Safety first when working with birds
ALWAYS PUT YOUR SAFETY FIRST
IF YOU DO NOT FEEL SAFE UNDERTAKING A RESCUE – DON’T DO IT. CALL FOR HELP FROM MORE EXPERIENCED CARERS.
Remember always wear protective gloves if handling birds that can bite or scratch.
Stop and think
When ever you are in the situation where a bird needs to be rescued, pause for a moment to consider if you will become the second victim. When rescuing, be ready for anything to happen. Right from the beginning, it is important to carry at least one first aid kit with you.
Some folk carry a separate kit for working with birds and animals which includes a range of handy items including a pair of spectacles. There are many ways where you can be injured.
1. Many of the birds which we rescue have very dangerous beaks. When handling all water birds such as herons, cormorants, purple swamphens etc. be really careful and protect your eyes (safety glasses) as well as your hands (gloves).
Birds such as galahs and cockatoos can bite through good gloves so it is wise to use a towel over their head so that they can’t see what what is going on and be able to bite you.
2. In some circumstances you can place your life in danger while trying to make a rescue. Busy roads, high or awkward locations and even the possibility of getting electrocuted must be carefully considered.
3. When dealing with birds of prey, many people are concerned about the pointed hook of the beak and tend not to be aware of the tremendous talons which are sharp and powerful.
4. There is always the possibility of the bird breaking free in a vehicle or inside a building which could result in further accidents occuring. The bird should be contained, securely wrapped in a cloth or placed in an escape proof box until it can receive the appropriate attention.
5. Noisy miners, Wattlebirds and magpies each have very fine and sharp claws which can easily puncture your skin. It is most desirable that you catch these species with gloves.
6. Never attempt to do a rescue anywhere near power lines. Generally qualified electrical linesmen of the local power company will attend and perform the rescue.
7. Do not go climbing high up into trees to rescue a bird. Call in your local State Emergency Service or CFS. Providing they are not on other emergency call outs they will attend and scale the tree safely to rescue the bird.
8. You are advised not to climb on roofs to perform any rescues for you may not have any insurance cover should you fall and injure yourself.
9. Do not dismantle walls, fireplaces, air vents to rescue birds stuck in walls. It is the house owner’s responsibility to call out a tradesman to do that sort of thing. You only need to be there to take the bird once it is removed from the wall.