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Rescuing Birds - Adults, Fledglings & Nestlings

Rescuing Adult Birds


If you have found a bird that has been hit by a car, has one wing drooping, has cuts and is bleeding, or you know it has been attached by a dog or cat, it needs to go to a vet or a wildlife carer.


Work quickly and handle the bird as little as possible, as it can die from shock from injuries sustained and also the circumstances of it's capture.


Adult birds who allow themselves to be captured are usually suffering some kind of ailment, whether it be shock, stunned, have broken bones, are bleeding, exhausted, semi-starved, dehydrated, or suffering from disease.

  • Cover the bird with a towel ensuring that its head is covered.
  • Place a cloth in the bottom of a box.
  • Place the bird in the box and ensure that the box is just large enough to confine the bird as this will prevent it from flapping its wings which can cause further injuries.
  • Ensure that there are enough air holes or small openings in the box to enable the bird to breathe.
  • Securely cover the box and place in a quiet, semi-dark position until you can take it to a vet or a wildlife carer.
  • Don't try and give the bird anything to eat or drink unless under instruction from the vet or the wildlife carer.
  • Please click on thumbnail to see larger image...


    Rosella Kookaburra caught in barbed wire fence Kookaburra after rescue from barbed wire fence Artificial Nest Rescuing Owl


    Rescuing Rosella Bird in Bucket



    Rescuing Fledglings

  • If the baby bird is feathered, then it may just be a fledgling either trying to fly or has fallen from it's nest.
  • It is normal behaviour for a fledgling to be hopping on the ground and have it's parents close by and feeding it.
  • Keep the fledgling safe from cats, dogs and children and watch for the parents or hear their calls.
  • If there is no sign of the parents after 3-4 hours, call a wildlife carer.
  • If the parents are around, and you think the fledgling will stay in a nest, make an artificial nest (see below) and put it in a safe part of a tree where the parents can find it.
  • Watch from a distance to see if the parents accept the artificial nest and continue to feed the fledgling.
  • Alternatively, if the fledgling will continue to fall out of the nest, leave it on the ground where the parents can see it, but keep it safe from pets and children.
  • Stay away as the parents will consider you a threat.

    Rescuing Nestlings

  • If the baby bird is not feathered, and you can find and reach the nest, put the baby bird back in the nest and watch from a distance to see if the parents accept the baby again and continue to feed it.
  • If you can't find or reach the nest, and the parents are still around, construct an artificial nest (see information below and click on image at right - "Have you found a Baby Bird?").
  • Watch from a distance to see if the parents accept the baby again and continue to feed it.
  • If the parents have not accepted the baby within 2 hours, call a wildlife carer.
  • If the baby bird is not feathered, and the parents are not around, call a wildlife carer immediately.
  • Prepare a container just big enough for the bird, ensure there are air holes in the lid and something soft in the bottom.
  • Place the baby bird in the box and tape the lid shut making sure you don't cover the air holes.
  • Place the box in a warm, dark. dry area, away from pets and children, and call a wildlife carer.
  • Do not attempt to give a baby bird water or food.

    Constructing an Artificial Nest

  • You can either make a free form artificial nest or use a container of some sort as a base.
  • Examples of bases are small baskets, margarine container, small bucket or something similar suitable for the size of the bird you are going to place in it.
  • Ensure there are drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Line the container or construct the nest with natural fibres that will keep the bird warm (straw, moss, coir, etc).
  • Fix the artificial nest in the limb or hollow of the tree, where the parents will find it.
  • Ensure the nest is not fixed to the western side of the tree.





    Have you found a Baby Bird?  Click on the image below for information on how to make an artificial nest...




    Click on the image below to find out what you can do if you Find a Young Bird...




    Click on the image below to find out more about Managing Baby Birds...