shop here for birding equipment

Wild Bird Rescue

What To Do If A Wild Bird Needs Help?

wild bird rescue

Wild bird rescue takes training and know how.

So what should you do if you find a feathered friend that needs help?

In most cases you should probably do nothing yourself to render first aid to the bird in need.

Baby birds especially require specialized care that only their parents or trained wildlife personnel are equipped to perform.

Many baby birds are fed regurgitated food by their parents, who know what they should be fed at different stages of their growth.

Some adult birds such as Mourning Doves feed their babies a “crop milk” or “pigeon milk” in the first few days of their baby’s life.

This would be impossible for an untrained person to know how to compensate for.

Intervening in the wrong way may cause more harm than good.

Also, be aware that in many states and provinces in North America it is illegal to handle or take a wild bird into your home to care for it.

Let’s look at some different scenarios that may occur and what action may be best.

Use these links to reach the information you need faster:

Get The Bonus 7 Part Series

Hummingbirds "The Jewelled Warriors"

When You Sign Up For
"Tips & How To's"

A Bird Hits Your Window, Should You Call Wild Bird Rescue?

There are two things you can do:

  • 1.  Keep the bird safe from predation while it recovers.
    -    Stay close enough to keep predators away, but not close enough to cause the bird more stress than it is already experiencing.
    -    If it does not recover and fly away within 15 minutes, place it in a small box with the lid closed or a paper bag and place it in a quiet place where it will not be disturbed.
    -    Monitor the bird discreetly and when it has revived, place it in a safe place where it can fly away.
  • 2.  Contact a wild bird rescue or wildlife centre for help if it is not recovering after a few hours.

If birds hitting your window is a common occurrence, you need to take measures to stop this from continuing.

A Baby Bird Out Of The Nest, What To Do?

Young birds that are found, often do not look capable of surviving on their own.

This of course is alarming to see, and we immediately want to save it.

But before you do anything, keep a distance so you can observe the youngster to really get a picture of what is happening.

If it has no feathers at all, cannot stand up and is obviously still in need of being in its nest, try to find its home.

If you do find it, return it to its nest or cavity home, whether a man-made one or natural cavity and let the parents take over.

The scent you may have left on the bird will not keep the parent bird from continuing to care for their young, as most birds have a poor sense of smell.

Your job is well done and finished.

You can feel good that you have saved a valuable bird life!

But if the little bird is covered in a combination of new feathers with lots of down still visible, the young bird has probably just made one of its first attempts at leaving home.

Wait to see if the parents are near by before approaching the young bird, regardless of how much squawking and distress it seems to be in.

If you are too close, then the parents may not want to approach their young one for fear of drawing attention to it or being hurt themselves.

Many bird species continue to feed their young for a while after they leave the nest.

It is the next step in their becoming an adult bird.

It is always better to let nature take care of the situation.

Contact a wildlife rescue centre before intervening if you cannot leave the situation alone.

An Injured Adult Bird, What To Do? 

Call Wild Bird Rescue!

This is also a very distressing situation for us.

Seeing an injured bird in your yard or while on a walk can be a very difficult experience to accept.

Many times, we want to intervene right away.

But approaching the bird will only cause it to be afraid and it will try to flee, possibly creating more injury and stress.

When birds have been hurt they will often seek out one of their sources of food to stay close to, so they can feed when the area is clear of other birds.

Often this will be our backyard feeding area.

If you are quite sure the bird will not survive without intervention, then call a wildlife rescue service to ask for advice.

This is especially important if the bird is a raptor.

You could put yourself at great harm by incorrectly approaching an adult raptor who is injured.

Sometimes the best help you can give is to keep an eye on the injured animal from afar until the experts can arrive.

The best you can do in all the above situations is give the bird a wide birth and keep an eye out for predators to act as their protector.

And to reiterate a very important truth, that in many states and provinces in North America it is illegal to handle or take a wild bird into your home to care for it.

Although there are two exceptions to this law in most areas, House Sparrows and Starlings, as they are invasive species and cause much harm to our native wild birds.

If you finally conclude that the bird will not survive without intervention, then call a wildlife rehabilitator or wild bird rescue centre in your area to ask for guidance.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres In North America


The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory

Or contact your state agency.

In Canada by Province or Territory

Ontario Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centres

Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

Quebec Wildlife Rehabilitation

Alberta Wildlife Rehabilitation

Manitoba Wildlife Rehabilitation

Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan

New Brunswick Wildlife Rehabilitation

Nova Scotia Wildlife Rehabilitation

Prince Edward Island Animal Rescue

Newfoundland Wildlife Rehabilitation

Shelters in Northwest Territories

Yukon Rehabilitation Centre

Bird Watchers Tell Their
Wild Bird Rescue Story

Please Share Your Wild Bird Rescue Story

Have you had the experience of finding an injured bird or a baby out of the nest? Please tell us what you did, if anything, and what the outcome was if you know.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information

Let everyone know who you are, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Comments From Others

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Can I Move a Nest? 
A Question About a Bird Nest: I am having a new fence put in next to a nest. Can I move the nest at all? If I leave it, I know the fencing …

Wild Bird Rescue - Coopers Hawk Not rated yet
I have a pair of nesting Coopers' hawks in my neighborhood. In February my son and I were in the living room when we heard a tremendous thud against …

Wild Bird Rescue - Whooping Crane Not rated yet
We are heartbroken here on Manitoulin Island to learn that someone shot and killed a two-year-old whooping crane. The federal government has stepped …

rescued bird Not rated yet
Last week, I rescued a nestling infront of our house. I waited for awhile for its parents to come back but it didn't. I also tried to find its …

How to Care for Baby Birds? Not rated yet
I have a robin that has nested and hatched 3 babies in my garage. Mom was in there constantly or when she wasn't she was right near the garage. I …

Click here to write your own.

How To Fix Backyard Bird Feeding Problems Here & In Right Column:

  • Pests at Bird Feeders Understanding all the pests that come to bird feeders and bird houses is essential before success at controlling them is possible.
  • #1 Killer of Wild Birds Cats are the leading cause of bird deaths in North America. Pets and feral cats are responsible for millions of wild bird deaths each year.
  • Backyard Predators There are other animals that prey on our songbirds in our backyards. Learn what they are so you can help.
  • Where are they in winter? It can happen any time of year. The birds you were happily feeding all of sudden disappear. What can be done?
  • Bird Feeding Problems Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of problems to overcome when feeding birds in your outdoor space. Find the answers.

Are Rats Your Problem?

  • Rodent Control of Rats This situation calls for strategic and timely action. Learn the steps to achieving rat control.

Wild Bird Rescue

> > Wild Bird Rescue

Get The Bonus 7 Part Series

Hummingbirds "The Jewelled Warriors"

When You Sign Up For
"Tips & How To's"

Was this information helpful?  

Please let me know what you think of this page

or to add some information of your own click here.

Thank You for Visiting!

Please Make This Site Your
Guide to Backyard Wild Birds