Injured, Sick, or Orphaned Wildlife
We are NOT a wildlife rescue or rehabilitation center. Caring for and rehabilitating these animals require both federal and state permits. Please do not try to care for these animals yourself. Injured wildlife needs constant care from experienced people. If you have found injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife, please take a moment to read these suggestions and make note of the contacts below.
Birds are one of the most common animals reported as injured, sick, and orphaned. Their ability to fly and successful adaptation to suburban and urban life means that they are most often found in or near busy areas. The following instructions are based off The Wildlife Center of Texas' website. Please take some time to read them and get in touch with the people who can help you.
Fractures, breaks, and concussions are all injuries found commonly in birds. Often a result of collision with vehicles, buildings, and other objects, wing injuries and other fractures will quickly render a bird unable to care for itself. If you find a bird that is obviously injured, the best thing you can do is keep the animal in a warm dark area until they can get it to a vet or a licensed rehabilitator. Hypothermia is a constant danger for almost all wildlife especially if the animal is injured or in shock. Place the animal in a box with soft rags and use a heating pad set on low or a rice sock (dry uncooked rice placed in a sock and heated for 30 – 45 seconds in a microwave) to keep it warm. DO NOT give the animal food or liquids.
Nestling birds have few feathers and still need a parent’s body temperature to keep warm. Often the baby can be put back into the nest or into a hanging basket or bucket to protect them from dogs and cats and the parent will continue to bring food to the baby.
Don’t forget to put holes in the bottom of the container to prevent drowning should it rain. It is NOT true that the parent will abandon the baby if touched by humans – birds will not reject the nestling or fledgling even if they see it being handled by a rescuer. Be sure to monitor the baby, if the mom doesn’t return or the baby appears to become weak, get help quickly.
Fledgling birds have short stubby wing and tail feathers and are beginning to look like the parents. They spend hours or days on the ground while learning to fly and are supplemented with food from their parents. If the baby has wing feathers and a stubby tail, it’s supposed to be on the ground learning to fly. Place it in a tall bush or small tree and keep pets away from the area.
Look for injuries such as a broken wing or leg. Also look for the presence of ants, fly eggs or maggots. Fly eggs look like clumps of small yellow rice grains. The whole body should be checked for fly eggs since they will be laid on any broken skin or body opening.
Birds that live in colonies
Purple Martins and other birds that live in houses can be infested with mites, especially if the house hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned the previous winter. If babies repeatedly jump out of the house before they are physically ready, the problem could be mites. Be very careful with your selection of insecticide, 1% rotenone powder or pyrethrin spray are known to be safe for wild birds. 5% Sevin dust is also safe when used in the small amounts as specified on the label.
Who to Contact
These animals are protected by the Federal and State Government. It is illegal to keep them without the proper permits, facilities, and knowledge to care for them. These animals are not pets and should not be treated as such, they have specific diets, needs, and mentalities that require trained and experienced people to safely rehabilitate and release. If you have found one of these animals, please take a moment to contact one of the links below and help get the animal the help it needs.
The Wildlife Center of Texas
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas A&M Vet School
Your Local Wildlife Rehabilitation Center