Found an Injured Bird?

Found an Injured Bird?

Thank you for caring about our wildlife! Talking Talons can assist in locating a treatment location or temporary home for injured or orphaned North American birds and bats. Please note that it is unwise and illegal to care for many of these animals yourself.

Please make every effort to contact a licensed rehabilitator.

Wildlife Rescue New Mexico: (505) 344-2500
US Fish and Wildlife Service: (505) 248-6911


Found an injured BAT?

3batsAgain BE CAREFUL! Bats can transmit rabies to humans through their saliva. NEVER HANDLE A BAT WITHOUT GLOVES!

If a bat gets into your house or building

Find a small cardboard box or medium sized coffee can. When the bat is not moving, wearing gloves, swiftly and gently cover the bat with the box or can. Gently slip a piece of cardboard between the surface the bat is
roosting on and the box/can.

Take the bat outside at late dusk or at night. From raised porch or other somewhat elevated platform remove the cardboard top and tilt the box so the bat slides out. Watch the bat fly away (use flashlight). If the bat fails to fly, place it back in the box using the same instructions as above and CALL A BAT REHABILITATOR.

If you find an injured or downed bat outside

A bat on the ground is most likely sick or injured. DO NOT TOUCH THE BAT WITH BARE HANDS. If any bare handed contact was made by anybody, the bat will have to be checked for rabies (this means euthanasia). Be extra certain to carefully question children about their exposure to bats. Be gentle. If a child feels he or she has done something wrong, they may be reticent to tell you if they touched the bat.

Find a small cardboard box or medium sized coffee can. When the bat is not moving, wearing gloves, swiftly and gently cover the bat with the box or can. Gently slip a piece of cardboard between the ground and the box/can.

Found an injured BIRD?

First, be careful! Even young birds of prey can have powerful talons. Be sure to keep yourself safe by wearing gloves. If possible, cover the bird with a soft towel and gently lift it into a cardboard box. Close the box and do not check on the animal again. Call a wildlife rehabilitator:

Please note: It is illegal to take a hawk from the wild without a permit. There are many kinds of permits including a permit issued to Apprentice Falconers which requires them to trap a passage Red-Tail to trai with in their endeavor to become a General or Master Falconer.

Dread and anxiety are the usually emotions people experience when they see one of our avian friends injured or in danger. If you happen to come across one, you may be able to help. Here’s what to do…

Wildlife Rescue New Mexico: (505) 344-2500
US Fish and Wildlife Service: (505) 248-6911

A downy owl chick. Although chicks like this have insulation feathers, they cannot fly and need their parents for survival. It is a myth that the parents will reject the chicks once they are touched by people. The best thing you can do is put the chick back in the nest.

If you find a baby bird with soft downy feathers or no feathers at all (this will take place in the spring or early summer as North American birds have a spring nesting and breeding season): Chicks often fall out of the nest, but sometimes they are pushed out. But this won’t change the fact that you feel sorry for the little feller! If you find a featherless chick, go ahead and put it back in the nest, if you are able.

It is a common myth that if you touch a baby bird, the mother will smell you on it and reject the chick. In reality, birds don’t have much of a sense of smell. If the mother persistently pushes the chick out, or you are unable to find the nest, you can try making a substitute nest out of small cardboard box or plastic butter tub:

  • Line the box with some tissue paper or a soft cloth and attach it to a tree limb close by. The substitute nest must be in the shade.
  • Place the chick in the nest and observe. Watch the nest for about two hours to see if one of the parents returns to care for the chick. This observation period applies if the chick is placed in a substitute nest or the real nest.

In either case, if the parents don’t come back, call a wildlife rehabilitator (sources listed above). If the parents do return, leave the area.

If you find a baby bird with feathers then it is probably a fledgling. If it is active and hopping around, then it’s probably doing what it’s supposed to be doing. When birds leave the nest, they will explore within the proximity of that nest. They can’t fly perfectly yet, so they may hop around on the ground. The parents, in normal circumstances, will come down to the ground to feed their young. However, there are many dangers present to non-flighted baby birds. Determine whether the bird will be safe from cars, dogs, cats, other people, etc. If the chick is close to this kind of activity, it is best to place it in a tree branch nearby and, again, watch for about 2 hours. The chick will most likely call for its parents. If they do not return, call a wildlife rehabilitator.

If you find a sick or injured bird you will want to get it to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Remember, this is the BEST way you can help the bird. You may feel inclined to want to help yourself, but trust us, LESS IS MORE! First of all, although you may legally transport an injured bird to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, you are not allowed to care for birds protected under the Migratory Bird Species Act. This is a Federal Act, enforced by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Even Crows and Ravens are protected species. Birds are injured by a variety of human actions, some intentional, some not. Gunshot wounds and automobile impacts are the most common, but electrocution on power poles, impact with pole support cables and impact with windows are other unfortunate occurrences.

If you encounter a bird that is unable to fly, your goal is to place it inside a dark container or a cardboard box of the appropriate size for the bird works best. Place a soft cloth or towel on the bottom of the box. Cover the bird with a towel and gently gather up the bird in the towel, covering the wings. Be extremely careful with birds of prey (hawks, falcons, owls). Raptors talons are remarkably powerful. If you are footed, you will have a difficult time getting the bird to release its hold on you. If this happens, try to straighten the leg and pull the talons open. Place the bird gently in the box and close the lid. You may have to tape the lid shut,
but don’t seal the box; just tape it enough so the lid stays closed. The box is not airtight so you shouldn’t have to poke holes in it. DO NOT offer the bird food or water. Especially not food. Emaciated birds that eat may die for they do not have enough fluids to digest properly.

DO NOT open the box again to check on the bird. You may be worried about the bird so would like to check on it, but that much more stress on the bird may be enough to cause death. Place the box in a dark, warm, quiet place and call a wildlife rehabilitator.

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