Treating Injured Birds

What Do I Do If I Find an Injured Bird of Prey?

Do not attempt to rescue the animal yourself or take it into you home.  Per WAC 232-12-275, it is unlawful to possess wildlife for the purpose of rehabilitation without first obtaining a valid Washington State Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit.

Call the N.W. Raptor Center at 360-681-2283.  Whenever possible let the experts handle the injured bird of prey.

If your must, get the bird to a local wildlife rehab where experts can care for it.

What Can I Do Until the Experts Arrive?

  1. Center director Jaye Moore and Dr. Jennifer Tavares of Greywolf Veterinary Hospital in Sequim tend to the wounded (shot) bald eagle.

    Center director Jaye Moore and Dr. Jennifer Tavares of Greywolf Veterinary Hospital in Sequim tend to the wounded (shot) bald eagle.

    Never attempt to examine any injured bird yourself as this is also very stressful and requires a trained rehabilitator or vet to do correctly.

  2. Keep an eye on the injured Owl or other Bird of Prey from a safe distance so as not to further traumatize the injured animal with your presence.
  3. Minimizing stress is the prerequisite of effective first aid – more birds are killed by shock than by their injuries.  Whatever you do, swift action is a prime necessity as any delay increases stress.
  4. If you are actually able to approach and pick up an injured wild Owl or Bird of Prey, it is likely that it is in a very poor state indeed, and will further be traumatised by being handled.

What if I Need to Handle an Injured Bird of Prey?

Although not recommended, the following is the recognized practice for dealing with an injured bird in order to transport it a facility.

  1. Gently cover the injured bird with a blanket or large towel over the injured bird to keep it warm. (You might have to gently throw the blanket.)  Take care not to further frighten the injured bird.
  2. Allow the bird to settle after being covered.  Gently wrap the blanket around the bird and place it in a well ventilated, darkened cardboard box that is large enough so it does not sustain further damage but not so large that it can jump around inside.
    1. The box should be lined on the bottom with another towel, blanket or newspaper.
    2. Never use straw or sawdust in the box.
    3. Do not place food or water in the box.
    4. Do not try to feed the bird.
  3. Get the bird to the nearest bird of prey center or vet as soon as possible.
  4. Always wash your hands if you touched the bird.

Remember that bird of prey centers and raptor rescue organizations such as the N.W. Raptor Center of Sequim, WA are there to deal with birds of prey.