Greenmount Wild Bird Hospital

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When to help wild birds

The website has a great deal of useful advice on helping wildlife. Here are their excellent articles on when to help garden  and baby birds and what to do.

"Garden Birds" is a pretty large umbrella - we refer to anything up to pigeon size and the sort of bird you are likely to encounter in your garden or local park. As baby birds are such a complex situation in themselves they have their own section.


When to help: 

  • If the bird has been caught by a cat. The bacteria on the cats teeth can cause fatal septicaemia if the bird does not get antibiotic    treatment within a few hours.

  • If the bird has been hit by a car or attacked by a dog. It should be treated for shock and properly assessed for injuries.

  • If the bird has an obvious injury such as a wound or broken wing.

  • If an adult bird can easily be approached and cannot or does not try to fly away.

  • If a bird has flown into a window. Make sure the bird is safe from cats and other predators and observe. If it does not fly away after a few minutes it will need picking up and keeping warm.

  • A ‘grounded’ swift - they cannot take off from the ground and it will need to be ‘launched’.


What should I do next?


Any small bird needs to be handled with care. Their bones are very delicate and it would be easy to injure them by handling them roughly. Many birds shed feathers when stressed - if they lose their tail feathers they cannot fly and these can take months to regrow. They are also very susceptible to stress and small birds can die from the stress of being    handled by humans. It may help to pick the bird up in a towel - it will ease both the physical and mental stress on the bird. Although a small bird is unlikely to injure you with its beak or talons you'd be surprised quite how hard a bird such as a sparrow can bite! Quickly place the bird into a  secure box and keep it somewhere warm and dark while you seek help.


Thanks to the site for allowing us to use their advice sheets. Please visit their site for more information on helping wildlife and spread the word amongst your friends.