How to Care for Injured Birds
As the recent story about the Welshman who lost an eye to a wounded seagull he was trying to rescue illustrates, if you find an injured bird, it is often best to leave it alone and instead call your nearest wildlife rescue team – this is what the RSPB recommends anyway. However, if you must help an injured bird then you must follow certain rules, particularly with birds of prey such as a kestrel and other birds that could potentially injure you!!
What you think is an injury could be an adolescent bird waiting for a parent. Be certain the bird – let’s say, a kestrel – needs help before interfering, or risk provoking the wrath of its parent.
If you think the kestrel does need helping, line the inside of a cardboard box with a soft towel or clean cloth. The box should be large enough to comfortably fit the bird.
Place a thick towel over the bird and pick him up, being mindful of his beak and claws. A scared bird of prey can do quite a bit of damage to your hands and arms. Thick leather gloves can help protect your hands.
Put the kestrel into the box and close the lid. The goal is to create a safe, quiet and dark space for the bird to regain his senses.
Leave the box in a quiet area for a couple of hours. Most injured birds are dealing with concussions caused by hitting stationery objects and this rest time allows the swelling in the brain to recede.
Take the box out to an area away from buildings or other potential safety hazards and release the bird. If the kestrel can fly away under his own power, you can consider your work done.