can an injured bird survive

How to catch an injured bird

Here are some typical scenarios in which you can rescue an injured bird:

  • If a bird gets stuck in a fence or in the mouth of a dog or cat, remove it as soon as you can, being cautious. To keep the bird from taking off and possibly dying from injuries, try to hold onto it.
  • The bird is unable to fly, so approach it slowly and silently from behind. Then, reach down quickly and precisely. Without pausing, quickly wrap your hand around the bird’s shoulders, keeping its wings tucked in against its body, and lift it up. Try this again in the early evening when it is almost dark if it does not work during the day.
  • The bird can run, walk, or hop. To pick it up, try to maneuver it into a corner or up against a wall. Ask one or two other people to assist you if needed. A bird net also can be useful.
  • The bird has some flight ability, so you might be able to capture it after dusk or by guiding it into a corner. Again, a bird net can help. The following day, when the bird may be less weak from their wounds, you might be able to catch it if it can fly well.
  • The bird appears to have an injury, despite its good flight: It may not be feasible to capture it. Avoid finding yourself in a situation where you have no chance of catching the bird. That won’t work and could stress the bird to death.

Sometimes you can put seed on the ground leading into a pet carrier, especially if it’s for a bird that lives in your yard. Once the bird enters, you can carefully close the door. A bird that is injured should not be trapped with other birds as this could lead to more injuries. When pigeons, doves, and certain other ground feeders are hurt, this technique performs best.

Making a box to transport a bird

You’ll have to get the bird ready for transportation to a wildlife rehabilitator in a box. Heres how:

  • Find a sturdy cardboard box that has a top. For most songbirds, a shoebox is a good size.
  • Put a cloth (not terry cloth) inside on the bottom. It will work just fine with a tea towel, a T-shirt, or even a few paper towels. The majority of towels are made of terry cloth, which is not recommended because the loops can snag a bird’s beak or toes.
  • Make a “nest” that fits the bird. Place another small towel (it should be cloth, not terry cloth) on top of the paper or cloth towels and roll it into a doughnut shape. This will act as the bird’s “nest” and provide support. But if the bird doesn’t stay there, that’s OK.
  • Make a number of tiny air holes in the top of the cardboard box, about the size of a pencil. It is preferable to have more tiny air holes than a few large ones. Prior to putting the bird inside the box, make sure the air holes are made.
  • Place the bird in the box. Make sure the bird does not fly away when you place it inside the box. This can happen easily, and it can cause more injuries. Don’t assume that the bird is incapable of flying; they may suddenly regain the ability. Make sure there are no gaps for the bird to squeak through and quickly tape the box shut.
  • Add a source of heat. If you have a heating pad, turn it down to a low setting, cover it with a towel, and then place the box containing the bird on top of the towel. For a songbird that is injured, 85 degrees Fahrenheit is a good temperature.

Place the cardboard box indoors, away from children and pets, in a quiet, dark place. Verify that the box is not facing the sun or the HVAC vents directly. Unless specifically instructed to do so by the wildlife rehabilitator, do not provide the bird with food or water. It is very easy to drown a bird. While you wait for the rehabilitator to visit you, leave the bird by itself in the box.

Is intervention the best course?

Before attempting to capture the bird, carefully weigh the pros and cons of capture and treatment. Birds are easily shocked, and the stress of handling them can be fatal. Help only if it seems improbable that the bird will survive in the wild on its own


Can birds survive injuries?

Any bird that has sustained a serious injury has little chance of surviving. Try to capture it and get it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator ASAP.

How do you revive an injured bird?

For the bird to have the best chance of recovery and release, contact a rehabilitator right away. Don’t try to care for the bird yourself. Only a licensed wildlife rehabilitator has the special equipment and skills to provide the injured bird with proper care.

What should I do with an injured bird?

Once you’ve checked over the bird, gently place it in a box with air holes. Keep the box closed and move it into a cool, quiet, dark area. If you spotted an injury, get in touch with a wildlife specialist for further advice.