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HOW TO RESCUE BIRDS ~Karen in Los Angeles


Be a mom (or dad) again ~~ Rescue Orphaned Birds!

My name is Karen de la Carriere and my passion for birds has been a lifelong love affair. I will be sharing this passion with you. You will especially learn from this website how to care for baby birds, both wild life birds and pet babybirds (sometimes rejected by parents).

The keynote in all of this is RESCUE. You are taking a living creature and helping it survive. What else is more important in any kind of hobby? Nothing rehabilitates the human soul as giving HELP. I have coached many a friend who complained of depression, mood swings, unhappy relationships and gotten them out of the misery by giving them the hat of Bird Rescue. When you are busy busy helping wild life ~ ~ you are bringing out your own basic goodness ~~ the rewards are quite remarkable.

Gully the grey cockatiel

Gully the grey cockatiel

In Memoriam ~~ this site is dedicated to my beloved GULLY

"Gully" (Gulliver) was a grey cockatiel that touched my heart. He was a very early rescue.
Having been plucked away from his siblings and parents at an early age he was stuck in solitary in a cage with owners that rarely paid him any attention.

In his loneliness he would call out ~~ talk, sing, whistle which annoyed his own owners who threw dark blanket over the cage to shut him up.

Thus Gully lived for a full 10 years of his life. Almost always in total darkness. He began self mutilating, plucking out all his feathers. By the time he was brought to me, he was all skin with no feathers and having seizures. I did not think he would make it through the night.

With a lot of TLC, treats, fresh fruit and veggies, Gully came around. He became my son. In early days I wrapped him in a little handtowel and stuck him in my bra so he travelled with me when I was driving and out and about. We bonded in that special way only a bird and a human can. I did not leave him alone for a moment. He lived one more year. He valiantly tried to come out of his abusive upbringing by showing me he was happy. He even learned to wolf whistle. He would give me tender kisses (nips) with his beak and loved to bite my earrings. When Gully passed, the loss was overwhelming but to celebrate his life, I contributed to the species. I currently have 2 huge flight aviaries with a connecting tunnel and 12 cockatiels who are happy happy birds and all because of GULLY.

In the beginning .......


And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." Genesis 1:21

Is it a BOY or a GIRL?


Cardinal Law and Rule #1 on Birds

A bird does not do well in solitary. A Bird is a flock species, community living type creature. It gets sick, develops problems and dies early when kept in solitary.


I do not understand why this one fact is not broadcast over and over on the web. It is a VITAL piece of data. Just visualize yourself captured by another species and put in cage for solitary existence with no other human to communicate with. How would you do over a long period of time?

About 10 years someone brought me a sparrow that had been in the mouth of a cat. A bird rarely survives this. Even if no puncture wound. There is poison/bacteria in the saliva of a cat that kills the bird 2-3 days later. In this case the bird actually was turning his head in a lilt like he had a spinal injury. My avian Vet thought the prognosis was grim and told me he would not fly again. He survived the 3 day deadline and lived. I was jubilant..he was a survivor. However I noted he was miserable. 2 weeks went by. He was not doing any better. I went to the pet store and told my story and asked for a companion bird, the size of the sparrow. Finches are the obvious choice. Well, I brought the finch home as a companion to the sparrow and what a great move that was ! The sparrow got better and better. He would sit side by side with his new buddy, white finch I called "Buddy" They preened themselves, they chatted to each other. I saw my injured sparrow get better day by day.


Providing your orphan a home

Someone calls you with a bird... now what?

The first thing you should do is tell them to them to place the bird in a darker place like a shoe box. Place the bird into a rolled up sock or hand towel so that the bird has clutch. To punch some air holes in the box lid.


I get my Equestrian friends to drop off a large sack of hay once a month. I use this hay to make nests in little weaved baskets they sell in any Thrift store for 50 cents. Babies should be placed with the head raised upwards (plump up the hay) and not dangling downwards.

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Baby birds are Equal Opportunity Employers! There is no fighting between babies. They are all raised in the same nest, cuddling with each other like a family ~~baby scrub jays, sparrows, finches, bluejays and so on. They live and grow up as a family.

~~Nothing gives a baby more comfort and feeling of safety than huddling up next to another baby ~~This is "nesting."

Baby birds often fall 100 feet or so from nests and arrive on the pavement or grass, naked, blind, orphaned. A large percentage are killed by house pet cats. The real benefactors of bird rescue are the human species. These acts of kindness are rewarded by Nature in the most extraordinary ways.

Hand feeding Baby Birds



Baby birds will eat human baby food. I use Gerber's. Use the protein ones chicken, turkey etc. not just fruit ones (no protein) You get 2 of them for a $1 and should keep a stock at home as "reserve supply".

~~ These are the 5 rules of feeding~~

First, stabilize the babies by wrapping them in sock or some such so that they do not bob up and down as you feed them.

(1) Feed babies with tip of a spoon.

(2) Clean spills with wet Kleenex IMMEDIATELY Do not let spilled food remain on feathers....growing bacteria is harmful to babies.

(3) Do not give refrigerated baby food. (Cold will "shock" their systems) Room temperature is best.

(4) Feed babies together. They copy each other, and when they see another opening their beak for food, they copy that behavior.

(5) Fresh fruit daily please. Mashed up banana or any soft pulpy furit. Do not keep old food (Such as Gerber's bottle) for more than a day...fresh is best, babies do not have systems to deal with aged food.

Baby birds grow rapidly to adult size --many in as little as 15 to 21 days! This rapid growth requires frequent feeding or they will die. Minimally, the bird needs food 3x an hour throughout daylight hours. When you get the hang of it, actual feeding is very fast. I normally raise 15 babies at a time. Babies do best cuddling with each other in a nest, all species can be nesting together.

The best immediate food is baby food (like Gerber) in the little glass jars ~~ 99 cents) All babyfood works well, fruit mixtures, meat mixtures and so on. Cat or dog food will also work but must first be prepared by cooking it into a pulpy watery mush.

All food must always be warm (not hot) I place the food in my microwave for a few seconds. NEVER feed cold food to the baby ...cold food will kill it!


A modern breakthrough has occurred to enhance the life of baby birds (both pet birds and wild orphaned birds). Scientists have developed baby bird formulas which simulate the mother's regurgitated "milk". All pet stores have it. Follow the directions on the container. Remember to warm the formula before feeding your bird. I microwave the mixed formula to warm it prior to feeding. They cannot digest it cold, and it could kill it! Never ever use the previous days' unused supply. This could also kill the bird (bacteria has changed it). I have successfully for many many years raised every kind of baby on Lafeber's Hand Feeding Formula for Baby Birds and also KAYTEE exact Hand-Feeding Formula.


Check the Fullness of the Crop. Nature designed a rather unique feature called a "crop" in our feather friends. A crop is a sack or bag in the throat area that blows up like a balloon. This area forms a food storage compartment designed to hold a quantity of food until needed.

The crop should be swollen after every feeding. If the crop is not swelling, you are not feeding it enough.

After feeding, immediately clean up baby with a wet tissue. Old food can develop bacteria and so on. Baby must be gently washed and cleaned of all remnant food.

It is best to throw away any unused formula and wash utensils.



If the bird has a long protruding beak (doves, pigeons specially), they must be fed in a special way.

a) Such birds put their beak down their mother's throat to get food.

b) You must simulate this by feeding them a "bottle"

c) Use a baby bottle and baby nipple. Slice the baby nipple just enough for the beak to go inside and move up and down.

Both bottle and nipple are 99 cents. It will take some practice, but once you get the hat, feeding these babies the bottle is a breeze.

Birds have feelings and care for each other

Here a Swallow's mate is injured and the condition is fatal. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.


Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.


He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead. He tried to move her....a rarely-seen effort for swallows!


Aware that his mate is dead and will never come back to him again, he cries with adoring love.


He stood beside her, saddened of her death.


Finally aware that she would never return to him, he stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.


All spring and summer long the local vets, pet stores, and the Griffith Park Rangers send me orphaned birds.

The bald Eagle is our National Bird

In 1782 Congress made the bald eagle our national bird. It is beautifully featured in every US post office express envelope.

We almost lost this beautiful creature to extinction!

Almost extinct due to hunting, habitat loss and the effects of pesticides like DDT, good Americans with RESCUE in their heart helped this bird make a comeback Bald eagle populations dropped from more than 100,000 nesting eagles at that time to only about 400 breeding pairs in 1963


Eagle Rescue

The Basic Goodness OF Man
An example of Humans helping a Bird
"Give me 1 hour with a 3rd or 6th grader and they will never shoot a Raptor again"


For Beauty it's like using only one chopstick to eat. It can't be done" said biologist Jane Fink Cantwell, who operates a raptor recovery center in this Idaho Panhandle town. "She has trouble drinking. She can't preen her feathers. That's all about to change."

Cantwell has spent the past two years assembling a team to design and build an artificial beak. They plan to attach it to Beauty next month. With the beak, the 7-year-old bald eagle could live to the age of 50, although not in the wild. "She could not survive in the wild without human intervention," Cantwell said.

The 15-pound eagle was found in 2005 scrounging for food and slowly starving to death at a landfill in Alaska. Most of her curved upper beak had been shot away, leaving her tongue and sinuses exposed. She could not clutch or tear at food.

Beauty was taken to a bird recovery center in Anchorage, where she was hand-fed for two years while her caretakers waited in vain for a new beak to grow. "They had exhausted their resources and she would likely be euthanized," Cantwell said.

Beauty was taken in 2007 to Cantwell's Birds of Prey Northwest ranch in Idaho after permits were obtained from the federal government. Soon after, Cantwell met Nate Calvin during a speaking engagement in Boise. Calvin, a mechanical engineer, offered to design an artificial beak. A dentist, veterinarian and other experts eventually volunteered to help.

Read more
Idaho team readies artificial beak for wounded bald eagle

Temporary beak already in place

Temporary beak already in place

See slide show

I salute the Boeing company!

The Boeing Co. and a maker of synthetic skin in California have volunteered to help make the permanent beak. Read more....

Images I Like

LOVE (Goldfinch)

LOVE (Goldfinch)

Food ! Food ! Food ! (Woodpecker)

Food ! Food ! Food ! (Woodpecker)

Gotcha ! (Bushtit)

Gotcha ! (Bushtit)

Emergency First Aid for your bird


Basic tips to treat your bird. When in doubt, take your bird to your vet!

Bird is bleeding (puncture wound or bite from larger bird, accident, trauma).

How to handle:
An immediate quick fix that stops the bleeding is Hydrogen Peroxide. Put a liberal amount of Hydrogen Peroxide on a Kleenex or cotton and hold it gently but firmly in the the wound for 3-4 minutes. It should stop the bleeding almost immediately.


Bird flew straight into glass (windows, car) and is stunned, can't stand up straight.

How to handle:
Keep in secure safe space, very often a couple of days of safe space will handle the situation and it will be ready for release back to the wild in 2-3 days.

Feeding Diet:

Puppy chow or cat mix greatly softened in boiling water is a great emergency diet for most birds. Soft bread, croissants, brown bread. Water in a bowl. Water should be deep, not in a saucer. Some birds need to suction out the water and need to go deep into the water.

Nothing comforts a bird back to normality as being in the proximity of other birds ~~even if they viewing each other through separate cages~~


Attracting Wild Birds to Your Yard

So much habitat loss due to modern developments cause huge population declines due to lack of food. You can give a helping hand to a few parent birds trying to make a living, trying to raise their young by setting up bird feeders in your yard ~~ and birds will treat you by visiting! All kinds of beauties show up. I recommend you Google your Zip code and State asking for local indigenous birds to your area. Then Google to find out what the birds eat.

Bird feeders and general wild bird food is sold very inexpensively at Costco and most other big stores. All Supermarkets carry wild bird food.

Place the feeders in a safe area, visible to the birds and not where a cat could leap up and get them.

The relationship and eventual love affair with birds is a gentle gradient. You can start on the path by simply feeding some outside wild birds who will visit with you daily. It's a great hobby and a way of giving something back to nature.

The House Cat and Baby Birds

Although many people will say that the slaughter of birds by cats is not significant in quantity, the cumulative amount is devastation ~~ because there are now millions and millions or pet cats.

Isn't it natural for cats to hunt birds?

Yes, it is, but cats are not native to North America, they are an import, and the United States did not have 9 pet million cats 100 years ago.Experts say over 50% of baby birds are slaughtered by roaming cats who are allowed outdoors in the key months of April to August when hatchlings try to get their wings (It is a day or 2 of practice, when they fall to the ground and caught in the mouth of a cat)One cat can kill 500 birds in a short space of time.In nature, predators are supposed to be rare and not abundant ~~ it effects the whole eco system. Please keep your cat indoors in Spring!

Cats have a huge advantage

Because their food is guaranteed by loving pet owners, they are not subject to starvation, forest fires burning nests, lack of food due to change of season and when ill, they are taken to a vet and giving modern medicine to survive better and longer.

Well Fed Cats

Even Well fed cats will kill birds wholesale. They do not need to be hungry to hunt. Cat attacks and babies orphaned by cat attacks are the single largest reason for admission into wild life rescues. Even when External damage is minor, massive internal damage to a fragile bird frequently occurs. Soft tissue of the bird is penetrated by the 60 different bacteria in the cat's saliva. If a bird survives being in the mouth of a cat, it is more or less a MIRACLE!


To all Cat lovers

Please note my love of animals extends to cats. I have a cat called Christmas Cat because he adopted ME on Christmas Day. He sleeps in my California King Size Bed and does not interfere with my Bird rescue activities. (The aviaries are well out of reach anyway) Above is written in context of cats and Baby Birds.

This is my son. His name is Da Vinci. He is an 8 year-old African Grey

This is my son. His name is Da Vinci. He is an 8 year-old African Grey