Birds

It is ILLEGAL to keep a native wild bird or destroy a nest that contains eggs or nestlings. To possess a bird for a period longer than the duration of transportation requires both a State and Federal Permit (Migratory Bird Treaty Act). It is also extremely difficult to successfully raise a wild bird with out the proper training and experience.  

Also, NEVER feed any bird, especially a baby, despite what you have read on other websites! It is very easy to aspirate (food/ liquid enters lungs instead of stomach) wild birds, even if you have had practice with domestic species, and can cause severe pneumonia! North American wild birds also require a special diet which differs significantly from your pet bird at home and cannot be purchased at the pet store (this includes Exact baby bird formula). The wrong diet can cause diarrhea, dehyrdation and can ultimately lead to metabolic bone disease if fed for too long which often goes un-noticed until early adult-hood. In addition, wild birds must be raised with others of their own species or will attack those that are once they are released.

* For additional pictures, descriptions and larger shots of all our pictures please click the link and visit our Baby Bird ID Album. (currently being updated)

Click on the type of bird you have found to jump to that section of text:


PWC is an advocate of Cats Indoors. Please visit their website to make your cat a healthier, safer indoor pet.


Songbirds

 

Baby Birds:

  • First determine whether or not the baby is a nestling or a fledgling and then read below for information.
    • nestlingnestlingNestlings are mostly pink, they may have down, quills or feathers but are unable to stand on their own yet.
    • fledgiesfledgiescardinalrobinho fiFledgling birds may look like an adult but with a short tail (1-2 inches or less). These birds are able to stand, hop and perch. At this stage the birds are often too large and active to stay in the nest and are found hopping around on the ground. This is perfectly NORMAL; they are essentially teenagers and have yet to grow their flight feathers and develop muscles for flight. Both parents are still in the area and will continue coming to the young bird to feed it frequently as well as teach it where to find and catch food, how to avoid predators (dogs, cats, humans, cars, other birds, etc.,) and appropriate foraging behavior for that species. You can expect to see the fledgling hopping around and attempting to fly for 5-7 days. The most help you can give it at this stage is to keep your pets and children away from the young bird so the parents are not prevented from feeding and providing care. Please keep in mind that wild birds belong outside, it is unfair to bring a healthy wild animal inside among people (which are scary large predators to them) to allow domestic animals to play outside. What may be a temporary inconvenience to you or your pet is saving a wild animal from being taken away from its parents and raised in captivity. If you suspect that the fledgling is injured or came in contact with a pet please read below.
  • I found a young Chimney Swift.
    • If you have found a black bird in your fireplace, it is likely a Chimney Swift. Please place the bird in a cardboard box with a t-shirt or non-frayed towel hanging and secured on the side and place the bird on the cloth (see picture). Cover the box, making sure it is well ventilated and place it in a dark, quiet area. There is a very good chance the babies can be re-nested inside your chimney (NOT outside) so please follow this link for instructions. Do not feed or offer water!
  • I found a nestling.
    • DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED any bird (for Hummingbirds please scroll below)! Baby birds are easily aspirated (food or liquid enters lungs instead of the stomach) and also need special diets that differ significantly from what you may feed your pet birds.
      • If the neslting feels cold, you can warm the baby up by placing him in a well ventilated, towel lined box on top of a heating pad set on LOW.
    • If the nestling is on the ground, it is quite possible it has received some type of injury. Please call the hospital so that you may speak to experienced personell who may direct you to either re-nest the nestling or to bring it to the hospital.
    • The nestling is positively injured; re-nesting failed; I have already fed the baby; came in contact with pet.
      • Please keep the nestling in a box, not a wire cage, as directed previously; you may make a make-shift nest out of crumpled tissue or a rolled small towel inside the box. Call the hospital for further instructions. Keep the baby warm and quiet and still do NOT feed or offer it any water even if you keep it over night.
  • I found a nest with nestlings/ eggs inside.
    • I found a nest destroyed on the ground.
      • If there is a damaged nest on the ground with nestlings still inside please call the hospital for further instructions. If it is after open business hours you may place the nestlings in a shoe box with a make-shift nest made out of crumpled tissue or a rolled small towel inside the box. Keep the baby warm and quiet and still do NOT feed or offer it any water. Please leave a message for the hospital and we will call you back after 9:00am the following morning. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done for un-hatched eggs as they need constant incubation from the parents. Usually by the time eggs are discovered they have become too cold and have perished.
    • There is an abandoned nest in my yard.
      • If you believe a nest with nestlings still inside has been abandoned, please watch it closely for 1 hour without break from a distance (inside would be preferable). Parents are less likely to return to a nest in which a predator is near (i.e.: people and pets). Once the eggs hatch, both parents must perform the important task of feeding. Young nestlings must be fed several times an hour which requires constant foraging from the parents. However, parents may only be at the nest for a minute or less before they go search for more food so it is imperative a constant eye is kept. As nestlings grow more feathers, they are able to keep warm on their own and do not need to eat as frequently. Both parents may then only be observed visiting the nest once or twice an hour, again for brief periods of time. If you have watched the nest for a full hour without pause and have not seen either parent visit the nest within that time then please call the hospital for further instructions.
      • If you think a nest with eggs has been abandoned, please do not remove the eggs. Eggs are VERY hard to hatch without the parent birds. Unfortunately there is very little we can do to save these eggs as by the time they are discovered and brought to the hospital they are no longer alive. The best thing is to leave the eggs in the nest and observe the nest for the parents return. The parents or new birds will be able to recognize and remove any dead eggs themselves if they want to use the nest.
    • There is a nest in the wreath on my front door.
      • If possible, please avoid using that specific entrance until the babies have fledged (approximately two weeks after hatching). Otherwise, move the entire wreath, nest and all, onto the side of the house adjacent to the door making sure the door does not hit the nest when opened. Secure both the top and the bottom portions of the wreath. If it is a busy entrance way, you may move the nest one to two feet away from the door. Please keep in mind that the doorway was quiet enough for the parents to take the time to build the nest and therefore they should still take care of their young. The purpose for moving the wreath is to prevent the nestlings from being knocked out of the nest and/or to prevent any other injuries.
  • I found a fledgling that appears to be injured; my dog/cat came in contact with the bird.
    • Domestic pets rarely intend to cause harm to another animal and are simply following instinct. However, anytime a domestic animal comes in contact with a bird it needs to come to the hospital. Cats carry natural bacteria in their mouth that causes severe illness in native birds and need immediate antibiotic treatment to prevent death. Cat punctures can be invisible under the feathers and close quickly, trapping harmful bacteria, so you may not see blood even though the cat has touched the bird. Dogs have strong jaws and large teeth that are no match for frail bird bones. Again, the bird may appear fine, but usually has sustained internal injuries that require medical help. Put the bird in a box, not a wire cage, lined with an un-frayed towel or cloth and call the hospital for further instructions. Keep the bird over partial LOW heat (1/2 of container on and ½ off of heating pad) and abstain from further contact with it. Do NOT offer the bird any food or water, even if kept overnight (for Hummingbirds please scroll below).

Adult Birds

  • Bird Flew into my window.
    • Often birds are just stunned. Pick bird up and place in a shoebox with a non-frayed towel. Make sure lid is secure on box and place in a safe indoor area. Leave the bird alone for 30-45 minutes to give him time to recuperate. Leave the lid on the box and walk outside and place the box on the ground facing away from windows or glass doors. Gently remove the lid to allow bird to fly out. As not to scare or stress the bird further, you may need to step back or go inside for a few minutes and watch through a window. As you monitor the bird look for these signs: remains in box, struggles to fly, if you see blood, or bird is acting strangely (spinning in circles or on back). If any of these are observed then replace the lid. Take the bird back to a safe, quiet location. Please call the hospital immediately. (For hummingbirds who do not recover or found close to dark please read below.)
  • My dog/cat found a bird, but it appears to be fine.
    • Domestic pets rarely intend to cause harm to another animal and are simply following instinct. However, anytime a domestic animal comes in contact with a bird it needs to come to the hospital. Cats carry natural bacteria in their mouth that causes severe illness in native birds and need immediate antibiotic treatment to prevent death. Cat punctures can be invisible under the feathers and close quickly, trapping harmful bacteria, so you may not see blood even though the cat has touched the bird. Dogs have strong jaws and large teeth that are no match for frail bird bones. Again, the bird may appear fine, but usually has sustained internal injuries that require medical help.
  • I found a sick of injured hummingbird.
    • Because of the extrememly high metabolic rate of hummingbirds they will constantly eat throughout daylight hours and then must go into a semi-hibernatory state (torpor) to make it through each night. Therefore if you have one that is sick or injured and cannot be immediately transported to a rehabilitator food must be provided. If it has just flown into the window follow the above protocol first to allow it time to fly away- UNLESS it is close to being dark outside at which point it must be kept overnight and not given the chance to fly away until morning. Feeding after dark may also be needed if the bird is lethargic, time since last food intake is unknown or if it has been longer than one half hour since it last ate. On a short-term basis only– offer 1 part sugar to 4 parts water (sugar will dissolve better in warm, not hot water). Anything higher than a 1:4 ratio could cause dehydration and kill the bird. Using the solution long-term will also slowly kill the bird as it lacks protiens, vitamins, minerals and nutrional balance.
      • If bird is alert: place it in a medium sized box covered with a thin material that allows light in if possible. Place the sugar water solution in a standard hummingbird feeder (can be purchased cheaply most places as they will not drink from a bowl) and place the feeder in the box to allow the bird to self-feed. If it does not initially eat voluntarily than you may gently place the bird on the feeder (don’t grab bird until wings are still by its side) and then very gently take a finger and lower the head so the beak goes into one of the ports and comes in contact with the sugar water. This may need to be done several times every 10-15 minutes until bird “catches on” and starts to self-feed. Keep the lights on for 2 hours after dark so bird can get sufficient food to make it through the night. Once lights are turned off the bird should NOT be disturbed until morning.
      • If bird is lethargic or debilitated: carefully pick up bird (wait until wings are still at its side) and elevate the beak gently with one finger. Place a tissue under the bird’s beak on the upper breast area to prevent feathers from being soiled with food. Using the sugar water solution, dip the tip of your finger into the solution and place your finger along the side of the beak near the tip. The drop will roll down the beak and will flow into the bird’s mouth and allow it a chance to swallow naturally. NEVER attempt to open a hummingbird’s beak- it is extremely easy to break! Once it is alert place it in a box with a feeder and follow the steps in the above paragraph.
  • I found a sick or injured songbird.
    • Please call the hospital for further instructions after capturing the bird and placing it in a box, not a wire cage, as previously directed.




Waterfowl & Wading Birds
* Not sure if the baby you have found is a duck or goose? CLICK HERE
    • Ducks, geese and other waterfowl and wading birds such as Killdeer are precocial. This means, at the time from hatching, they can walk and eat on thier own just like thier parents. Please never force anything into a duckling or goslings mouth!!
    • As long as the gosling has not come in contact with a pet or shows signs of an obvious injury, first try and locate the family (should be other siblings the same size and coloration) as the baby may have accidentally been seperated from its parents. They will still accept the baby back even if you have touched it as birds have a poor sense of smell. If no parents are found anywhere, or it is injured, place the baby in a box lined with a non-frayed cloth or towel, placed half way over a heating pad set on LOW. Young downy waterfowl have yet to develop enough waterproofing to sit in water very long- NEVER place a duckling or gosling in a bathtub with water as they can get waterlogged and drown. If the baby is able to stand and walk around without stumbling or falling over you may place a SHALLOW dish of water only in the box with it during the daytime, remove at night. If the duckling or gosling is persistantly calling you may put a small mirror in the box with it as to provide it with “company”. Call the hospital for further instructions. Please minimize contact with the animal as these birds acclimate very quickly to people and may become non-releasable.
    •  

    • Killdeer are precocial which means they are able to walk and eat just like thier parents only hours after hatching. Killdeer are often found in fields and other areas as their parents try to nest in places lined with gravel. Young Killdeer are often left alone, hiding in tall grass while thier parents go off to forage. If you have found a young Killdeer that is alone, but appear un-injured, please leave it alone as it is simply waiting for its parents to return. If, after a few hours the baby is still there and wandering around and calling out you may contact the hospital at that time. Please also note that adult Killdeer often pretend to have injuries as to distract you from its young. If you see an adult Killdeer showing you an “injured wing act” please leave the area as it is likely fine and has a baby nearby.
    •  

    • Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done for un-hatched eggs, especially if it was found by itself or away from the nest. The majority of the time, the parents were the ones to kick the egg out of the nest often because they have sensed something is wrong with it. Also, eggs need constant incubation from the parents. Usually by the time eggs are discovered they have become too cold and have perished. Artificially incubating eggs is also VERY difficult as they need the right temperature and humidity. If you have found an egg, the best chance you can give it is to put it back in the closest nest.
    •  

    • First of all, NEVER seperate babies from thier parents! Most parents, in fact, will try to attack anyone who will. Even if the babies are secured, it makes it much more difficult to reunite them with their parents if they are seperated for any duration of time and then the babies will be have to be raised artificially by humans- this is never the first option as we can not fully recreate or replace waterfowl parenting.
    • Before you take any action, please call the hospital and describe the situation. Our experienced staff will recognize conditions in which families will need to be removed or simply left alone. As humans develop more and more land, geese and ducks have luckily learned to adapt as they will return to the same area year after year. This may mean you will find waterfowl families in urban areas simply because that has been their home for generations. Please also keep in mind that Snapping Turtles and other large aquatic turtles are a natural predator species of waterfowl, especially babies, and are found in virtually every pond or lake in the South. Although your heart may be in the right place, it is part of the check and balance system of predator and prey relationships. The entire family should be given a chance to live their life in their own territory.
    •  

  •  

  • I found a gosling, duckling wandering around.
  •  

  • I found a baby Killdeer.killdeer
  •  

  • I found a goose/duck egg.
  •  

  • I found a duck/goose family somewhere not safe!
  •  

  • I found a sick/injured adult duck or goose.
    • To catch any waterfowl often requires more than one person so that you may block off any source to water while attempting to approach the animal. Once the bird is in the water it is nearly impossible to catch. Slowly approach the bird then throw a fine mesh net or towel on top of it, pin the wings to the body and pick it up, supporting the feet. Hold the goose as you would a large football with one arm while careully holding the head with the other hand. Be very careful of the head, geese have long necks that can easily reach up and bite the face! If you are uncomfortable handling these animals please call PWC for further instructions. Place the animal is a box or dog crate, not a wire cage, lined with a non-frayed cloth or towel. Call the hospital for further instructions.
  • I found a sick/injured, heron, egret or other wading bird with a long sharp beak.
    • If you feel comfortable enough to try and catch this animal please make sure you are wearing protective eye-wear as these animals naturally defend themselves by stabbing the eyes of the attacker. You may also want to wear leather gloves as a precaution. If you are uncomfortable handling these animals please call PWC for further instructions. Catching waterfowl often requires more than one person so that there is someone available to block the path to water. Approach the animal slowly from behind and throw a fine mesh net or towel over the animal. First, grab the beak securely in your protected hand (gloved or with a small cloth)and then pin the wings against its body. NEVER let go of the beak until you are about to close the box. Keeping the eyes covered often helps reduce the stress of the animal. While supporting the feet, grab the body like a football with your free arm and then place the animal in a box or dog crate, not a wire cage, lined with a non-frayed cloth or towel. Call the hospital for further instructions. Do NOT peak in at the animal as its long beak can likely pierce through any openings.
  •  

Raptors (Owls, Hawks, Eagles, Falcons and Vultures- ie. birds that eat prey)
*Raptors should be approached with caution as they are carnivorous animals and have sharp, hooked beaks and sharp talons. If it is necessary to handle a raptor please use all precautions such has thick leather gloves, towels and/or find mesh nets. If you are uncomfortable handling these animals please call PWC for further instructions during open business hours.

  • I found a baby raptor on the ground.
    • Raptors are very good parents and even when their young have fallen to the ground, they will still come down and take care of it. If you venture too close parents may even try to defend it and swoop down on you. Only rarely, will a nestling raptor end up on the ground and require intervention, these cases often procede storms. As with song birds, the young raptors will eventually become fledglings. At this stage they are too big and active for the nest and may be spotted hopping around on the ground, perching on low branches and attempting to make short flights for one week while they are growing in their flight feathers and developing their muscles. It is a normal progression of life an unless an obvious injury is noticed, should be left alone. The most help you can give it is to keep your pets and children away from the young bird, especially since there are likely to be protective parents nearby. Please keep in mind that wild birds belong outside, it is unfair to bring a healthy wild animal inside among people (which are scary large predators to them) to allow domestic animals to play outside. What may be a temporary inconvenience to you or your pet is saving a wild animal from being taken away from its parents and raised in captivity. If you suspect that the fledgling is injured or came in contact with a pet please read below.
      • If injury is apparent or it came in contact with a pet, you may try to catch the bird with a fine mesh net or towel. You can throw the net or towel over the bird and then , approaching from behind, pin the wings against its body and carefully place it in a box or dog crate, not a wire cage, lined with a non-frayed towel or cloth. Try to keep the head covered as this well help reduce the bird’s stress and make it easier to handle. You will also want to have an umbrella to protect yourself should the parents try to defend their baby. Keep the bird over partial LOW heat and contact the hospital for further instructions. Do NOT attempt to feed or give it water even if kept overnight. Call the hospital for further instructions during open business hours.
        ( Note- even young raptors still have sharp beaks and talons and precautions should be taken.)
  • I found an injured/sick adult raptor.
    • If you have found a sick or injured raptor you may try to catch the bird with a fine mesh net or towel. You can throw the net or towel over the bird and then , approaching from behind, pin the wings against its body and carefully place it in a box or dog crate, not a wire cage, line with a non-frayed towel or cloth. Try to keep the head covered as this well help reduce the bird’s stress and make it easier to handle. Do NOT attempt to feed or give it water even if kept overnight. Call the hospital for further instructions.
  •  

 


Non-Native and Domestic Animals

 

If you have found any of the species listed below then unfortunately PWC is not legally able to admit it. If you would like to get help for that animal you must find the person responsible for it or take responsibility yourself and contact an exotic vet listed below. Certain species marked with an (*) may be able to go to a home rehabilitator. For these animals, please contact the hospital to see if there is a rehabilitator near you.

Non-Native: (* For additional pictures, descriptions , and larger shots of all our pictures please click the link and visit our Baby Bird ID Album. Click on the common name for adult pictures)

     mo domo doMourning Doves (native) with whitish- brown

Domestics:

Domestic animals are any animal that is kept as a pet or can be found at a pet store i.e.: dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters, iguanas, chickens etc. If you find an injured stray animal, you must take it to a veterinary clinic for domestic or exotic species.

     
PWC is an advocate of Cats Indoors. Please visit their website to make your cat a healthier, safer indoor pet:www.abcbirds.org
You can also download a brochure: “Protect Your Cat…Protect Wildlife” below.
Attachment Size
Cat Brochures.doc (Preview).pdf 130.35 KB
  • Exotic Vets in the Triangle Area:
  • For Stray Cats and Dogs:
  •  

  • European Starlings*Robin vs StarlingAmerican Robin (native) with a whitish beak on the left and a Starling starlingwith a wide yellow beak on the right. Starlings’ lower beak also juts out passed the upper beak. fledgling starling (Fledgling Starling)
  • House Sparrows*House FinchHouse Finch (native) with whitish beak versus House Sparrow House Sparrow with yellow beak.
  • Rock Doves (common pigeon)*- pigeonpigeonPigeon with yellow down feathers versus

  •  


    Advertisements