What to Do If You Find an Injured Bird

By Elisela Hurtado & TEAM redlobito.com

If you ever stumble upon a feathered friend in distress, knowing the right steps to take can make all the difference. Here’s your guide to ensuring the little one gets back to soaring the skies.


Finding an injured bird can tug at your heartstrings and evoke a deep desire to help. However, good intentions need to be paired with informed actions to ensure the bird’s best chance at recovery. This article will walk you through what to do from the moment you find the bird, to the joyful release back into the wild.

Assessing the Situation

Safety First

Your safety and the bird’s welfare are paramount. Wear gloves if possible, and wash your hands before and after handling the bird to prevent the spread of disease.

Identifying If the Bird Is Really Injured

Not every bird on the ground needs help. Young fledglings often spend time on the ground before they can fly. Observe from a distance; if the bird is hopping around and actively chirping, it may not be injured.

Initial Steps to Take

Gently Capture the Bird

Approach slowly and cover the bird with a light towel or cloth, gently scooping it up to minimize stress and further injury.

Prepare a Safe Container

A cardboard box with air holes and lined with a soft cloth makes an ideal temporary habitat. Keep the bird in a quiet, dark place to reduce stress.

Providing Basic Care

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Ensure the container is at a comfortable temperature, away from pets, children, and loud noises.

Hydration and Feeding Considerations

Avoid feeding the bird without advice from a professional, as improper food can do more harm than good. Provide a shallow dish of water if the bird is fully feathered and alert.

When to Seek Professional Help

Identifying Serious Injuries

If the bird has visible injuries, is unable to stand or fly, or has been attacked by a predator, it needs immediate professional care.

Finding Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Contact local wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians who can provide or direct you to specialized care for the bird.

Long-term Care Considerations

Legal Implications

Many birds are protected species, and keeping them without a license is illegal. Always aim for professional care and eventual release.

The Importance of Professional Care

Wildlife rehabilitators can provide the necessary medical treatment, diet, and rehabilitation exercises to help the bird recover properly.

Releasing the Bird Back Into the Wild

When Is the Right Time

The bird should be active, able to fly, and showing natural behaviors before considering release.

How to Safely Release

Choose a safe, open environment, ideally close to where you found the bird. Gently open the container and allow the bird to exit in its own time.


Encountering an injured bird can be a rewarding opportunity to engage with nature compassionately. By following these steps, you can make a significant difference in one small bird’s life, contributing to the preservation of our local wildlife.

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