Injured Birds

What can be done for an injured bird – whether domestic or wild?

Should your pet bird be injured it is vital to get it to a Veterinarian as soon as possible. In the interim it may be necessary to practice first-aid on your bird. The following are suggestions for dealing with various injuries, but remember even if first-aid is administered the bird must be taken to a Veterinarian.

In the case of bleeding, the source of the bleeding must be determined. Styptic powder, corn flour or baking soda can be used to stop the bleeding. A mixture of alum and cold water can also be applied. Place a gauze pad over the wound and apply firm pressure. If the bird has injured its leg or foot use antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage.

For broken wing bones, cut the toe out of a sock and place the injured bird inside with its head through the hole. Ensure the bird can breathe comfortably and there are holes for its feet.

When a bird is injured by a cat the greatest concern is that of infection. Clean the wounds with hydrogen peroxide. The injured bird will require an ampicillin shot.

If the injured bird is in shock (not moving, breathing is shallow and quick, eyes slightly closed) place it in a warm environment with low light.

If you find an injured wild bird it is better not to treat it as this is illegal in some countries. The best thing to do is to contact your nearest rehabilitation centre. If a bird has collided with a window it is likely just stunned. Cover it with a box with holes for a while and then remove, it will more than likely recover and fly off.

Do not handle a wild bird too much as this will add to the trauma of the situation. It is best not to handle an injured bird of prey as they are likely to hurt you, rather promptly contact the authorities trained to handle them correctly. The best way to capture a wild bird is to throw a towel or light blanket over it. Carefully pick it up making sure its wings are lying against its body (remember, this method cannot be used on an injured bird of prey). Other methods of capture, such as grabbing the beak and holding the injured bird under the arm, are not recommended unless you have been trained to do so.

It is advisable to keep the number of your Veterinarian and a local rehabilitation centre on hand in case a situation with an injured bird arises.