Bird Emergencies – What to do?

Miscellaneous - Bird emergenciesGuideline on first treatment of bird emergencies (injured or ill wild birds):
1. Keep calm.
2. Put the bird into a cushioned (kitchen roll or toilet paper) escape-proof box and put it in a quiet place.
Birds with reduced body temperature have to be warmed up in your hands before you put them in a box.
Don’t yet feed the bird or apply water!
3. Without Facebook-account:
Qualified instructions can be found on the British website Wildlifeaid (choose “What to do in an emergency – and the right bird group e.g. garden birds, water birds, owls”).
4. With Facebook-account:
4.a Take at least one photo of the bird (e.g. with your smartphone).
Sideway photos from the bird safely sitting on your palm makes it easier to determine the species.
4.b Ask for access to the closed Facebook-group „Wildvogelhilfe“ (“Wild Bird Aid”) – the admins react quickly and in an uncomplicated way.
4.c Open a new thread and post photo(s), circumstances of finding the bird and your postal code.
You will get quick and qualified help in terms of precise instructions on how to accommodate, feed and a the bird. You will also get contact informations of experienced helpers or bird-competent veterinarians as close as possible to your whereabouts.
The Facebook-group also offers lots of documents on bird emergencies (first treatment, hygiene, release etc.).

After the first treatment of the injured or ill bird you should look for a wild bird shelter or a veterinarian that is competent in wild bird medicine (many veterinarians have little to none knowledge and practical experience in treating (wild) birds – unfortunately veterinary schools tend to neclect this zoological group).

1. Never feed anything or force water or other liquids into a wild bird you just found. First of all inform yourself (see above) – most (approx. 95%) of what we have in mind about feeding wild birds is wrong! With well-meant but wrong food or incorrect water application you can do a lot more harm than good to the bird.
2. A Common Swift on the ground is always an emergency. Please never throw it in the air just to check if it’s able to fly – also don’t do this with any other bird. Qualified help for Common Swifts can be found here.
3. All these informations are meant to enable laypersons to help injured or ill wild birds with first treatment. After 1 to 2 days at the latest the birds must be handed over to experts (e.g. a wild bird shelter). A species-appropriate and competent care of wild birds and their successful release back into the wild requires a lot of specialised knowledge, experience, time and money and mostly can’t be achieved by laypersons.

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