What To Do With An Injured Bird?

By Ameera Mills. Updated: November 12, 2018
What To Do With An Injured Bird?

When spring comes to an end and summer begins, high temperatures force chicks to jump out of their nests, despite being ready to fly. Other than this, there are other reasons why birds jump out of their nests, such as predator attacks. If you find an injured or baby bird while walking down the street, naturally you may wonder what to do and how to take care of it.

For this reason, even if just to be prepared, here at AnimalWised we will be discussing how to take care of an injured bird. In addition, we will be discussing what to do with an injured bird or baby bird. So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about bird injury!

Bird facts - How do birds grow and develop?

The time from egg hatching to maturity varies between different bird species. Smaller species usually mature faster and grow up in just a few weeks. On the other hand, raptors or larger species remain in their nests with their parents for several months.

The process of sexual maturity in birds, however, usually takes longer. In smaller birds it can take between one and two years, while in larger species they may not become sexually mature for several years. The process of sexual maturation is the same in all cases.

When the offspring hatch from their eggs, they may be altricial or precocial:

  • Altricial: no feathers, eyes closed and are totally dependent on their parents. Include singing birds, hummingbirds, crows, etc.
  • Precocial: born with short feathers, eyes open and are able to walk almost immediately. Ducks, geese, quails, etc. are precocial birds.

During a bird’s first days after hatching, all chicks need care from their parents, including precocial birds. Parents provide the chicks with warmth, protection, food and defend them from predators.

At first, the chicks eat several times per hour. Altricial chicks are quiet clumsy, weak and cannot move much (only to open their beaks for food). As they grow and strengthen, they develop their first feathers. Precocial chicks are more independent from the start and can walk or swim immediately. However, they are easily tired out and stay close to their parents.

As altricial birds grow, they develop feathers, they open their eyes, they grow bigger, they gain weight and they can move more. In the end, they are covered with feathers, but there may be areas, such as their head and face, which are not covered. At the same time, precocial birds grow larger and stronger and develop more mature feathers.

Once the chicks have grown to adult size, several things can happen depending on the type of bird. In some species, the young chicks stay with its parents until the next breeding season. In other cases, families can stay together for life. In other species, parents abandon their young at a time when they become self-sufficient.

What To Do With An Injured Bird? - Bird facts - How do birds grow and develop?

Bird facts - How do birds eat?

When we find an abandoned bird the first thing you might think of doing is feeding it. Feeding a bird stereotypical bread, cookies, water and milk :can be detrimental to the animal’s health. The reason for this is that both bread and biscuits, that we normally consume as humans, are ultra-processed foods, rich in sugar and refined oils: deadly to birds.

Placing water with bird food keeps the animal hydrated, but using milk is against a bird’s nature. Birds are not mammals and therefore do not drink milk. Birds do not have the enzymes necessary to break down milk in their digestive systems. Therefore if a bird is fed milk, it can cause severe diarrhea which can kill the animal.

Each species of bird requires a specific feed: some are granivorous birds (feed on grains) like goldfinches or verderones and have a short beak. Others are insectivorous birds, like swallows and swifts, and they open their mouths during flight to catch their prey. Herons, have long beaks that allow them to catch fish. Birds with a curved and sharp beak are carnivorous and birds such as flamingos have a curved beak that allows them to filter water to ingest food. These are just some of the many types of beaks that relate to a particular type of feeding.

Depending on the beak of the bird, we will be able to determine the food which it eats. You can find different foods on the market, formulated specifically for birds according to their specific feeding characteristics. If you are unsure of what to feed your injured or baby bird, consult a veterinarian.

What to do with an injured bird - Bird rescue

The most natural thought if we find an injured or abandoned bird is to take it home. But sometimes, removing the bird from where we find it can mean the death of the animal.

The first thing to do to when it comes to bird rescue is to make sure that the bird is not injured. If this is the case, contact a wildlife recovery center immediately or visit a bird rescue center near you.

The appearance of the bird will tell you its age, and by knowing this, what to do. If the bird has no feathers and its eyes are closed, it is a newborn. Look for the nest where it likely fell from and move it back. If you cannot find its nest, build it a small shelter near to where it was found: for its parents to follow its cries. If after a while its parents haven’t appeared, contact a local vet or wildlife recovery center.

If the bird’s eyes are open and it sports some feathers, follow the same steps as the with a newborn bird. If, however, the bird has all of its feathers and tries to walk or fly, do nothing. Many species of birds, once they leave the nest before flying, practice on the ground. They take refuge in shrubs and their parents teach them to look for food. This is the reason you should never remove them.

If the animal is in a potentially dangerous environment, try to place it somewhere safer, away from traffic but keeping it close to where you found it.

If the bird that you find is injured, take it to a bird rescue center near you, where they will offer adequate veterinary assistance.

What To Do With An Injured Bird? - What to do with an injured bird - Bird rescue

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What To Do With An Injured Bird?, we recommend you visit our First aid category.

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