest at night. Getting the bird help as soon as possible increases the chances that the bird will grow to an adult and be able to take its place in the wild.

If you can walk up to a bird without it running or flying away, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

Adult birds

If the bird has been injured by a cat, has an obvious injury to its wing or leg, has something dirty, oily, or sticky in its feathers, or was hit by a car, it needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If not, please review the following tips:

If you have a bird that just flew into a window and is lying stunned on the ground, the injured bird should be picked up gently and placed inside a cardboard box, carrier, or large grocery bag with adequate ventilation. Place a layer of paper toweling on the bottom of the container. Place the bag in the house or garage in a warm, dark, quiet place and leave it alone for 30 minutes. Keep all children and pets away. After the 30 minutes is up, take the bird in the container outside and open the container. Never open the container in the house or garage. The bird should have regained its composure within 30 minutes and fly out of the open container after a few minutes.  If the bird doesn’t fly out and away after a few minutes, re-cover the container and transport the bird to AHS's Golden Valley location as soon as possible to receive professional care.

If you frequently experience birds flying into your window
The bird is probably seeing its own reflection and is trying to drive the “intruder” away. This bird behavior is seen primarily when the birds are busy establishing territories. Putting a non-reflective paper, like newspaper, on the OUTSIDE of the window for a few days will deter the collisions. Some people put streams of colored crepe paper on the OUTSIDE of the window to move in the summer breezes and deter the birds from seeing their reflections and attacking the glass.

If an adult wild bird gets into your house
Try to shut the bird into one room. Cover mirrors, windows or other reflective surfaces. Turn out all the lights, ceiling fans, etc. If the room has a window that you can open, do so and remove the screen so the bird can find his way out. If the room doesn’t have a window that can be opened to the outside, make the room as dark as possible. Then get a towel and a small flashlight. Go into the room, and by turning the flashlight on and off, locate where the bird is sitting. Once you know where it is, gently toss the towel over it, scoop up the bird in the towel and take it outside. If you are unable to make the room dark, wait until nighttime to catch the bird. Chasing a bird all around the room will just terrify the bird and perhaps lead to an injury.

If a bird is stuck in your chimney or fireplace
You will probably have to contact a chimney sweep for help in removing it. Any bird that has been stuck in a chimney, fireplace or furnace should not be released until it is cleaned and examined by a rehabilitator. 

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley facility aides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.