Handling wild animals can be stressful to them, and can be dangerous for you. Please exercise caution when approaching an injured wild animal.
Please call the RSPCA before contacting us, regarding injured wildlife (0300 1234 999). They may have an inspector in the area that can help. The inspectors are trained in handling wildlife safely (both for the animal and the handler).
If the RSPCA asks you to take the animal to a vet (only agree if you feel it is safe for you to do so) then please ask for an Incident Number. We need to have this incident number to allow the RSPCA to track treatment. Please always ring us where possible to let us know that you are on your way.
Handling a bird can be highly stress-inducing, and can sometimes prove fatal for the bird. You should always try to determine if the bird is a nestling, a fledgling or an adult, and if it is injured or not. Fledglings will normally leave the nest before they can fly – this is normal behaviour, and they should be left well alone as their parents will normally be nearby. If the fledgling is on or near a road, or in visible danger, then it is wise to move it to somewhere safer, but within the area it was found.
Unsure whether the bird is a fledgling or a nestling? Check the feathers:
If the baby bird is in your garden and you have cats, you should keep your cats indoors for a few days to allow the baby bird time to fly.
Leave a fledgling alone and watch from a distance; it’s likely that the parents will take care of the bird. Never try to return a bird to the nest; this may disturb the other young birds and may be illegal.
Small birds can be picked up with one hand, with the head between your first two fingers. Your other fingers will gently but firmly hold the wings closed. Medium sized birds will need two hands cupping over the wings to keep them closed. Flapping and struggling may actually lead to more severe injuries than the original ones. Larger birds can be more difficult and pose significant risks to the handlers.
Place any bird in a darkened, ventilated cardboard box with some water. This is often the most important first aid as darkness will decrease stress.
Please phone the RSPCA before contacting us regarding an injured bird. Please call the RSPCA (0300 1234 999), they may have an inspector in the area that can help.
If the RSPCA asks you to take the bird to a vet, then please ask for an Incident Number. We need to have this incident number to allow the RSPCA to track treatment.
The RSPB is a conservation charity and is unable to help.
Please don’t try to care for young birds yourself – they need specialist care to survive.