You may have come across injured birds many times. It is in events like these that we are at a loss of what to do until it gets medical attention. The following paragraphs provide some guidelines on what to do if you ever encounter an injured bird and want to help it.
Reduce Stress: Whether or not it shows signs of physical injury, a bird that has suffered from an impact is bound to be traumatized. It will appear stunned and scared. The first approach of a human being for its treatment is to call a veterinarian or a local animal rehabilitation center. If help arrives on time, nothing like it. However, till then, your priority should be to make the bird's environment as stress free as possible. Keep children, pets, and stray animals away from it.
Calm the Bird: Gently pick up the bird, with your hands over the wings, pressing the wings close to its body. However, do not press the bird hard, just hold it firmly. You could put a towel around it and then handle it. To help it breathe comfortably, hold the bird up erect while picking it up and then place it in a cardboard box which is large enough for it to fit in comfortably. Make holes in the box for it to breathe, beforehand. Also line the insides with some soft material. Ensure that the box is well ventilated and place it in a dark corner. Keep the bird in this box for an hour or two. In the absence of any stimuli, the bird will calm down on its own. After this, take the bird out to an open space and remove the lid of the box. If the bird hasn't suffered any injury and has recovered from the trauma, it will fly off on its own.
Be Careful: One word of caution though. The injured bird that you have encountered could be of a wild variety. It is best to let them be where they are. However, ensure that the place is free of any distractions. You could also cover it with a perforated box without moving it away from the place. In many states, it is illegal to treat wild birds. Be sure of the state laws before you treat any bird. If you have to pick it up, then for your own safety, wear gloves while handling it.
Do Not Feed the Bird: Be it water or bread, never feed an injured bird. Different types of birds have their specific food habits and no, their menu definitely does not read like ours. Trying to feed them may just increase their trauma. Never give bread to birds as it may cause diarrhea. Besides the injury, it is improper handling that adds to the stress of the bird.
How to Treat an Injured Bird
It is advisable not to treat a bird on your own, unless you are left with no choice and are sure of what you are doing. Also check with the rules of the state. In many countries, only licensed individuals are allowed to care for specific species of birds. Nevertheless, here is what you can do.
- In case it seems that the bird has been injured by a cat, the wound needs to be cleaned as the greatest risk due to a cat attack is contracting an infection. Hydrogen peroxide works well for this purpose.
- If the bird suffers from a broken wing, cut the toe-end of a sock and put the bird in it. Let its head out of the cut end. This is to minimize any movement of the injured wing. Be very careful while handling such a bird. You definitely don't want to damage its wing any further.
- In case the bird is bleeding, styptic powder, baking soda, or cornflour is suggested by some. You could also place a gauze pad over the wound and press it firmly to stop the bleeding.