WHAT TO DO WHEN FINDING AN INJURED BIRD
Birds become injured through a variety of ways. Quite often they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example walking around on the deck a bird can often become lightly oiled and would then be unable to fly away. As soon as this bird preens itself the oil would be ingested and the bird would become poisoned. If you see a bird sitting in one place for a period of time, observe its behaviour.
Check to see if the bird is
sitting upright and awake.
Is fluffed and/or sleeping.
Limping around, or head hanging or
Catching and Restraining
If the bird is displaying any symptoms of being unwell it is better to catch it and check it over rather than leaving the bird to sit there. There is a very small window of opportunity to turn birds around as they have a high metabolic rate and deteriorate rapidly.
To catch an injured or sick bird is usually fairly easy as they are not inclined to fly away. It is better to have more than one person assisting. Armed with soft gloves approach the bird. Sometimes a towel can be thrown over the bird, however quite often this will alarm even the sickest bird and they will attempt to fly off.
It is better to approach carefully and grab, placing one hand around the head and the other around the feet. By restraining the head will prevent the bird from grabbing you with its beak. Care should be taken with all birds of prey, including owls, as they have powerful talons that lash out and can inflict serious harm.
The person assisting can wrap a towel around the bird. At this point try to go in doors as the bird will try to escape and there will not be another chance to catch it if it gets away outside.
Always wrap a bird and keep it wrapped. This will prevent broken wings becoming more damaged and inflicting more pain on the bird. It stops the bird from going into shock and dying. Makes for easier handling of the bird and aids with keeping the bird calm during transportation.
Keep the bird warm. As birds have a higher body temperature than humans, it is very important to keep the bird warm. Wrapping the bird helps to maintain body heat. If the bird feels cold when you pick it up, then you can heat a towel/rag up in a microwave for 10-15 seconds and then quickly wrap the bird up in it, then wrap another rag or towel around that one to help maintain body heat.
Place the bird in a box preferably at a 45 degree angle or the corner of the box. Place the box in a quite room, preferably out of direct air conditioning.
Depending on the condition of the bird and the time of day will depend on what happens next.
If it is early enough in the day then transport can be arranged to send the bird over to Karratha. If it is later in the day then it is unlikely that there will be transport till the following day then it is important to get some fluids into the bird.
Food & Water
The most important requirement is fluid. If you have an electrolyte solution, then make this up and offer it to the bird. Birds have fixed lungs so never attempt to pour fluid down a bird’s throat as you will drown them. Rather offer the water in a small container and push the bird’s beak down into the water. Try and not go past the holes at the top of the beak as this is the bird’s nose. The natural reaction when their beaks get wet is to drink. Do not leave water in the box with the bird as they may knock it over, wet the cloth they are wrapped in, and become cold and wet.
It is important to identify the bird in order to give it the correct food. However as a general rule, thin strips of raw (red) meat can be offered to any insect eating bird, or bird of prey. Especially as most of the birds you would see out there would be fish/meat eaters. If you are unsure of what type of bird then phone or email a photo for id purposes.
Only small amounts to start with as a debilitated bird cannot handle a large meal and fluids are vital.
Quite often the bird will be too weak, and too frightened to eat on its own. Then it is necessary to open its beak and put a small strip as far back into its beak as possible. Hold their beak closed and gently rub under the beak to get them to swallow.
Transporting the bird
Place the bird in a box that is only slightly bigger than the bird itself. Pack extra cloths or newspaper around the bird to stop it rolling around in the box. Ask for the bird to be placed in the middle of the car out of direct sunlight and airconditioning. Care need to be taken as a bird can bake in a box or become very cold with airconditioning
Queries and Questions
Please call if you have any questions regarding the above on 0438 924 842.