facts and care advice
Whenever a wild bird is rescued, you can be sure that it will be having some form of trauma and you will have to consider:
- what sort of bird is it ?
- what does it eat?
- has its food supply run out and it is starving?
- where does it normally live?
- is it injured? keep checking as it may have more than one injury or problem.
- is it sick?
- is it too young or can it just be placed back into the nest or onto a branch?
- is it dying of old age?
- has it just had a hard time following a storm or suffering heat exhaustion ?
- is it diseased?
Some birds become lost in migration and get into trouble when they land in locations where they can’t get going again. (e.g. shearwaters and grebes landing on wet roads because they look like waterways).
The birds can react in many different ways. Some will behave friendly as if it were a pet, some will lie still, while others panic and go crazy. Speak quietly and operate in a steady manner. Do not have loud music or noise that will distress the birds.
Wrapping the bird in a towel or the like will stop it beating its wings and keep the feet under control so it can be further examined.
Safety first….make sure of your own safety, and don’t become a victim too.
Some birds can lash out with beaks and claws. Make sure you’ve had your tetanus shots.
Phone the Fauna Rescue Hotline: 8289 0896 OR take the bird to a local vet. Most vets will not charge for surrendering an injured wild animal.
Treating for stress and shock
Shock is often the number one cause of death in injured wild birds. You need to immediately minimise that bird’s shock and stress.
Shock is essentially the loss of heat and fluids from the body, which is a natural response to injury. Interaction with humans causes additional stress to an injured animal and this can kill an already shocked animal.
So keep in mind that fear, noise, and cold temperatures all contribute to the animal’s stress. It is essential to get the animal to an experienced carer as soon as possible to minimise stress and to reduce the risk of the animal going into shock.
The condition of the bird can be assessed by the appearance of feathers and by the amount of flesh on each side of the chest keel bone.
When the chest area is felt, if the keel bone is quite sharp and there doesn’t appear to be much flesh on the chest, then the bird is probably in a fairly run down state. We can assume that the bird hasn’t eaten for some time and /or it may be unable to eat for some reason, have parasites or worms, an injury, or have some other illness.
Feathers should be inspected for lice and other parasites and general condition. Quite often waterbirds in poor condition are heavily infested with unwanted parasites.
The condition of the feathers also can tell us if it is moulting, a juvenile, or have some other problem.
Weigh the bird with suitable scales and record the results so that you are able to observe just how well your patient is progressing.