9 Steps To Rescue a Bird: Infographic

Full Infographic at the end of the article


9 Steps To Rescue a Bird

Real estate articles and home articles brought to you by Hingham Realtor Alice Pierce

How to Rescue an Injured or Orphaned Bird

This time of the year many animals and birds have already produced their young so it is not at all unusual to come across what appears to be orphaned babies.  Today’s article switches things up a little to inform you about finding baby birds around your home.

Oftentimes children are the ones who find baby birds. Kids ultimately spend more time at ground level while enjoying the early summer weather here on the South Shore of Boston.

Previous generations, and maybe you remember this, were taught that if a human touched a baby animal or chick, that the mother of the same animal would then shun it. This was a myth, and probably a simple way to ensure that both human and animal remained safe.

Birds have poorly developed olfactory tracks and do not use smell as a leading way to make their way through life. Their primary senses are sight and sound. Mammals, on the other hand, do rely on smell, but the drive to nurture their young is a far more powerful motivator to their behaviors than the scent of a human being.

No matter the species, baby animals have a better chance of survival when being cared for by their mother. But sometimes the adults have abandoned their young, or met their demise. If this is the case, then a simple rescue could save a bird’s life.


When a bird is discovered there are some basic steps that will inform your actions.

1) First thing is to find out if the bird is hurt, or sick. If the bird has wings that are drooping unevenly, or if the bird is unable to flutter its wings then the bird is injured, or unable to fly. If there is bleeding or shivering the bird could be sick.

2) If the bird has no feathers to speak of, then you have found a “nestling,” which means a baby bird that has recently hatched, is unable to fly, and still dependent on the parents.

3) If the bird is feathered then it is either an adult bird that is injured or sick, or a “fledgling” bird. A fledgling is a bird that is learning to fly and sometimes these birds end up on the ground.

4) For nestlings, look to see if the nest can be found and gently scoop up the bird and place it in the nest.

5) If you cannot locate the nest, create a substitute using a cottage cheese tub or berry container. Poke holes in the bottom and line with a soft cloth, dry grass, an old nest, or pine needles. Then hang it from a nearby tree or nestle securely into the crook of a tree.

6) If this is a fledgling bird, and there is no threat of harm from cats or dogs, simply leave the bird where it is.

7) If there are cats or dogs in the area, place the fledgling in some nearby bushes or, on a tree limb.

8) You will need to observe the area from a distance to make sure the parents are attending to their chick regardless of the particulars and after your rescue efforts.

9) If the adult birds are not around for one hour, then consider this an orphaned bird and bring to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Only adults should rescue baby birds, although children can certainly learn from the experience by observing.

Before the rescue, prepare a container by putting a clean, soft cloth with no strings, tangles or loops on the bottom of a cardboard box. Make some air holes in the top of the box. If it is a very small bird, you can also place it in a paper lunch bag with holes in the top.

Use gloves to protect your hands from minor injuries. Birds will attempt to peck at you or grab you with their talons out of fear. Additionally, birds often carry parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) that carry diseases, or small insects that can be annoying.

Approach the bird and slowly cover it with a light towel and gently pick the bird up, ideally by its back, and place the bird in the container you prepared. Take note of where you found the bird so it can be released within its territory when recovered.

If it happens to be cold, damp, or rainy, you will need to keep the bird warm while transporting. One of the first things that the New England Wildlife Center does when they intake a new bird is to place it in a warmed environment. You can also fill a rubber glove, or screw top container, with warm water and wrap that in a cloth to put next to the bird. Just make sure that the container doesn’t leak, and that it can’t roll over onto the injured, sick or orphaned bird. Put some tape on the top of the box, or fold the top of the paper bag to keep the bird secure in case it suddenly recovers.

You should not try to feed the bird water or food as the animal could easily choke to death, or aspirate. Keep the container with the bird in it, in a dark, quiet environment until you can transport it. Children will want to see or handle the bird, so it is important to explain that quiet is how animals recover.

Be sure to wash your hands after contact with the bird, and anything the bird was in contact with like towels, your jacket, a blanket, pet carrier, etc. This prevents the spread of diseases and parasites to you or your pets.

You don’t want to keep the bird longer than is necessary, so once you have a wildlife veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator to bring the bird to, bring the container out to your car when you are ready to go. In Massachusetts, it is against the law to keep wild animals if you don’t have permits.

top-hingham-real-estate-agents   Coldwell Banker Hingham



Enjoy all the positives of the coastal towns located on the South Shore of Boston. Feel free to contact Coldwell Banker Realtor Alice Pierce through her website, email or telephone 781-724-7622 about articles, community information for Hingham, MA, Cohasset, MA, Hull, MA, Norwell, MA and any other South Shore towns.



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