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Everything You Need to Know About Bird Rescue

Alessio enjoys writing tips in order to help people enjoy the best times with their beloved pets.


Birds Injured

Adult songbirds may be damaged or unwell for a variety of causes. The most prevalent causes include house cat attacks, automobile accidents, window strikes, bacterial and viral infections caught at bird feeders, and many more.

If you come across an injured bird, gently place it in a cardboard box with a cover or a towel over the top and keep it cool and secure. When birds are harmed, they typically die due to the shock. If a bird hits a window and survives, it may merely require some time to restore its wits before being able to fly away.

Do not attempt to feed or water the bird forcibly. Take the bird outdoors and check every fifteen minutes to see if it can fly away. If it is still there after a few hours, you might attempt to contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.

Is Picking Up a Bird Dangerous?

Other birds can bite hard, some can stab (Hairy Woodpeckers), and some may produce frightening sounds, but the majority cannot do substantial harm to humans. Birds do not carry rabies and are more likely to get anything from humans than vice versa. As a precaution, wash your hands after touching a bird.

Medium-sized birds need a two-handed grasp

Wrap both hands around the bird, thumbs on its back, pointing up, to secure the wings. Keep it tightly in place, but avoid putting pressure on the chest. Allow the bird to grip your small fingers as it naturally seeks a spot to rest its feet.

Small birds need a two-handed hold

Enclose the bird gently between your hands, providing enough space between your fingers for the bird to breathe — but not too much space, or it may wiggle away.

Small birds need a one-handed hold

This is comparable to the bander's grasp, widely employed to support birds before banding (ringing) or to inspect for injuries. Hold the bird's neck between your index and middle fingers, then secure the wings with your thumb and ring finger. Your little finger is a perch for the bird's feet, or you may hold the bird from underneath with your other hand. If you are unfamiliar with the bander's grip, it is best to use both hands.

Making use of a net

A fine-mesh net is often the most straightforward and safest technique to capture a bird. For smaller birds, volunteers utilize dollar-store butterfly nets. Nylon fishing nets with huge holes are not ideal because they will not contain a tiny bird and risk harming or destroying the feathers of a giant bird.

Cover the bird gently with the net, not crushing its head, wings, or legs with the loop. Hold the net flat on the ground and put one hand from the outside of the net over the bird. Raise the net with that hand while still holding the bird within, then carefully take the bird from the net with your other hand. Check that its toes, beak, and wings are not entangled in the netting.

Make use of a towel, blanket, sweater, or jacket

This is typically the simplest method of capturing more giant birds. Drop the towel or other cloth from above, covering the bird. If you can't cover the whole bird, at least cover the head and wings. Sweep it up in the towel with both hands, ensuring the wings are tucked in.

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Mourning Doves benefit from the towel approach since they may shed their feathers to flee, leaving you with a handful of feathers but no bird.

Orphaned Chicks

Young songbirds are often "bird-napped" by well-intentioned individuals who misinterpret a typical scenario for something abnormal. Because no one can nurture a newborn bird better than the bird's parents, we do not want chicks taken away from their parents unless they are ill, damaged, or orphaned. If you find an orphaned bird, the first step is to identify whether or not it is indeed orphaned.

Nestlings and Hatchlings

Hatchlings and nestlings are very young birds that must stay in the nest to live. Hatchlings have either no feathers, thin down, or are in the early stages of feather development. For the first week or so after hatching, their eyes are closed. They cannot generate their body heat and must rely on the mother bird to keep them warm.

Nestlings have the beginnings of feathers all over their bodies and are often entirely feathered by two weeks of age. Their wings feature the faces of flying feathers. They are more mobile in the nest but cannot yet stand, hop, or walk. When older nestlings move about within the nest or start to perch, they may fall out.

A qualified Wildlife Rehabilitator should be notified if a hatchling or nestling is discovered on the ground. Meanwhile, you may prepare a temporary nest for the fledgling bird in a tiny Tupperware container or a similar circular dish, entirely coated with layers of toilet paper to keep the chick from touching the container itself.


Many baby birds have a little down with short tail and wing feathers when they first fledge and leave the nest. On the other hand, Fledglings are often NOT in need of human assistance when discovered on the ground.

Did you know that many songbird species learn to fly while still on the ground? They have fled the nest and can now sit erect, perch, and hop or flutter in brief spurts. The youngster looks alone on the basis, yet the parent birds stay close in the trees and come down to feed the baby regularly, anything from many times an hour to once or twice an hour. The newborn will often hide in the grass or among low shrubs for safety. This is a natural position for many songbirds, and there is probably no need to intervene.



The objective is to bring the bird to a rehabilitator as quickly as possible, preferably within an hour. Keep the box with the bird inside the sun and air conditioning when driving. Protect the bird from the wind if air conditioning is required to maintain a temperature of 85-90 degrees.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

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