Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust is closing at the end of March 2023. Please contact Whitianga Vets if you find an injured bird.

So you've found a sick or injured bird. What should you do?

Does the bird have a band on its leg?

Contact the Banding Office if you have found a bird with a band on its leg. Band information is important for research in threatened species.

Be quiet and gentle

A sick or injured bird may be in shock, dehydrated, exhausted, and/or suffering from trauma. So it is important to be very quiet and gentle when you are close to it.

While the bird may appear very calm, this is often a survival response and the bird is probably very stressed (some species can die simply from stress alone). A stressed bird will have its mouth open and be panting. It is not happy and doesn't know it is being rescued.

Try to catch the bird without risking your own safety (i.e. avoid sharp beaks and claws, and be mindful of traffic, dangerous terrain, waves, etc). 

For larger birds, especially those with sharp talons, use a soft cloth like a towel or a jacket to throw over the bird. Then once you have managed to pick it up, hold the wings (gently) to the body, to prevent any further injury.

For birds with long beaks, never tape up their beak.

Once you have successfully caught the bird, ideally place it in a cardboard box (with holes in it for air) with a towel. Keep it warm and don't put any water in with it, as it might spill and make the bird cold. 

Finally transport the bird (in its container) to your nearest vet or Wildlife Rehabilitator (see Who to call below).

Do NOT attempt to give a bird food or water

The anatomy of birds is different from that of mammals, and even small drips of water into a bird's mouth can result in its death, as there is a high risk that the water will get into its lungs.


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