Birds

Species commonly rehabilitated in Rhode Island include songbirds (robins, cardinals), bluejays, crows, seagulls, raptors, ducks and waterbirds (cormorants, herons.)
Baby Birds

If you find an orphaned or injured baby bird, make sure it needs your help.

 

If it is out of the nest, replace it immediately.

 

If the nest cannot be found, the baby needs to be rescued. Call the Wildife Hotline for guidance. 

Fledgling birds

Many birds are unable to fly when they first leave the nest. 

 

Healthy fledgling birds that have left the nest are mostly feathered, alert and can hop a bit. The parents continue to feed them while they are on the ground.

For fledglings it is best not to intervene. Unless the bird is in harm's way or clearly injured, please watch from afar (preferably a window) for at least 30 minutes to give the mother time to reunite with her young.

 

It is imperative to keep cats indoors at this time, as the babies have no defense and are unable to get away.  Adult birds have been killed by cats in their attempt to protect their babies.

If a fledgling bird is in the road or in an unsafe place, gently move to the side of the road or nearby safety.  NEVER move a baby any distance since they will starve if the parent birds cannot find them. Then monitor to be certain that the parents know where it is to prevent starvation

You can help fledging birds survive by not trimming bushes or trees during nesting season (May-August).

To re-nest a baby bird:

  • Place the bird back in the nest

  • Do not re-nest the baby if it appears to be injured, the bird feels cold to touch, the nest was attacked by a predator, you cannot reach the nest, or the baby had any contact with a cat or dog. 

(Mammals can reject their babies if they smell a human scent on their babies but this is not the case with birds.)

To replace a downed nest:

  • Wedge it back into the place it originally occupied or in a space as close as possible. 

  • Make sure all the babies appear alert and uninjured and warm.

  • Often, when nests come down in a storm, the babies will be wet and cold. If the babies feel cold to the touch, intervention is necessary. 

If you do need to bring a baby bird to us: 

  • Place the baby bird on a bunched T-shirt and keep it in a warm, quiet, dark place such as a shoebox placed in an unoccupied room in your house

  • Call the Wildlife Hotline to make arrangements to bring the baby to a licensed rehabilitator.

  • Do not give food or water unless directed to do so.

  • If the bird is cold, place a hot water bottle beneath it.

 
Injured Adult Birds

If the bird exhibits any of the characteristics below, or is in the following situations, it needs help:

  • Blood or visible injuries                                          

  • Known cat or dog attack (even if it can still fly)    

  • Stationary on the road or in the same place on the ground for an extended amount of time

How to catch an injured adult bird

  • Take care because no wild bird wants to be caught and it will resist capture with its beak, wings, and nails/talons

  • Use a towel to cover the bird, especially the head for water birds, gulls, and raptors to protect yourself form their beaks

  • Gently place the bird in a box with a soft clean cloth or folded T-shirt. Make certain that there is sufficient air ventilation by poking holes in the lid or sides prior to placing the bird inside.  

  • Keep box in a quiet area, away from pets and people to reduce stress

  • Once you have captured an adult bird, avoid further contact. Do not attempt to feed or give water.  

  • Call the Wildlife Clinic for next steps 

Intervention with a window strike bird is needed if:

  • Does not fly away after a half hour or if it is lying on its side or back

  • Has an obvious injury, like a wing drooping or blood visible

  • Is in a dangerous place, like a sidewalk or road

  • Looks huddled and “fluffed up” with its head tucked under a wing

  • Remains stationary in the same place for more than a half an hour