The number one need of any sick, injured or baby bird is to be kept warm.
Unlike mammals, birds do not burn fat to keep warm. It is not enough to wrap a bird in a towel like you might wrap a puppy or baby. Unless the bird feels VERY WARM to your touch, it needs an external source of heat. Their temperatures run between 102 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Find a bowl just a little larger than the bird and line it with a washcloth and a paper towel. Place the bird in the bowl and the bowl on a hot pad set to low. Cover the bowl and bird with a light cloth but leave an opening for air to get in and out. Check the bird every 30 minutes or so at first. If the bird is panting, it’s too warm. Place a towel between the heating pad and the bird. Keep adding layers if it is still panting. It should only be warm to your touch.
If you don’t have a heating pad, you can heat up a sock full of rice in the microwave for one minute. Place the sock around the outside of the bowl. Reheat as needed.
Cable TV boxes, computers, and other electronic devices may emit a comparable, safe amount of steady heat. The source of your heat should be warm to your hand, not hot.
A cold bird is in SERIOUS DANGER. If the bird feels cold or cool to the touch, turn the heating pad up to medium for a few minutes, but stay alert; always monitor the bird. It is all too easy to overheat.
The second most important thing to provide a sick or injured bird is water.
To make sure the bird is hydrated, dip your finger in a small bowl of tap water and place the drop on the tip of the beak. If you see signs of swallowing, continue the drops until it stops swallowing. NEVER put water directly into the mouth even if it’s gaping. This can cause it to inhale the fluid and get pneumonia. If they are gaping to get you to feed them, you can also hydrate them by dropping small pieces of papaya, mango or banana into the mouth with a pair of tweezers.
Third most important is proper nutrition.
A bird’s diet depends on what type of bird it is. It is important to identify the bird type before feeding. That can be done by visiting our page on Basic Bird Care. As you scroll down, you will find pictures of our most common wild birds as babies.
The birds that open their mouths to be fed can be given small bits of papaya, tofu, hardboiled eggs, mango and banana.
These recommendations are only for the first 24 hours after finding the bird.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, location, phone number, picture of the bird, and any injuries it has. A rehabber will contact you shortly.