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Overnight care of injured adult songbirds

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a small cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of small air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels, old t-shirts, or paper towels. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shaving. Keep the box in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible wild animals can easily get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • A small bowl of water can be placed inside the enclosure. Most wild animals are much too stressed initially to eat or drink so placing food in the enclosure is not necessary, except for hummingbirds. However, if you feel you must offer food, bird seed and/or insects (not bees/wasps) would be appropriate for most species. Berries can be offered to cedar waxwings and robins. Hummingbirds should be offered sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar dissolved) through an eyedropper if they are hungry they will lap it out of the end; you do not need to drip it on them. It is vitally important that hummingbirds have the sugar water accessible to them at all times as their metabolism is very high and they can die of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) very quickly. Crows can be offered canned dog or cat food or dry food soaked in water to soften.
  • DO NOT give any medical treatment or medications, including flea sprays etc. Many medications that are safe for use in your pets or humans are not safe in wild animals and can have severe to life threatening adverse effects.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. Injuries need professional medical attention as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal.