Adult Birds

Birds are the most common type of animal to come into care with Hunter Wildlife Rescue.

The most common reasons adult birds may need rescuing include:

• Injured/can’t fly (e.g. injured wing, concussion)

• Domestic animal attacks

• Entrapment (e.g. netting)

• Dangerous location (e.g. on the road)


Handling and Transportation:

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty, consider that wild birds can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries and remember that your own safety is of paramount importance.

If you need to handle a wild bird, make sure you use gloves or a towel.

Capture the bird as quickly as possible by throwing a towel or blanket over it.

• Stay calm and keep domestic pets away.

• Once captured, do not handle the bird unnecessarily.

• Keep the bird upright and do not compress the chest.

• Place it in a warm, dark and quiet place while you contact our hotline.

If you are required to transport a bird, you will need a pet carrier or strong cardboard box with secure lid (wire cages are not ideal due to potential for stress and feather damage). The carrier/box should be large enough to hold the bird but small enough to prevent flapping. You will need to line the container with a clean towel or newspaper and provide ventilation (if cardboard).

Ensure that you secure the container – debilitated/unconscious birds can make sudden recoveries!

Protect the bird from excessive noise, vibration, extremes of temperature, wind, rain and direct sunlight whilst transporting.


Species specific considerations:

Waterbirds: Do not put water birds (e.g. ducks), in water. An empty shower cubicle, without water, can be ideal for large, messy, waterbirds.

Parrots: Have very strong beaks and claws. They are best handled from inside a big towel. A firm grip of their head or neck as if you were holding a cup will prevent bites. Two people may be needed to handle the larger parrots.

Small birds: Need to be handled gently to prevent injury to themselves. Hold your hand in a “pistol grip”. The thumb and index finger hold the head, the others support the body.

Pigeons/doves: May drop feathers when handled. A firm hold over the flight and tail feathers or the shoulders may reduce feather loss.

Birds in swimming pools: Can be carefully scooped from the water. If this is impossible, place a board/branch from a tree or towel over the edge and into the water to give them something to grip to allow them to exit the water themselves.

Carefully dry with a towel and place immediately in a box with a bottle with warm water until they are fully dry.

Oiled birds: Oiled birds should be placed in a well-ventilated box, to avoid fume toxicity. Avoid contact with these birds as some chemicals can cause eye irritation and respiratory issues in humans. If you find a bird with oil on it, do not attempt to wash the oil from the bird. Instead, call our rescue hotline immediately.